16 August 2013

Callers

Big Nev. The execrable boss in  the BBC's  documentary
series "The Call Centre". Shoot him!
Do you like callers? I mean strangers who phone you up touting for business or strangers who knock on your door with similar intent. Personally speaking, I hate them.

In recent times, I have got very used to answering the phone and then enduring a significant pause before a voice finally pipes up. It may be an Asian voice from a faraway call centre in India or a more familiar British voice. Sometimes they have got my name and sometimes they haven't. There may be other ways of dealing with these unwelcome intrusions but I have taken to simply yelling down the phone "Never phone me again!" before they have time to roll out their spiel. One of the things that really irritates me about these calls is that they can happen at the most inopportune moments. I might be in bed, in the shower, on the toilet, reading a good novel, eating a meal and then the damned phone rings. It is infuriating.

Today I hid behind the living room door when a "fishmonger" called. I have seen these dubious, tattooed young men on our street before. "Want any fish at all? Haddock. Salmon?" Well I don't want any fish from unlicensed chancers storing fish in an old Transit van and most certainly not paying a halfpenny in tax. Why should I even have to get up to send them on their way?  And why are the authorities not clamping down on them?

I speak to other people about this modern phenomenon and I have yet to meet anybody who appreciates these unwelcome callers. Older people who perhaps live alone or are experiencing deterioration in their basic faculties must often be duped by such callers. It isn't right and our politicians should be doing much more to stop it from happening.

I make it a rule never to part with any money on the doorstep which is a philosophy I have often had to explain to callers. Two years ago our daughter Frances endured a month as a "chugger" - pushing particular children's charities on the doorstep. But she never explained to her "victims" that her pushiness had little to do with the charities concerned - more to do with the rewards she herself would get by meeting "sign up" targets. It gave me greater insight into charity fundraising processes and I can now see straight through young chuggers. Besides, the only charity I ever give to is Oxfam.

So if there are any call centre workers reading this or doorsteppers planning their next outings, please don't call on me! STAY AWAY or I will drop you down the nearest well - head-first! No visitors! No calls from call centres! Just get lost!

8 comments:

  1. I'm with you there. I also object that the phone callers also usually know my name but of course would not be willing to give theirs. (not that I want to know really )Then there are the children you've never seen before who want you to sponsor them for some walk or swim etc. I would never allow my kids to accost people they didn't know and ask them for money ( which is what it boils down to ).
    When I hear that click, click silence when I answer the phone I quickly drop it back in the cradle... so if you ring me you'd better speak up quickly or you'll get short shift !!

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    Replies
    1. So I guess your aged relatives never get to talk to you?
      Even so I am glad to hear this stuff also bugs you Helen.

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  2. We have Caller ID on our phone, so we can see the telephone number and a bit of alphabetic information on the incoming call. We don't even have to get up and run across the room to read the little screen; it is displayed on our television set thanks to the telephone line tie-in with our satellite dish. If it's a number or company I don't recognize, or even if it is one I do recognize but prefer not to answer, I let it go to the answer machine. If they want to leave a message they do, which I can erase later. Most of the time they hang up without leaving a message, which is fine with me. The "robo-calls" (automatic dialing by computers with lists of numbers to call) are persistent, but we are dealing with it in the only way we know how.

    Unfortunately, political calls and charitable organization calls are exempt from the nationwide "Do Not Call" list, which we also are on.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like you live in a techno superlab house with new-fangled aids all around you. Fortunately or unfortunately we live in a normal house with none of that techno-paraphernalia around us. However we did sign up for the "Telephone Preference Service" which is meant to block unsolicited calls.

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  3. I never have solicitors coming to my house. They either can't find it or don't want to negotiate the log road I laughingly refer to as my driveway. I use to have solicitors call me on the phone. Nothing worked completely until I stopped answering my phone. I never answer it. Instead, I wait until it has stopped ringing, see who has called and then return their call. This can get a bit complicated but much better than getting unwanted phone calls every day.

    The other thing you can do is harass the callers. Time is money. Keep them on the phone for as long as you possibly can. If you are on the toilet or you pretend you are on the toilet, you can have some fun if you like grunting and who doesn't?

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    Replies
    1. Err...David, may I say that Yorkshiremen do not grunt on the toilet! We are not pigs, we are human beings! Instead of grunting we sing or whistle our national anthem. But I do like your idea about stringing the callers along to deliberately waste their time.

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  4. We have caller ID too , so I often don't answer if it's an unfamiliar or withheld number. I work on the principle that, if it's someone genuine, they will leave a message on the answer machine. Doorstep callers, I open the door, they open their mouths to speak and I cut them off by saying, "Not interested, thank you' and send them on their way.
    Once, Dad inadvertently answered the door to one of these 'salesmen' with a kitchen knife in his hand (he had been cooking when the doorbell rang). The man took one look and left hurriedly!

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    Replies
    1. I like your dad's method a lot Jenny and may replicate it. Tomato sauce on the blade may also help. I wish we could find the telephone equivalent.

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