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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Grossly unfair! Immigrants to be tested on knowledge of British culture. Plus how to handle incomprehensible call centre people

The Daily Mail is often good for a giggle, and so it proved this morning when I read that would-be immigrants are to be tested on British history and culture.

Questions (says the Daily Mail) will include asking who was Britain's Prime Minister at the outbreak of World War 2. I'll lay a bet that most will say Churchill - and be wrong.

This is all so unfair. Not only will immigrants be willing to work harder; they'll be better educated, too.

Meanwhile, a bit of useful info sent by Lesley Southgate, bless her.

If you call an 0800 number and end up talking to someone abroad - maybe in India, Pakistan, Ireland, etc. - you can ask very politely (this is not about trashing other cultures): "I'd like to speak to a customer service representative in the United Kingdom."

If the rep suggests talking to his/her manager, again politely say, "Thank you, but I'd like to speak to a customer service representative in the United Kingdom."

Guess what? You will be connected to a rep in the U.K. Lesley says that's the law, and it takes less than one minute to have your call re-directed. She put it to the test.

Lesley goes on "Imagine what would happen if every United Kingdom citizen insisted on talking to only UK phone reps from this day on". Then she says what a lot of jobs it would create, and suggests a viral campaign.

That's all very well, but would they know who was Prime Minister in 1939?

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