The rest of the week hasn't worked out significantly better, but it wasn't any worse. I was about an hour late getting out of the office today (Saturday) because I was helping someone on a call, and that was proving difficult to do.
Sometimes it's really hard, because you know you just want to do your best for someone, and really want to help them out, but they aren't perhaps in a place where they find themselves able to accept your help or your advice.
I guess it's part and parcel of dealing with the public that some people will make a seemingly simple thing that's rather easy to fix very difficult to resolve because they just don't get it. Some people however are determined to never get it. Determined that you are the big evil nasty faceless company that the press have told them you are.
Being told that I sound posh on the phone and that perhaps I should consider going back to school in order to get a more worthwhile job is always a way to make me feel really in tune with someone's emotional state.
To say everyone, would be wrong, but some people feel that their issue, their problem is the worst thing to ever happen to anyone in the existence of the industry. From a logical standpoint, this obviously can't be true, we just don't set new records for shitness on a daily basis. What I find hard to deal with, because it wouldn't be right to actually tell them, is that sadly some people bring this on themselves. We are far from perfect, and are quite ready to hold our hands up and admit when we get things wrong, but if someone is determined to not read the information we send them, warning that we haven't been able to get a true assessment done due to lack of access, or that reducing their payments below the average cost of what they are using then they play a part in digging that hole for themselves.
Unfortunately, those sort of people take a lot of time and effort to convince that they, at the very least had a part to play in why they have a large balance to pay now, and will be adamant that we should have done more. It does mean that there's less time and resources to help those that are in more fundamental need, that have done all they could to try and prepare, and yet just can't make ends meet.
Ironically it's the ones that get offended on the phone on behalf of the 'needy' that you can't please. 'You should do more to help them' they say. 'You should spend time with them, helping them save money' they opine. Well I would, if you'd get off the phone and let me go do that.
With the help of the beloved media, the 'Great' British public sometimes get themselves in a right tiz by proxy. Not seeing that actually taking up our time to explain to them all the things we do to help people stops us from spending time, er... helping people that they want to 'save'.
You don't go into Tesco and fill the trolley with £80 of shopping, get to the till and then say that you think it should be worth £20, or more accurately, having taken it home, eaten all the food call back a year and a half later and try to say you didn't eat it, and will only now pay a quarter of its value.
I want to cry sometimes at the more elderly customers who are apologetic, think that they should say sorry to us because they can't afford to pay their bills, that no one in their community or in their family (god forbid) has advised that they can get their heating replaced, insulation fitted all at government subsidy, or are entitled to extra benefits.
Sadly it is sometimes the case, that those with the money, are actually the ones most effective at finding ways to not hand it over to anyone else. They are after all the ones with the education, resources and savvy to wriggle their way out of things. I'm not a socialist, but this pisses me off. It's just not right, or fair.
If I could get a pound every time someone said to me 'oh, I don't read my bills, no one does do they ?' (you read this one okay, or you wouldn't be speaking to me now) I could set up a fund to help those that did read their bills, that sit there shivering, unable to sleep in fear that they'll be cut off or have someone knocking at their door. Some people think we have a button under our desk to just cut people off at will. Others seem to think that we have a bath filled with crisp £50 notes at the end of ever desk and go bathe in it at lunch time.
I just want to help people. Is that too much to ask ?