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    Walt Shakes

    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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HELLO – WHO’S ON THE LINE?

I used to work in VConnect. And when I told anyone the name of where I worked, the reactions I got were invariably the same. A furrow between the brows, a narrowing of the eyes, and the question “What is VConnect?” Some others asked, “What telecom company is that?” One other person even asked, in exasperation, “So that’s the new name Airtel has changed to?”

The answer is no. Airtel is still Airtel, and it isn’t a new telecom company. Oh what the heck! I may not work there anymore, but let me just do free advertizing for them. After all, it is important for an appreciation of my gist that you understand what VConnect is about. It’s more or less an online yellow pages. An internet address book for Nigerian establishments, if you may. You looking for some place to shop, you’re new in town and looking for a hotel to crash in, you’re casing your new neighbourhood for a school to take your children to, or you’re trying to locate the address to that spa place someone once told you about – you just log onto VConnect.com, type in what you’re looking for and Voila! There it is.

Now, you open up the website and you see all the pretty web designs and go clickity-click on the tabs and find all the things you’re looking for, and somehow you think it all came together by magic.

It didn’t!

I could fly into an indignant oration, telling you about all the people that contribute to the upkeep of what you, the site visitor, would be enjoying. But I’m anxious to get to the punch line of my gist. I will however tell you about the department where I worked. You see, I worked as a Call Centre Operative. No, it’s not the MTN-phone-centre-ish kind, where you call and a courteous female answers, “Hello, my name is Jumoke. How may I help you – yada yada yada…” My job was to call out, not receive calls. You see, VConnect has field agents who comb all the states of Nigeria for new establishments springing up here and there, and they get the data – which comprise of the name of the business and number of the business owner – and input them into the database. Then I and a team of other call centre operatives in turn call these numbers to verify the information the field agents have inputted, also asking questions about some other details required to create a profile for that business on the site. So you’ll find us calling all sorts – banks, hospitals, supermarkets, hair salons, cyber cafes, business centres, retail shops – you get the picture.

And these people – these business owners – are often times not the very easiest people to deal with. I’m telling ya. With this job, I realized that there are a million different temperaments in this world, and most of them are not pretty. You should probably know that, as a call centre operative, we are required to be polite, soft spoken, full of courteous words, smiling as we talk and, in other words, swallowing every bullshit dished out to us by the customer we’re talking to. And that is tougher than expecting a dumb blonde to solve a tricky Maths problem. It’s a frequent battle to rein in your temper when you’re talking to an irascible customer, knowing full well that every call you make is being taped and monitored by the snoop department.

And so, for comic relief, I did my best to jot down some of the very memorable conversations I had, ones which I remembered at the end of the day and couldn’t help but laugh over. Those conversations are what I’m about to entertain you with.

Me̥ on the phone at work: So madam, what’s your business about?

Customer: How is it consining to you?

Me: Ma, it’s so we can update our database –

Customer: How is it consining to you?!

Me: Ma, your registration has to be comple –

Customer (now enraged): HOW IS IT CONSINING TO YOU!

Me: Madam – (dial tone) Hello? Hello?

And then another day…

Me: Good morning

Customer: Good morning, who am I speaking to?

Me: My name is Walter, and I’m calling from VConnect. Am I through to Sugar Connection?

Customer: Yes. Are you a customer?

Me: No sir. I’m calling to verify the details –

Customer: Because we provide the sweetest sugar mummies in Abuja.

Me (flushing): No, sir. I just want –

Customer: So if you want a sugar mommy, just email us your details

Me: Sir, you don’t understand –

Customer: Your age, marital status, occupation, what you’re into and the kind of sugar mommy you’re looking for…

Me (exasperated): I’m not calling –

Customer: We deliver in under 24 hours.

Me: Sir – (dial tone)

Yet, another day…

Me: So, sir, what are your operation hours?

Customer: Eh?

Me: Your working hours, sir…

Customer: Oh, I work 24/7

Me: No, sir, I meant when you are open for business…

Customer (pompously): That is what I told you nah. I work 24 hours.

Me: Sir, I’m talking about when you’re available to customers…

Customer: See problem oh. I’ve told you. 24 hours, everyday.

Me (heavy sigh of exasperation): Okay, sir, when do you open your shop?

Customer: By 8 in the morning

Me: And when do you close your shop?

