The Call Centre

The Call Centre

A Poem by Quinn

My experience with working at a call centre this summer


So, you want to know what it’s like in a call centre

To peer at the mechanics at work

Well I hope you’re read, I hope you’re prepared, I hope you aren’t too nervous about what happens here

Let me take you into the mind of a sales advisor, into the depths of this money-making sea, lets travel to a universe of mindless capitalism, just take a look and see


Oil the gears with coffee, start it up with a yawn, kick into motion with a “morning” and keep it going with an incentive or more

The worker knows its place, behind the dusty screen, it knows that it’s got one job, to be a sales machine

Let’s take a look at the emails, that our dear colleague has received

Brief at 11, what’s the difference between internet and student internet and be gone with ye!?


“Wait that’s for you” huh what “f**k grab it for me oh nah got it �"

Hi there, you’re through to Quinn at Virgin Media how can I help”

Click, click, click, click

Straining eyes �" only 5 minutes in

Struggling ears �" F**k, only 7 hours 55 minutes left

“No worries at all let’s get you set up”

All we will need is a sacrifice and your name in your mother’s blood

It’s not actually that robotic until it gets official

Until the 30 second piece of substance less dribble that is those ts&cs

I mean it’s not the Apple ones, but these we have to read

“Your broadband speed may differ from the original advertised speed �" so please to God don’t sue

Let’s read out all the factors to get Richard Branson’s arse through

Let’s give you a web page, so you don’t come back to us and tell you we follow Ofcom so we don’t end up back on watch dog.

Now let’s stake those details �" the key to your money and soul �" just pass them over dear, the calls stopped recording of course.

Now I’ve got these from you, your bare bones left expose and there for me to pry, I’ll thank you for your custom, praise you for your choice

Let me finish with a smile of course, you may not see but it’s polite.

Thank f**k we’re off the mark, a good way to start the day, lets mark this one up, before we really start today.


Find the record, skim the notes, check the history, and dial

Ring it out, wring it dry, ring until that voicemail makes a noise

No recorded voicemail, you’re not sorry, not one bit

It’s not like you’d tricked me to think they’d answered or some s**t

Send an email close it off, abort, abort

Abort that record let’s get this done

Fingers so automatic, brain so stuck in gear, just clicking links and pasting names hoping a sale might appear


Two hours in and you’re still on one, 6 more hours left to go but you need that bonus to cover rent and work nights out you cannot stop or slow

Start to panic as other numbers rise, worry about how slow the day is going and that painful stress in your eye

Suddenly even the most anti-capitalist of workers, will start to beg for sales, start to want to twist an arm or two to ensure they refill their pails

Time to break but not go over by a moment, grab more coffee to loosen the gears, change the view to ease the eyes and reconnect a little

Words spoken between our colleagues are repeated every day as if the whole office was on a loop pedal

“I’m alright, tired” “I’ve only got one” “I’ve had this arse of a customer already” “How many hours ‘til we’re done?”


Back in the chair, eyes to the screen the work goes back into autopilot, the glaze is easy to see


But all that makes it sounds so robotic, like there is no human at all

Like there is no soul left standing, no heart to beat but life within the call centre is more real that at first it may seem


To keep the machines going, between themselves they will talk chatter and distract

“Well f**k you too” “How rude” “What a twat”

“It’s not my fault you never called back”

Anything that could be said after a call will be said about the customer by the tired souls.


That soul will take every break that comes, to let the muscles breath, let the blood flow, to turn off that voice that padlocks their soul


So yes, it feels robotic, and you might be a little scared, but please remember about the people who actually work here

Everyone here is an individual, everyone has a life,

Some filled with partners and children, others filled with sex, drugs, and lines


So, come on, work with us at the call centre, spend a summer here or so

And remember we are actually people �" well all bar one or two

And if you won’t join us that’s fine �" but let me give you some advice

If you tell us to ‘f**k off’ on the next call, we’ll just call you again until we think you’re nice


© 2017 Quinn

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Added on September 1, 2017
Last Updated on September 1, 2017
Tags: work, poem, poetry, capitalism, anti-capitalist



Glasgow, United Kingdom

Sad AF. Dysfunctional AF. Queer AF. He/Him. Trans-guy. Bisexual. I am a first year university student in Glasgow who has been writing poetry since 2014 to varying levels of success. I also perf.. more..

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