Those dreaded telephone calls

June 24, 2006

I loathe and detest tele-marketers.  

I know I shouldn't, they are just doing their job and few of them would do it for a living if they had other options.  But honestly, every time the telephone rings between 5.30pm and 7.30pm I know it is probably going to be one of those painful "Sorry but I'm really not interested" conversations. 

I had one the other night who didn't know how to let go.  I'm always polite, because it's a crap job, for pathetic money and a whole Olympic Stadium full of abuse and grief, at really anti-social hours.  But this guy managed to stretch my politeness to the point where it snapped, rebounding on him quite painfully (I hope): 

Ventoletta:  "Kia ora" (Me answering the phone) 

Hapless Tele-marketer:  "Hello, can I please speak to, errr, Mrs Vent Box?" (So far, so polite) 

V:  "I'm sorry but there is no Mrs, my name is Ms Vent Box." (This always peeves me, the assumption that I'm a Mrs because I'm over a certain age, but it's not his fault.  He isn't the first to make this mistake, he won't be the last, I'm used to just correcting people and getting over it.) 

HTM:  "Ok, Mrs Vent Box.  I'm calling on behalf of Evil Empire Enterprises, we're just wanting to make you aware of a fantastic new life protection scheme that has just become available to you, and only 100,000 other lucky people."  (Ok he didn't say 100,000 he probably said "a select few" or somesuch other rubbish.  He was pretty obviously reading off a card, at speed, so I shouldn't blame him for the bad attempt to hook me in by making me feel special.) 

V:  "Is this about life insurance?  Because I'm not really interested, I already have life insurance, but thanks-"  (HTM makes mistake number one and interrupts me.) 

HTM:  "No, no it's not life insurance, it's life protection!  It's quite different.  It means that if you were unfortunately to end your life earlier than you had otherwise expected your family will be cared for.  It's really quite a revolutionary new idea!"  (At this point he was clearly no longer reading from the card, but was in fact filled with a genuine zeal about the product.  There was a hint of angry desperation in his voice too, and his friendly facade was starting to slip irretrievably downwards.  Oh dear.) 

V:  "I don't really see how this is different from life insurance, and also how it would actually protect my life.  Anyway, thank you for your call but I'm really not -"  (I'm still being polite but Ms Harsh Tone is creeping in.) 

HTM:  "But Mrs Vent Box, you are turning down the most amazing opportunity!!  Really if you would just hear me out-"  (He's quite testy by this point, like his life depends on this sale.) 

V:  "Look I'm sorry, but I already have life insurance and I'm quite happy with my current arrangements."  (Ok, this is a lie, I don't have life insurance, but I'm firmly trying to assert my desire to end this conversation and get on with my evening.) 

HTM:  "But you don't understand!  This is such a good opportunity.  Let me tell you about our wonderful life protection scheme.  It involves-"  (And so he starts reading from the card again, quite agressively, as if by sheer force of personality he can somehow keep me on the phone.) 

V:  "I have told you that I'm not interested, but you don't seem to be listening.  I've really tried to be polite but-" (Interrupts me AGAIN!  What is wrong with this man??) 

HTM:  "You are making a big mistake, this life protection scheme is-"  (He's very angry indeed, and he doesn't mind me hearing it.) 

V:  "Ok I've tried being polite but I am quite happy with my current arrangements and I hope you have better luck with your other calls this evening.  I do not wish to talk to you any further.  Goodbye."  

And thus I hung up on him. 

I felt very guilty.  It's a terrible job, and sometimes people are just rude to the poor tele-marketers for the sake of it, someone safe to take out their other irritations on.  But this guy took the chocolate eclair.  He was rude, disrespectful and couldn't take my "No" with grace.  I hope he wasn't trying to pay off his gambling debts. 

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