Sue Limb: 'Do you have a moment?'
PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 December 2014
The most trivial transactions are now monitored. I dread a geek with a clipboard intercepting me the next time I emerge from a public lavatory
Could I ask you to spare three minutes of your time? We like to Optimize our Readers’ Experience and your Feedback is Important to Us. We are Passionate about our whatyamacallit and we Constantly Strive to improve our Last Page Product with er, what was it – Added Value.
On a scale of one to 10, how satisfied are you with the seat you’re sitting on? If you aren’t sitting, jump to question 6. If you’re lying, jump to question 7. Please don’t lie to us or be facetious. We’re in the sacred business of feedback.
How satisfied are you with your last cup of tea or coffee? Could we have improved that experience for you? Did you spill any of it on this page? If so, say your prayers. When did you last say your prayers? On a scale of one to 10, 10 being most likely, how likely are you to recommend a) emigrating b) suicide c) mind-altering drugs as a means of escaping from this incessant haranguing?
They even cold call you now. I’ve got nothing against Lloyds Bank – in fact I’ve got nothing in Lloyds Bank, either. As a bank it’s my favourite, partly because it sounds faintly Welsh, partly because when I was a teenager in Cheltenham (a fish out of water, in other words) my mother took me into Lloyds Bank in Montpellier and helped me to open an account, and I remember, in an Adriana Mole kind of way, being impressed with the building itself, which had a lovely dome, a bit like the tomb of Napoleon.
But instead of the rotting corpse of an Emperor its vaults were full of money. Well, you can’t win ’em all. And in those days, children, the money was proper, with brown ten-bob notes and huge pennies so heavy that a pocketful would rip holes in your trousers. Anyway, I liked Lloyds Bank and I still do, but when they phoned me asking me for feedback on my recent visit to their Wotton-under-Edge branch, I saw red.
Do you remember overdrafts used to be shown in red, by the way? I suppose it’s politically incorrect now. All the time the world is changing around us and suddenly overdrafts aren’t red any more, and bars of Pears soap aren’t as big as they used to be, and cream crackers now come with brown crunchy dust clinging to them, and you can’t get Puffed Wheat any more, or Rinso or Vim.
Anyway, I can put up with the constant tinkering with products. On second thoughts, I can’t, but that’s another column. But what I really can’t bear any longer is this constant pestering, this relentless solicitation, this Tell Us How We Did? I couldn’t remember a single detail of my trip to the bank – who could? Sometimes there’s a queue, sometimes there isn’t. End of story.
The most trivial transactions are now monitored. I dread a geek with a clipboard intercepting me next time I emerge from a public lavatory, intent on securing a blow-by-blow account of my recent evacuation.
I wonder if this sort of thing is going to continue into the next world. As we pass through the Pearly Gates (fingers crossed) will St Peter or one of his elves (sorry, I do sometimes confuse him and Santa) approach with a bright smile and hand us a questionnaire saying ‘Life of Earth – we value your opinion’?
Phew! Sorry about that. I often come over a bit curmudgeonly in December. I think I’ll go back to bed.