A few minutes ago, the doorbell went. I was halfway through the crossword in the Sheffield "Star". Standing outside was a grinning campaigner for the Liberal Democrats. We have the dubious pleasure of residing in the odious Nick Clegg's consituency. (Foreign readers please note he's Britain's Deputy PM). Magically, she knew my name and quickly gave me hers - Penny - before flashing a LibDem newspaper in front of me. "Not interested!" I said firmly and immediately shut the door. I needed to get back to my crossword.
Yesterday morning, I received a mailing from a company that deals in expensive designer blinds without which of course no home is complete. They got my name wrong. Instead of using my proper surname "Pudding" they used my middle name in its place. Let's just pretend it's Algernon - which of course it isn't. He's a friend of Rupert the Bear. I have no idea how these bloodhounds tracked me down or why they mailed me in the first place.
|Algernon the pug|
Since that mailing arrived I have had four phone calls from the blind company. Brr-brr, brr-brr. "Hello?" Crackle. Pause. "Can I speak to Mr Algernon?" Immediately, Mr Algernon puts the phone back in its cradle and returns to whatever he was doing before - cooking, listening to the radio, writing another fantastic blogpost. Why should these money-grabbing businesses imagine that it's okay to invade people's privacy in this way?
And please don't tell me about "preference services" - I am signed up to them all and have been scrupulous in ticking or unticking online tick boxes to avoid unwanted mailings and phone calls.
In everyday life I am exceedingly polite as I go about my daily business and it used to be that I would deal very politely with such undesired phone calls. However, as years have passed I have become more and more irritated by these intrusions and usually just put the phone down when I realise who's calling but I am thinking of adopting some new tactics as a kind of sport.
When I am free to do so, I might string the buggers along - pretend I have fallen into their trap and pull out at the last minute or provide false bank details or a wrong address. They irritate me so why shouldn't I irritate them? Another idea I've had is to ask for the caller's home phone number.
"So that I can phone you at home - just as you have phoned me. Come on. What's your number?"
"Right then. You're not prepared to give me your number so would you please remove my name and number from your data bank? I don't want you or your company to ever phone me again. Got it?"
Why can't our overpaid politicians do something about these telephonic invaders? The idea of hiring a team of assassins is attractive but perhaps you've got another way of dealing with telephone intruders? I feel especially concerned about older people who may be even less sharp than I am! They may find themselves drawn in by these telephone villains.