Friday, April 24, 2015

Hello? Hello?

The phone rings.... I don't recognize the number, but then I have some friends who are off the grid, so to speak.  I assume it is not someone I want to talk with because there is a long pregnant pause after I say hello.  Finally I hear someone come one the line.
"Hello Mr. Johnson, this is (insert name here) I work for a (insert name here) contracting company and we do work...

I put the phone down on the desk and continue what I am doing. I can hear the electonic chatter of the sales-pitch faintly but not distinctly.  After a minute or two there is a pause in the caller's running commentary. In the silence I pick up the phone and say.
"That is very interesting."
The caller said, "Are you thinking of doing work inside or outside your home.?"
"I Absolutely believe in home work. " I say.
There is a slight pause then:
"Inside the house or outside?" There is a hopefull tone to his voice.
"That would be correct." I say 
There is another pause of equal length then:
"Let me just ask... what is the project you are thinking about doing?"
"Yes that is a very good question." I continue, " Just outside my house and running along the perimeter I would like to build a moat.  I know I can't keep aligators in the water, but I am thinking that I could fill it with some sort of acid. I am thinking that battery acid is not that hard to buy in quantity? Or is it. That is somthing that contractors know right? "
He starts to answer, but I continue on
"No matter.  The main thing is I want shards of glass fixed to the edge of the moat so no one can get near the liquid."
Again I step over his next question.
"You see I am trying to keep contractors away from my house. I don't like contractors even the ones I know and allow to work on my property.  I wish there was some way to keep them from calling me on the telephone and disturbing me.  But at least if I knew they could not get to me personally I would feel better... So what do you think the trench, the concrete with embedded broken glass and enough acid to fry the average fat ass contractor would cost?"
There is silence on the other end of the line.
"I guess you need to come out and measure, Right... are your estimates free?"

My wife says, "Why do you do that... why don't you just hang up? Why answer at all... anyone we know will leave a message."

She is right of course. But that is the risk you take when you make an unsolicited call to my house. Besides I figure if they are wasting my time... I can return the favor.  If only with I had the talents of my friend Joey Van who is a double talker... I could keep them on the line for hours.
As you were,


P. Grecian said...

If it's a real person and I have the time, I mess with 'em, too. If it's someone who insists on using my first name as a form of address, I ask for theirs and use it in every sentence.

I generally end the call by saying, "Look, I know you needed the money or you wouldn't have this job. I get that. I've had times in my life when I was near starving, too...but I'm not going to buy something from a complete stranger who insists on calling mew by my first name. You're wasting your time, and if you get paid by the call, you're losing money. Goodbye now."

Sometimes I even get a soft little, "Thank you."

Gwyn Oswin said...

I laughed out loud at this one, Jay! Sometimes if it is a number that has rung me repeatedly and I know it isn't anyone I care to have communications with, I will finally answer the phone with, "City Morgue." That usually puts a quick end to things.

And I, too, can't stand when they start using my first name, P. Grecian. Especially in almost every sentence. Of course, it's a dead giveaway that they don't know me when they call and ask for Gwyneth because my friends all call me Gwyn. My first name used to be Tiffany and, for some reason, people who did not know me would immediately start calling me Tiff. There are only about 5 people on the planet who can get away with that and still retain all their teeth and/or limbs. I find it terribly rude to use a familiar form of someone's name when you are not actually familiar with them -- and especially if you are so unfamiliar that you don't even realize that they don't answer to it and, in cases like mine, that you are about to lose a vital body part should you continue. Believe me, people who use these tactics never manage to sell me anything.

I should start using their name back at them; it might be more satisfying than the Death Glare they usually get. That doesn't work over the phone anyway.

judieviki said...

I wish I were as clever as this. I get calls constantly on two numbers and, hanging up is no fun!

John Hardman said...

I got a call from a home interior contractor a week or so ago. I said, "Hey, what a coincidence. I do interior repair and remodel, too. How many jobs are waiting for you to finish today ? I've got about three, but I'll call them sometime next week with some lame excuse. What are your best excuses ?" He hung up.
I sometimes pretend to be senile and misunderstand what they are saying. Sometimes I don't have to pretend.

Jeff Martin said...

Love doing that. My kids always got a kick out of it!