I’m writing this as I sit waiting for the paramedics to arrive. I thought I’d better get in touch with them after receiving an urgent telephone call earlier from an intense young man concerned about my health and wellbeing. He wasn’t a doctor, a nurse, not even a voodooist sticking pins in an effigy of me whilst sacrificing a squawking chicken, he was just some average bloke who was convinced I’d had an accident recently. At least, that’s what he said.
He was lying, of course. The only accident I’ve had recently was picking up the bloody telephone and wasting my time talking to the prat. He just wouldn’t shut, banging on and on about the inconsideration of others and the inconvenience caused by my misfortune. And he wasn’t wrong, I couldn’t have regretted more answering his bloody call and wished I could take the receiver and stick it right up where the sun doesn’t shine… see if he gets compensation.
But he was so convinced that after a time I started to waver, think it was me, that I really had had an accident and hadn’t noticed. “This accident”, I enquired quizzically. “Did it involve a bang on the head?” He didn’t know. Of course, he didn’t. “Only, if it did, then I think I must have amnesia, ‘cos I can’t remember anything about it”.
“Are you calling me a liar?” he snarled.
“Well yes, yes I am as it happens” I assured him coming to my senses and getting pissed off at his intrusion. “From the moment I picked up the bloody phone you’ve been talking crap, not one word you’ve said has any basis in reality and you wouldn’t recognise the truth if it jumped up and bit you in the b******s”.
“If you’re going to get foul and abusive”, he countered, “I’m going to end this call and report you. You could be fined and banned.”
“Banned from your mailing list? Good! Now piss off and bother somebody else” I snapped just to make sure I was before I slammed the phone down.
Now, I don’t have a problem with people who work in call centres, we all have a job to do… but why do they have to lie all the time? He knew there was every likelihood I hadn’t had an accident, so why tell me I had? If he had to ring if that’s what he’s paid for, why not just say “hi there, have you had an accident recently? If so we might be able to help get you some compensation.” Warm, friendly, polite… and I wouldn’t have felt like smashing his face in before I told him to piss off and invade somebody else’s privacy.
So, how do you deal with these people? One way is to be helpful when you answer their call, it confuses them. Take the guy who called a while back. “Hi there”, he said when I picked up the phone “can I speak to Mister Robinson, please”? “Not on this number” I assured him politely “he doesn’t live here anymore”.
“Do you have a forwarding address?”
“Yes”, I do as a matter of fact. Do you have a pen?”
“That’s fine. I can type it straight into the computer” he cooed excited and happy that someone was being nice to him for a change.
“Ready?” I confirmed just to make sure he didn’t miss anything. He assured me he was. So I told him, “Mister H Robinson, care of Saint Peter, The Pearly Gates, Heaven” (Mister Robinson is Mrs T’s father who passed away several years ago. When he died, we moved into his house and kept his old telephone number, so this obviously wasn’t a regular call). “And if you can’t get hold of him right away, keep trying. He’s probably out playing golf with my dad.”
There was a sharp intake of breath, it went quiet, he slammed down the receiver and… hold on a minute… sorry, gotta go. The ambulance just arrived and I need stitches in this nasty gash, the one I got when I slammed the receiver against my head when that b*****d called earlier.