Friday, 30 March 2012

"Hello, am I talking to Tonia Kirbore?"

I had a phone call at 3.15 this afternoon. The voice was female, with an accent which could be described as Middleton-in-Teesdale cum Bangalore. "Hello, am I talking to Tom Kilwood?" "Nearly" I replied. "I'm Tracey and I'm calling on behalf of the Crime Prevention Bureau and we're in your area tomorrow doing a survey of home security did you know that crime rates in your district have risen by 12.27 per cent..." 

"If they knock on my door, they'll go up another half a percent as I'll throw my entire pan of Thai Tom Yam soup over their head. And that'll add another half percent as it'll be a criminal waste of  my Tom Yam soup which is actually pretty good." I'd have ranted on for another fifteen minutes but the line had gone dead.

I'm sick of these calls. You know it's going to be a cold call because there's a two second delay after you pick up the receiver, possibly while the link to Mumbai is established, but I think it's to give your blood pressure time to rise so they can enjoy your heart attack while still hooked up.

What makes them think I want double glazing/a new porch/debt relief/a change of gas supplier/accident insurance? Is there something about our phone number which sounds particularly drafty? Maybe there's someone with a nearly identical name, Tony Kirward maybe, who they're trying to reach who genuinely is hobbling about because his porch installer dropped the front door on his foot and he's in hock to loan sharks after going broke trying to rebuild the house after a gas explosion.

I spend a lot of time at home. My hobbies are writing articles, planning teaching sessions and making coffee. My profession is fending off cold calls. Things have got better since we went on the TPS but people like Tracey are adept at slipping through the net.

I've had calls from Kevin, Andy, Sonia, Samantha, Derek, Pete, all with strong Mumbai accents. Once I had one from Elvis. I made a crack about hound dogs but he didn't get it. "You should be dead" I told him, "No, really, you ought to be dead", which is how the line went.

"Hello, am I talking to Terry Kirbrush?" "No you're not." "Ah. So, is Tammy Kilbroom at home?" "Not in this house." "Because I want to talk to Toomai Kimbrum and he's the name on my list"

None of us want anything you want to sell us.  Not even Timmy Kibworth, who's out at the psychiatrist seeking help with a severe case of identity confusion. We live in a hole in the ground with no windows, lift insulation, porches or door which need deadlocking. Once I've got this damn carrier pigeon properly trained, we'll have no phone either.

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