When your mobile phone provider rings up to renew your contract and asks how things have been and you tell them that charging you for something you didn’t order wasn’t a good start and that screwing up the repayments three times didn’t help much either and they’ve got their work cut out now, and they tell you “Steve, we’re here to help you” and they don’t want to talk about the past but they can offer you a brand-new iPhone which has all the bells and whistles and makes the bed and does the dishes and tucks you in at night and you’ll just love it and it’s only a teeny weeny bit more expensive than the tariff you’re on now and you say no.

And they tell you “Steve, we’re here to help you” and they can do a different offer with the same all-singing all-dancing iPhone and throw in another sim card with free minutes and texts and a direct line to god and if you choose that it’ll save you money on the deal they just mentioned even though they’ve added more and it’ll be just an incy-wincy teeny weeny bit more expensive than the tariff you’re on now and you say no.

And they tell you “Steve, we understand, we’re here to help you” and how about an offer with an iPhone which sings and dances and does the dishes but won’t whisper sweet nothings in your ear at night because they reckon you can live without that and it’s not quite as much of the bees knees as the one they offered earlier but it’ll send your emails and wipe your arse and if you choose this deal it’ll save you money on the one you’re on right now but they will have to charge you four months rent on the thing you didn’t order which they screwed up the repayments on three times already because that’s only fair and they’re here to help you and you chew their ear off for five minutes and say no.

And they tell you “Steve, we get it, we’re here to help you” and they wouldn’t normally do this but they can tell they need to make things good so they’ll pay you in advance for the four months rent for the thing you didn’t order which they screwed up the repayments on three times already because that’s the way this offer works and you’ll have a brand-new iPhone which twits and texts and pings and takes pictures and lets you talk to people anywhere on the planet and always buys the first round at the bar and they’re only doing this because it’s you and they promise hand on little black corporate heart that this deal will save you money compared with the one you’re on right now and you’ve been listening to them for the best part of a week and you’ve fought your way through their cheery sales pitch script about as far as you can go and you sigh and you say yes ok yes that’s fine that’ll do yes yes yes yes

and you hang up and the sun is shining and you take a deep breath and wonder why you don’t feel better than you do and when simple things got so complicated and why you sometimes want to hit something and you shake your head and tell yourself that’s just the modern way it’s just the modern here to help you way.


Steve Pottinger. 19 July 2016