Sometimes, I now realise, you have to be that woman. The one you hear about. The one you occasionally see and it makes you wince. The banshee. The fishwife. The harridan. You have to be that woman, and it hurts to be that woman.
I had been trying to get a refund for some really, extraordinarily bad service that had come at a hugely high cost in terms of both time and money. I usually just say ‘fuck it.’ I don’t like fights. I don’t have surplus energy. I don’t really care that much. But there was something about the cavalier attitude and the fee combined with genuine money worries that put a certain fire in my belly. And each brush off fanned the flames until I became an actual hellcat with people saying things to me like ‘I understand you are frustrated Madam but please stop shouting.’
I had five personal guarantees that I would be called back. Each after holding for 15-20 minutes. I was never called back. I was told that ‘the customer service department aren’t here at the moment,’ at various times of the day. And this is a big company. First I tried charm. Then I got brisk. Then I got grim. And finally, heart-pounding, I yelled things like ‘small claims court’ and ‘absolutely disgraceful’ and ‘I have never, ever known anything like this and I will not tolerate this treatment.’ It had been going on for two months and it had stopped being about money and become about being unheard, ignored, taken advantage of. I screamed at some poor women managing to shriek ‘I KNOW IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT” although I’m sure that did little to coat the pill. I bellowed. I ranted. And they refunded the money. But if I hadn’t sounded emotionally unstable they wouldn’t have. And so now I have to live with the fact that you have to be that women to get things done sometimes. Which kind of lets all the other women down. But what on earth is a girl to do?