Customer: By 6 in the evening

Me: Do you work on Sundays?

Customer (indignant): Haba! No, nah! I’m a Christian! I go to church on Sundays…

24/7, ei? Some Nigerians and English sef… *shaking head*

And just when I thought I’d seen it all…

Me: Good morning, sir, my name is –

Customer: I bind you, in Jesus name! I cast and bind you into hell. No weapon fashioned against me will prosper! Holy Ghooooost Faya! I bind –

Me: (stunned) Sir, just a second –

Customer (furious): Get thee behind me, you agent of the darkness! I bind you! If you have come for me, tell them it’s not my time! In Jesus name, I bind and cast you to hell!

Me: Sir, I’m not the devil –

Customer: The Bible said the devil is a liar! You are a liar! And I bind and cast you! Perish in hell! You will not get me! If they sent you, tell them I’m covered by the blood of Jesus!

Me (exasperated): Sir, I’m just calling from VConnect –

Customer: You are calling from hell! Otherwise why is your number zero-seven-zero, zero, zero, zero, zero…full of zeroes. I bind you –

Me (chuckling): Sir, that is just –

Customer (further incensed): You, devil, you are laughing at me! My Jesus will protect me from your demonic attack! I bind you! I cast you! No weapon fashioned against me shall –

And I hung up the call. Imagine the nonsense! I hope VConnect has religious insurance, because someone binding me to hell is not my idea of a day’s job.

And that is the definition of my job – well, the job I once had. There are lots of other episodes, but my lawyer just told me that I could get sued for revealing too much to ya’ll my beautiful readers. So I suppose that’s it for now. Vconnect call centre operative 01

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46 Comments

  1. Abikoye Oluwatoyosi Oluwatosin

     /  January 12, 2013

    Religious insurance, very important. I was enjoying it all, when you just shattered м̣̣̇Ɣ imagination ωȊ̝̊̅†̥̥ђ the legal caution, I laughed ąπ∂ frowned. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  2. Edeeth Ajunwa

     /  January 12, 2013

    My Dear, d day dstv called me with one kind number to tell me that my subscription will soon expire, I shout blood of Jesus too…only I did it inaudibly! Adighi a ma ama!!
    Nice one Wally!

    Reply
  3. Anyanya Bassey

     /  January 12, 2013

    It’s good you release these in measured doses, or you’ll have to be arrested for some reader’s cracked rib. Your respondents had to be at their bests, protecting their businesses. ;):D That’s what you did with the jotter joor. Does it consign [SIC] me? Educating and entertaining, this is.

    Reply
    • LMAO @cracked ribs. Abego! I’m disclaiming any law suits from plaintiffs who suffer bodily harm from too much laughter. ;D It is not consining to me.

      Reply
  4. cärsten

     /  January 12, 2013

    i don laugh did. That last bit’s just deliriously hilarious

    Reply
  5. iphie

     /  January 12, 2013

    Correct boy wey sabi…wonderfully written,jst perfect..I don laff tire!!holyghooosssst faya!lmao

    Reply
  6. cc

     /  January 12, 2013

    Lol nija pple too much

    Reply
  7. *Laughing-my-ballz-out*
    I work 24/7 from 8 a.m to 6 p.m daily

    Reply
  8. Sallie

     /  January 12, 2013

    Am sure d@ 24/7 guy is an igbo guy (no offence, afterall, I’m igbo too) Lolzzz!!
    U were using devilish number 2 call and u ddnt expect 2 be bound over 2 hell?? He was audible wiv own binding n casting, duya know how many callers bound u in dia hearts? Thank ur God u’re outta there, and as a ‘spiritual adviser’, I suggest 2 go 4 a deliverance session, and un-bind thineself. A na-ama ihe ama. (like popsy would say) Lngkmd!

    Reply
  9. Acho

     /  January 12, 2013

    Hahahahahaa…the last customer is sure having a disorder; I want to believe Dr. Essien might be interested in his case.

    VConnect should then rearrange their number digits to something better; before they turn all their potential customers to MFMMembers.

    Reply
  10. Jake

     /  January 12, 2013

    Nigerians are a funny lot. Can’t stop laughing. My ribs didn’t crack but I sure feel more refreshed and energized after having a good doze of this laughter medicine. Keep it up.

