- minute forty four -

Movies, Craft Beer and Geek Stuff


Any opportunity to call a foreigner a terrorist, eh?

Why do I never learn? I should expect the Daily Fail Mail to poublish stuff that defies logic, common sense and, most of all, decency but I keep being shocked by it. Just the other day I found my ghast well and truly flabbered by Jan Moir’s well circulated gay-bashing and today they’ve done it again… this time though, it’s not the queers, it’s the darkies. Scary eh?

The story (Read here) involves a guy, Allan Wardle (no, not Alan Wardle) who, after experiencing trouble using his newly installed BT broadband called technical support. The call centre which the Mail says is “believed to be in India” – Wait, you mean you didn’t check that out? You don’t know for sure? Nice reporting. – for whatever reason was unable to help Mr. Wardle and an argument ensued. An argument that ended, claims Mr. Wardle, with the call centre operative threatening to “blow his house up”.

Yikes! Sounds harsh right? Well yeah but this article smells funny… kind of like bull shit. Mr. Wardle is quoted as saying “I did swear at him, I think, but he was refusing to fix the problem.” First of all, that is totally unacceptable. I work in technical support and I have a firm policy for people that swear at me; they get one warning before I hang up. Of course if the operative did indeed make the alleged threats it is a very serious matter and he should be punished accordingly but i just doubt… really doubt he even said it.

Here’s what I think probably happened, and this is purely speculation: Mr Wardle was too incompetent to correctly set up and use his new broadband and called technical support. Upon hearing the Indian accent, Mr. Wardle instantly engaged the “oh, for fuck’s sake!” attitude. When asked to carry out what were probably reasonable tasks to diagnose the issue, Mr. Wardle either didn’t understand or refused because he thought his time was being wasted. (Trust me, the amount of people who think I’m being difficult when I ask them to reboot their PC, despite that fixing the vast majority of problems, is shocking.) Upon being told that the problem could not be solved without him taking these steps Mr. Wardle flew into a rage and swore at the operative. The operative probably then terminated the call and, in the frustration said something that Mr. Wardle didn’t understand. Infuriated, Mr. Wardle then decided to play the terrorist card because, well because the guy was Indian and people from that part of the world are terrorists, right?

Despite the dubious nature of this story, and the fact that at the moment it’s purely allegations, The Mail (and the Express) have published similar articles about it. Not hard to see why. Their readers love this shit. Anything that might portray a minority in a bad light is the Mail’s bread and butter. This is the reason I should know better and not be so shocked when they publish it… but so help me, I can’t help it!

I’m not saying it’s impossible that this happened… I just really really doubt it. Funny how it’s the Mail and the Express who jump all over it before the transcripts are even released. Not even The Sun has touched this crap. Still, I bet Mr. Wardle is getting plenty of support from like minded dullards down the local boozer and maybe a nice cheque from the newspapers… Hell, I might call up the Mail and claim my pizza delivery man threatened to plant an IED in my driveway for not tipping enough. I doubt they’d take me seriously though as I don’t look like I’ve just walked off the set of the Jeremy Kyle show.


  1. Olly - October 19, 2009 12:38 pm


    that’s insane!

    LOL @ “darkies”

  2. Ashley Baxter - October 19, 2009 12:39 pm

    I don’t read newspapers, but I caught wind of this via Twitter. I highly doubt it happened too, and would assume – like you – that what the BT employee said was misheard. I can’t imagine any employee would make such an OTT threat given that they deal with irritated people like Alan all day, every day. I do have to say, though, that I really dislike UK based companies using call centers in foreign countries.

  3. Dan Schonhaar - October 19, 2009 12:48 pm

    Oh, absolutely. I have to deal with them all the time and find myself very frustrated. Unlike Alan, I have nothing against the guy at the other end of the phone. My frustration lies purely with the company who chose to outsource to a non-English speaking country to save money despite it creating a massive communication barrier and a major drop in customer satisfaction.

    Notice how the sales arm of such companies are always UK based. Heaven forbid you should get frustrated at them and not buy…

  4. Stu - October 19, 2009 12:52 pm

    I appear to be one of the few people in the world who wasn’t outraged at Jan Moir’s article regarding Stephen Gately’s death… I hate the Daily Mail as much as the next person–probably more than the next person– but the article wasn’t particularly offensive to him, or his memory.

    She was correct to say that there was nothing natural about Gately’s death. He was a young man. Young men don’t just randomly go to bed and fail to wake up unless something’s wrong. I think a lot of people purposefully misconstrued this as being a homophobic remark about homosexuality being unnatural, but I don’t think it was actually intended that way.

    “The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath. Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.”

    The part that I think people find offensive is this section:

    “Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.

    “Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.

    “Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately’s last night raise troubling questions about what happened.”

