Britain / Turkey & Turkish / Norwich

Cold Calling

cold callingWe got a whole load of cold calls when we lived in Turkey. We would just put the phone to the side and let them babble on in light-speed Turkish. They would soon get bored and hang up. As soon as we landed in Norwich, I registered our new phone numbers with the Telephone Preference Service, a nifty little operation that lets Joe Public opt out of unsolicited marketing calls. It works well and most reputable companies comply but there’s a bit of a weak link: it doesn’t stop those organisations we do deal with calling willy-nilly and usually at the most inconvenient times. Cue British Gas who have the uncanny knack of cold calling just when we’re a kissin’ and a cuddlin’, and cue my response:

No, my equipment doesn’t need a service, thank you, how many more times? Look, shove this message into your computer, young man: don’t coitus interruptus me again.”

Then there was Richard Branson’s mob over at Virgin Mobile. Minding my own business and fingering the Pinot Grigio at our local Tesco’s, I got a call from the Indian Subcontinent. A disagreeable man called ‘Martin’ was absolutely determined to talk to me about my tariff (i.e. increasing it), despite my protestations to the contrary. When the penny finally dropped that I wasn’t interested, my emotional phone stalker seemed to take it personally:  

“But why don’t you want to talk to me?”

I’m afraid I was forced to use a ripe word or two to get rid of moody ‘Martin.’

Charities are no better these days. Last December, I made the mistake of donating a fiver by text to UNICEF. It was Christmas and it was for Syria, so why wouldn’t I? I received a thank you text in return and a promise to let me know all about their good work. I wish I’d replied telling them not to bother. Weeks later, and after several missed calls from an unknown number, I eventually answered the phone to a woman with a Julie Andrews accent and a Mary Poppins demeanour to match. She was rather put out that I didn’t want to listen to her well-rehearsed patter that, no doubt, would end with a request for my bank details. I stopped her in mid-pitch and, with as much officiousness as I could muster:

“I’m sorry, Mary, or whatever your name is, Cold calling damages UNICEF’s reputation and undermines its fund-raising activities. Take my number off your list and do not call me again. Do you understand?”

And what did she say?

“So you don’t want to hear all about UNICEF’s good work, then?”

That’s it. Not a penny more from me. It’s bad enough that I can’t go about my lawful business without being harassed by an Exocet student outside Tesco’s armed with a pushy smile, easy charm and a clipboard-full of standing order forms. Honestly!

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14 thoughts on “Cold Calling

  1. Oh these calls give me the S%#TS! I am sucker for a charity and I think they know it? I always get stopped in the streets asking for a donation. My Grandad loves it when they call him. It gives him someone to talk to. They don’t like that at all, its so funny to listen to.

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  2. . . as you get older Jack, you begin to catch glimpses of the end of the track and the remaining seconds and minutes become more precious. Time wasters of any kind are deeply resented and subject to extreme verbal abuse – trouble is, out here, they use talking bloody machines which don’t miss a beat despite the barrage of expletives deleated *&%^$”+ #>*&$£;}%!!!!

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  3. Hi Jack! Hey don’t I need a password or something to comment this time?? Yay! Anyway, just to say that here in Istanbul, it’s absolutely the same. My husband goes ballistic and gives them an earful, threats to call his lawyer etc etc!! I just put the phone down when I realise what kind of a call it is. Talk about INTRUSIVE!!!! I don’t think there is a number here that you can dial to avoid these calls.

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  4. For some reason your post are not updating on the side of my blog so I’m always a bit late reading – not sure why I’m worrying about this as I get there eventually. I always think my Turkish is pretty fluent but the cold callers speak so fast that I can’t understand 50% of what they say. I’m comforted by the fact that Teo only gets about 40% .

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