DURING the transition from the High Street to online shopping and banking, customer service has been a serious casualty. Digital Depersonalisation is now the introduction to most phone calls and I’m sure it’s not good for our mental health.

The robotic hoops through which customers jump may cut costs and, when they work, make it easy to buy, but as often as not there is a hitch and that’s when our patience is sorely tried. Why is the customer expected to interface with telephonic robots whilst listening to interminable recorded messages and metallic noises purporting to be music? I remember in the olden days when employing a telephone operator with a pleasant voice and helpful manner was regarded as an essential for any self-respecting business.

The customers’ time is clearly regarded as of no value and just in case they should give up and try to send an email, the next barrier is the “no reply” order acknowledgement or dispatch notification. This is a coded message saying “Please don’t bother us – try harder to find an address somewhere – you’ve nothing else to do anyway.”

Digital technology can be a good servant, but a bad master.

RF Morrison, Helensburgh.


RECENT correspondence has focused on the number of birds killed by wind turbines. Geoff Moore (Letters, July 9) tells us that they are responsible for the deaths of 80,000 bats in the UK and 2.1 million birds worldwide. These statistics are obviously very concerning but difficult to fully appreciate without some context.

According to the Mammal Society, the estimate of birds killed by domestic cats in the UK alone is 27 million every year and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center estimates that 3.7 billion birds are killed annually by cats worldwide.

Road kill is another major cause of bird slaughter. The results of a study, released last month, by an international research team led by the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies estimated that 194m birds are killed on European roads every year.

The number of birds killed by wind turbines, whilst regrettable, is dwarfed by the numbers killed by cats and by road vehicles.

Brian Moore, Edinburgh EH12.


RUSSELL Leadbetter's Those were the days feature on Friday ("Trouble at the Paisley mill 1959", The Herald, July 11) brought back for me many memories. At one time the mills were the town's biggest employer by far with in excess of 10,000 men and women in jobs there. The mill girls, given an enhanced feeling of independence with the income from their jobs, had a reputation for being hard-working and being out for a good time away from work. Those days are gone now and in the past they must remain.

However, it is worth recalling that Paisley was once the top place in the world for thread production, as a small poem sets out –

"Clark's they have the anchor,

Coats they have the chain,

Paisley has the cotton mills,

And long may it remain..."

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.