    That is pretty much just gay-bashing right there. It was a stupid article to write, but it’s exactly the kind of shit that the Daily Mail reading public lap up. It’s probably sold more papers for them this week than ever before. Their only loss appears to be some advertising, which will creep back in soon enough from one place or another.


  5. Dan Schonhaar - October 19, 2009 1:02 pm

    @Stu – I’m not sure I agree…

    “The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath. Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.”

    Yeah they do, as sad as that is. Charley Brooker cites a couple of examples here. It just doesn’t happen often and as such is very rarely in the public eye. A trained, qualified coroner has confirmed this.

    It just goes to show that the Mail is such a worthless rag that they’ll happily rather print the misguided, offensive ramblings of a bigoted, blinkered old cow than put the effort and dedication into finding, developing and tactfully printing a relevant worthwhile story.

  6. Stu - October 19, 2009 1:14 pm

    It still seems more likely that it was a combination of drugs and alcohol that caused it though. Even if it’s a pre-existing condition the smoking couldn’t have helped it out. There seems to be a tendency for famous people to try various drugs, that’s a bit of a sweeping generalisation, but it’s not entirely unfounded, and certainly appears to be the case with Gately. He may only have tested positive for marijuana that night, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do other things before that caused permanent harm to his body. That seems to be a much simpler explanation than just mysteriously dying in your sleep. It also has nothing to do with the fact that he was homosexual.

    Occam’s Razor says the simpler theory is often the correct one.

    I don’t condone the gay bashing at the end of the article at all. It’s disrespectful, and just plain stupid. I still don’t think the article is offensive to Gately in particular.

  7. Magua - October 19, 2009 1:25 pm

    For love nor money i would never expect anyone that is in need of keeping their job and probably is a nice empathetic person [Kind of a rule of working in customer service/Call centre job] to suddenly change and start making terrorist accusations to a customer; Especially when it is being recorded.
    And like most places i know they listen back to at least 5/10 calls their staff make for their “training purposes”/security issues.

    The amount of times i’ve wanted to physically beat someone down to the ground and give them a few kicks in the groin for the comments they have made about me and my friends at work, comments far, far worse than what is apparently being thrown at the customer in this story. Yet ive never as much as dropped a swear word to them, much less than threaten to blow them up.

    It just does not happen.

  8. Dan Schonhaar - October 19, 2009 1:33 pm

    Ha! The call centre guy was probably brushing up on his westernisms and said “How would you like it if I dropped the F-Bomb on you, eh!?”

    But seriously, you’re right. He might be working for a stupidly small number of rupees a day but as much as the language barrier annoys me I’ve never once come across a foreign call centre operator that treated me with anything but the utmost respect. Typically they’ll have impeccable manners because they’re reading off a script. I doubt this guy would even know the English to express the alleged threat, let alone have the desire to make it.

  9. Magua - October 19, 2009 1:43 pm

    I recall watching a programme on call centres abroad during the big media scare-mongering which has lasted, even in adverts [See Churchill], for years.
    The call centre jobs in India are sought after jobs, and although we scorn the job over here, to them it was a massive step up in society and came with respect. Not hard believing if you look at some of the other programmes on the clothes factories and food factories, getting to sit down and have a chat must be a luxury.
    That was a few years ago now, possible 2-3, so unless they suddenly started breeding English-hating employees with perfect understanding of English, it still just doesn’t sit right. The more i’ve thought about it since my last post, the more ridiculous it is.

  10. Stu - October 19, 2009 1:44 pm

    I’ve worked in technical support over the phone before, and I’ve worked for a credit card company in their sales department on the phone all day every day.

    I’ve heard people say all sorts of things when the phone was muted, or when they thought the phone was muted. I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that someone said something like that, but I also don’t doubt that the guy was being a total prick to the support guy.

    It goes both ways. You get mental people on both ends of the phone if you have enough staff and enough customers. 🙂

  11. Olly - October 19, 2009 1:45 pm

    Its hit and miss..

    Ive had UK based call centre operatives who couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag, too…

    Some indian ones are brill – it depends on who you get.

  12. Ste - October 19, 2009 2:33 pm

    I’d sooner struggle with my problem than speak to any “Kevin” in a foreign callcentre.

    Call after call, They fail to understand tone and meaning of the words I say to them when trying to describe my problem. God help you if you have an issue with something that’s not on their list and requires something out of the ordinary to resolve. They just completely fail to grasp what your trying to tell them.

    I totally agree with Dan’s comment on UK arms of companies being wholly UK based. You can be sure there won’t be any misunderstandings when it comes to parting you from your money.

  13. Dan Schonhaar - October 19, 2009 2:37 pm

    Haha! Yeah the Anglicised names are fantastic… like our friend Andrewjohn. Pure gold.

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