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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Death of a Salesman

I don't get many phone calls or texts or anything really. I'm resigned to a life of near monastic isolation now that I am retired. It's nearly 4 years since I last put on a suit, a professional persona and opened up my e-mail fearful of what disasters lay in wait. I loved my job: honest.

Now when the phone rings, it's either for the wife or some cold caller.

I think I may have mentioned in the past that I rather looked forward to these plague victims. I had fun listening to them trying to pronounce my name. "Is that Mr C ...old'um, Mr Croden, Mr C...Good evening sir.." I got a real kick as they went through the spiel about "I'm phoning on behalf of Bums Are Us..and we're in your area, offering to replace your windows at a greatly reduced price from the market leading arseholes."

"We're in a conservation area". usually stopped them dead. Or "Our house was built in 1876 and it has wood framed sash windows which are insured for a million pounds." If they're persistent I might have added "I belong to the Victorian Society".

I looked forward to our jousts. These were proper cold callers - simply chancing that I might have overdosed on Horlicks or would agree to anything so I could change my colostomy bag before I embarrassed myself.

But the good old days are long past. The gentlemanly cold caller has given way to a vicious, street  wise villain. My old mates have been  driven off my phone line by tactics that wouldn't have disgraced Salieri.

A while back a law firm phoned telling me that I had told a market research company that I had had an accident in the last three years. Apparently these solicitors buy data from this company and use the leads to pester people like me.

I said I haven't had an accident, I hadn't  told anyone I had, and who was the company who sold them  this misinformation. I think the law firm were quite surprised since they readily gave me the details. I've written to market researchers telling them to remove the offending material from their data base. Or else!!!!

Yesterday, I had a lovely chat with a woman with a northern  accent asking me about my Sky subscription. "We don't subscribe to Sky" I exploded. I wouldn't be seen dead with a dish on my house - back or front ( do they work inside the roof?). "Sorry, love" she apologised,  "We'll ensure you're removed from the data base."

Fat chance. This evening an equally pleasant young woman phoned informing me that she was from EDF asking about my Sky installation! I was flummoxed, since I thought EDF sold energy.. and why did  they think I was a patron of the Wizened of Oz. She said they got their information about our Sky installation from.....  Sky!

Like hell I thought. This is cold calling malarkey has ratcheted up another gear.

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