“ ’allo? – Madame Doolittle?”
“…Ouiiii…” I confess cautiously.
There is a profound sigh on the end of the line, then someone pulls herself together and focusses on script:
“Allow me to introduce myself, Mme Doolittle,” she rattles off Frenchly, “I’m phoning on behalf of EDF GDF Solar Water or One of those Powers-that-Be Anyway to offer you a rare and unmissable opportunity -” Large intake of breath “- This week, our representative will be in Your Back Garden offering Free Quotes on revolutionising the way you use Your Power-that-Be so When will you be in, Mme D?”
Hah! “That does not interest me!” I say and put the phone down brusquely - Just as our wise neighbour Adrienne has taught me.
Or at least, that’s what I mean to say.
But I can't. Instead I picture her with all the other Call-Centrees who phone to catch you in just as you’re savouring your lunchtime sarny.
There they quiver - ranks of shabby, despairing souls frenziedly working their way down each column of the phone book, microphones glued to their heads and keyboards bleeping as they flinch from fiendish Boss-with-a-big-stick.
How do they stand the constant rebuffs, the insults and the Permanent Failure… I just can’t bear the thought of making it worse…
So I say, “That doesn’t interest me For The Moment, I’m afraid... Well, no, I certainly don’t rule out the idea completely... No, next week wouldn’t be quite enough Thinking Time for me… Thank you for calling though - do you all work such long hours or are you on detention (ha ha)?... Hello? Oh dear, are you alright?"
At this point George is losing patience and angrily waving a forkful of saucisson & potato at me. "Will you please just hang up!" he hisses. His own method of halting sales flow is to say in appalling French, "Sorry, I'm English and I didn't quite catch that...", and they've Gone! (One day, we'll miss out on something that really WAS unmissable).
"Pardon?", I resume to teleseller with glaring shrug to George, "Oh, yes we are so, I'll let you get on now… Have you got many more to call? Right, well have a good rest-of-the-evening then… Hello? Hel- You’re not crying are you? Oh lord... oh..."
"Oh - Just Bugger Off!" I yell when I've put the phone down.
So, IS there a good way of dealing with this constant irritation? (for constant, it is). Do you snarl; do you chat while chomping on with your meal; try to sell them something, perhaps; play your kazoo at them... What do You do?
Because of course, you can't be too nasty to them - you never know if you're gonna come back as one...
The Fenland Reed
19 hours ago