COMMENT

Spark has "care lines" on standby to deal with Kiwis upset with its Rugby World Cup coverage. Satirist Steve Braunias gives them a call.

I needed care, and phoned Spark.

A voice said, "Due to the high volume of calls, we can't answer your call right now but please wait and a customer representative will be with you shortly."

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I listened to For Today by the Netherworld Dancing Toys. Then I listened to Oughta Be in Love by Dave Dobbyn until the third verse, when my call was picked up.

A man said, "My name is Phillip, I want you to know that on behalf of everyone here at Spark, I care very deeply for any loss of streaming you may have experienced. How may I help you?"

I said, "Can you help, really? Can you undo your interrupted service on Saturday night?"

He said, "We are very disappointed that some New Zealanders did not get the experience they deserved during such an important match."

"You're disappointed?"

"We apologise to all impacted customers."

"Is 'impacted' even a word?"

"I'll just ask my supervisor."

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"No, I - "

But he'd gone, and I listened to Sway by Bic Runga.

He came back, and said, "It's become quite a common word, I understand."

I said, "I'm not calling about that. I'm calling because your service was so goddamned lousy on Saturday night."

"Please don't use bad language."

"It's crap, its unacceptable, it isn't good enough, and we aren't up for it. It doesn't work."

He said, "You've been listening to Mike Hosking, I see."

"Mike," I said, not for the first time, "is right."

"We care very deeply about this," he said.

"Phillip," I said, "are you answering this call from somewhere in New Zealand?"

"Manila, sir," he said.

"Manila."

"Manila."

"I'm doubting that you care all that much, sitting as you are in Manila."

"I'll pass you onto my supervisor."

"No, I – "

But he'd gone, and I listened to She Speeds by Straitjacket Fits.

A woman's voice came on the line. "This is Jolie. I understand you need special care assistance?"

I said, "Are you Jolie Hodson, CEO of Spark, by any chance?"

"Yes."

"How far does this go?'

She said, "In emergency situations, and we've had to do this numerous times in the past 24 hours, we can pass you on to Jacinda Ardern. Simon Bridges is also on standby."

"What about Winston?"

"No."

"Thank God for that," I said. "But Jolie, do you care, really? How deeply? How sincerely?"

She said, "We are very disappointed that some New Zealanders did not get the experience they deserved during such an important match."

"You're disappointed?"

"We apologise to all impacted customers."

I said, "I see. Okay. Hang on a second, will you?"

I dialled up Spotify, put the phone on speaker, and made her listen to For Today by the Netherworld Dancing Toys.