SMOKE: Daily Smoke Tollfree

Originally published: 19 May 2005

Today's Smoke was inspired by the following post on our brand new forum yesterday:

"With all the questions that are bound to flow in the next few weeks, let's hope you DON'T have set up one of those infernal call centres to solve the problems!!"

The poster was referring to the fact that whenever you launch something new there will always be dissension and dissatisfaction - sometimes justifiably so, and at other times not.

Although my world has been one of pain in the last two weeks it's nothing compared to what I have coming if I add a nice little modification to the forum and it queers out - then folks will turn nasty, man. I've seen it. I believe it.

It did get me thinking about what my tollfree line would be like if I had one, though, and in my current state of mind I think it would be pretty amusing. If I was the person who answered the call.

Let me set the scene for you: I've been living on a diet of Panado, Myprodol, Sinumed and sugar this week and I've averaged around three hours sleep a night. So you could forgive me for being a little brusque. A little edgy. To top it off I'm no great fan of telephones, so my Tollfree would have a distinctly maverick tone to it.

Scenario One

*Phone rings. I answer.*

Luke: Good day and welcome to The Daily Smoke! My name is Luke and I am your client service representative for today and if there is any way I can be of assistance please do not hesitate to ask. What is the nature of your current query please?

Caller 1: My avatar is broken. I can't get it to work. I get an error.

*Strained silence for a few seconds*

Luke: I see. Your avatar is broken, you can't get it to work and you get an error. Hmm. Let's see. Let's run some diagnostics on that problem. Let's uncover some shit. Let us - like a pair of avenging technological evangelists - discover the nature of the beast and stand up to it as St George did his dragon, sending it fleeing into the great outback of binary confusion and lost zeros, down the information superhighway.

Your avatar is broken, is it? Well how did it break? Did you drop it? Did it "accidentally" just happen to "walk into a cupboard" and break its nose? Or are we a little closer to the truth when we discover that it didn't walk into any cupboard and has never been dropped in its life - you're abusing it, man.

Stop the abuse and your avatar will be fine. Treat it with respect and you won't break it. Read the instructions, follow them carefully and you'll have a happy, healthy avatar.

Anything else?

*Click. Disengaged signal.*

I try, you know. Sometimes I really try.

Scenario Two

*Phone rings. I eye it nervously. It continues to ring. I answer.*

Luke: The Daily Smoke - good day?

Caller 2: I can't click the link. The link is broken.

Luke: Listen, Pig - where I grew up we learned some basic telephone manners, one of which was to identify yourself in a pleasant, unassuming manner before stating your business.

What do you mean you can't click the link? Who are you? Which link? Why are you phoning me? Where did you get this number? If this is you, Duncan - don't be screwing around with me, mate. I'm not in the mood today.

*Stunned silence on the other end. Nervous breathing.*

Luke: Oh what now - so you're a little stalker sicko who's all very brave when you can't see his face, but who has to listen to the voice of another man to beat off to? Is that what you're doing, creepy loser? Huh?! Are you wanking, man?

Listen - there's a solution to all your unhappiness, and it lies in developing some self respect. Take a snapshot of yourself as I would now if I had a camera that could see you - a sad, pathetic little twattie, beating off under a raincoat in your own living room with a telephone stuck to your free hand.

You disgust me, man. Go get a real job, man. Go find another link.

*I slam the phone down in self-righteous disgust.*

Scenario Three

*Phone rings, I grab at it in a frenzy.*

Luke: What, man??!! What's the problem now? You can't get a girlfriend, your life is a mess, your wife is fat, your husband a womaniser? What do you want me to do about it? Must I just wave my special little fucking magic wand and magically make your turd of a stinking life a little better?

And what's with calling me on a tollfree - you like free stuff, huh? You like cheap, huh? You don't like to pay, do you, little cheapskate? Is your life so bad you have to call up strangers on free numbers because it's easier than going out and finding a friend? Do you actually use those discount product coupons they have in Pick 'n Pay? I mean, discounts in Pick 'n Pay - could you get any cheaper?

It's pathetic, man! Take a good, long, hard look at yourself, friend, and stop relying on other people to fix your problems for free. Take charge of your own life and stop cowering.


What did you say your name was? I'm sorry? Oh hi, Ma...


I dunno - I reckon if I had a tollfree I'd become the Pig I loathe - the sloppy, disinterested Telkom chick whose last desire on Earth is to make you happy. The one who - no matter when you call, nor how often - always has chewing gum tucked into her porcine cheeks and whose boyfriend broke up with her yesterday.

No bloody wonder, neither.

I guess I'm just not cut out for support calls. So don't be calling me.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

Look at me now - all the way from Uitenhage to the bright lights of the big internet.

Find out more using the handy links provided.

Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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