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I just cancelled my ISP after eight complaint-free years to sign up with BT Broadband, on the theory that having a consolidated bill and paying two pounds less each month would somehow transform my life. That’s like divorcing your wife and marrying your dental hygienist because you’ll save money on your biannual cleaning and won’t have to drive to the dentist.
I’m sure someone out there has done that and is dying to tell me how badly it went. Thanks, but don’t bother. I’m committed; the hygienist is awaiting my call and the wife already found out. I told her, I mean, I informed my ISP this morning. They took it hard.
This surprised me. England not being the spiritual home of customer service, I fully expected the rep to give me the equivalent of a verbal shrug and move on. Instead, they dragged me through the seven stages of separation grief, which, as an American, pleased me. We don’t like people letting us cast them aside lightly, so I’m used to a bit of grovelling when I call to cancel a service. I think I was more prepared for it than the rep.
“But we’ve been together so long! Was it something we did? Have we made you unhappy?”
“No,” I said, my voice laced with faux regret, “it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve changed; I’m not the person you thought I was when I signed on.”
“But we can change, we’ll make you happy.”
“But BT is offering…”
“BT! That slag! You deserve better! Please come back to us.”
“I’m sorry, really I am. I know I shouldn’t have been looking around when I was happy with you, but this deal caught my eye and, well,… You really don’t want to stay with someone as fickle as I am.”
“It’s not your fault. We forgive you! Can’t you see how much we want you?”
“Look, I gotta go. I need some space right now-“
“No! Please! Can we still be friends?”
“I don’t think so.”
I hung up, feeling a mixture of guilt, amusement and admiration. Whether or not it was true, they made me feel like they cared, and that gave me just the slightest pang of homesickness. It made me ponder my ISP infidelity and I began to second-guess my decision. Really, what was so bad about my current provider that I had to jump on the first sleek and shiny thing to saunter by? Maybe I was being too hasty. Maybe I should call them. Maybe they would take me back.
Then, as I replayed the conversation in my mind, analysing the begging, the promises and the resolutions, I realized there was one thing they had not done: they had not offered me a better deal. That’s the way we do it in America, Sparky, and if you can’t see your way to it, then get used to the sight of my backside as I walk away from you.
I’m so glad I didn’t weaken. Now I’m looking forward to my new ISP; I’m going to love slagging off BT.