    Reply
  11. Reblogged this on evyluv's Blog.

    Reply
  12. feji

     /  January 12, 2013

    Lolzzzz, ma belle ooo!, ah don die wiv laff

    Reply
  13. Doris

     /  January 12, 2013

    Hahahaha. . .dis is funny. . .u evn worsened d case by turning in2 a laffing devil. . .hahahaha. . .dis is just 2 funny

    Reply
  14. Adeline Adomi

     /  January 13, 2013

    Hahahaha!
    Luk, now u made me fal off frm d chair I was sitting. Lol! Nt fair o

    Reply
  15. Maureen

     /  February 14, 2013

    Thanks Walter. sorry I just read this but got a good laugh off it. Kai , my country Nigeria

    Reply
  16. anderson

     /  February 27, 2013

    Poor Wally! No wonder u came back from Lag sans the hair in the middle of ur head. Scorched by the Holy Ghost inferno I guess. Ndo o.

    Reply
  17. @bertokoji

     /  February 6, 2014

    Walter face ur work o! Walter face ur work o!

    Reply
  18. Walter ooo! Why will u too be calling with zero seven zero zero zero zero. Ahan! Hehehe. lovely piece jare

    Reply
  19. Lol! Hahahaha! This totally made my day!

    Reply
  20. manny

     /  February 6, 2014

    Every number. Filled with zeros. From beginning to end. Oh you caller from the pit of hell! Fall down and die!!!

    Reply
  21. Rotfl….Walter sha knows how to make me laugh hard in public places…they wouldn’t tie me up because of you oh! Ehen! I’ve been called several times by vconnect, they’ve helped me to locate certain businesses around my area. The characters we have in this 9ja ehn…lol

    Reply
  22. MztaPaul

     /  February 6, 2014

    Religious insurance? LOL. But, why would your number be full of Zeros na?

    Reply
  23. Yemie

     /  February 6, 2014

    ROTFLMAO! Walter, this is hilarious! A more than certified rib cracker! The ‘Sugar Connection Factory’, supplying the ‘Sweetest Sugar Mummies’ in Abj totally did me in. I’m sure you’d have probably thought it was a Confectionery. Oh boy! Na waya o. Wetin person no go hear finish for this world? Yuck!

    Good thing you’ve moved on from there, dunno how long your patience woulda endured, with the ‘snoop’ department listening in and all, before you blew your top at one pesky potential customer. Those customers really have it coming.

    Thanks for this Walter, I’m soooo sharing with ma peeps, no be only my eyes go see dis wonder. LMAO!

    Reply
  24. nkiru

     /  February 6, 2014

    OMG seat mate u will not kill me. I don laugh tire. Dis write up made me remember dat our corper physics teacher we had in SS2 den n how we always write down his fuck ups @ d back of our lesson notes. I guess old habits die hard.
    Honestly dis stuff is really funny.

    Reply
  25. laughing so hard my rib cage is paining me. good one

    Reply
  26. @bastevo

     /  February 6, 2014

    Lmfao! Lobaton! Dat is wat CC operative face every time good d way u left d job o. “Sugar connection ” very funny!

    Reply
  27. Torpedoezz

     /  February 6, 2014

    LMAO, this reminds me of the time vconnect called my mother for the details of her business, she gave me the phone to pick up cos she was frightened by the number, it was after I told her it was vconnect she calmed down. Nice one

    Reply
  28. Hehehehe….our society is steeped in the trenches of paranoia…
    Mehn, I no envy you at all…

    Reply
  29. louisa

     /  February 7, 2014

    I am actually laughing out loud. That man casting and binding was probably my uncle. Hahahaha.

    Reply
  30. Tosin

     /  February 7, 2014

    hahahahahaha……. the sweetest sugar mummies………….. lol

    Reply
  31. Absolutely hilarious, Walter!!!!! Oh my goodness! And this is a true testament to YOUR character because me…I know how I would have answered some of those people! Kai Nigerians….

    And I can imagine your expression as you listened to such things…

    I’m still chuckling…

    Reply
    • Hehehee! True. Yup, the Sifa I’ve come to know would probably have been fired based on your sassiness to these customers. Lol.
      A female colleague then was seeeriously reprimanded for such. The tape was played for us. And I didn’t blame the lady. The customer was just plain stupid. And was asking for it.

      Reply

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