Friday, 28 October 2011

Cold Calling

Do you get 'cold calls'? People trying to save you energy, sign you up or sell you something? I give them short shrift, ask them to take this number off their list, but they keep coming. Sometimes I just put them on hold until they go away but I feel mean doing this. Mostly I just hang up to save my time and theirs, but here's what I should say:

The other person knows you are waiting

Thank you for calling my home
I value your calls. You are a valued caller.
Please press your hash key now.

Press one if you are calling
to sell me something I don’t want or need,
have never wanted or needed
will never want or need.

Press two if you are calling
to try and convince me to change my mind
when there is nothing wrong with the one I have.

Press three if you are calling
for somebody other than me
no matter how convinced you are
that I am lying
when I say I am not them.

Press four if you are calling
to shame me into a contribution
to a charity that will use that contribution
to pay people like you
to call people like me.

Press five if you are calling
for information about my lifestyle,
income, habits and desires
- which you think I will disclose
in return for your shoddy free gift.

Press six if you are calling
with a completely unintelligible regional accent,
or speaking as fast as you possibly can, to get it over with, tick the box,
then have to repeat everything three times
because I can not understand a word you are saying.

Press seven if you are calling
from a call centre in the third world
because you will work for lower wages
and your employers don’t have to worry
about health and safety, holidays or unions.

Press eight if you are calling
Because you have to, because you can’t get another job
and you hate doing it and you’re on the brink now,
and if you don’t get a sale tonight they’ll sack you
and who will feed the children?

Press nine if you are calling
the last person on your list
at the end of a twelve hour shift
of saying the same line over and over again
and care even less about your product than I do.

If this is a personal call, please hold for an operator.

©  Clare Kirwan


  1. If you put that to music and sing it, I will use it as my answering machine message.

  2. Excellent! Maybe it should be included in the training for cold callers, just so they know what it sounds like on the other end of the phone. And what's with that first name thing they do? 'Hi, Fran, how are you today?' Who do they think they are? My gynaecologist?

  3. What a great rhythm this has. Spot on. It's the polite version of what most cold callers have to deal with though. My daughter did it as a student job when she was really hard up. She got paid peanuts and had to to listen to all sorts of abuse. Boredom and tiredness were the least of her worries. Don’t shoot the messenger I say.

  4. If you would like to be informed of the horrible consequences to your company which may result from cold-calling a number which is signed up to the Telephone Preference Service, press zero and then hang up. We will call you back at the time which suits you best. There is no need to specify a time, because we know where you live, fucker.

  5. What an inspired idea! Our cold calls are increasing, and I'm never sure of the best way to treat them. Now I know. Thank you.

  6. Excellent. These days, even machines call me.

  7. Vicus - I have considered doing this... but my singing would make 'em hang up straight away!

    Fran - I'm not sure a gynaecologist call centre would be that effective, but ta! ;-)

    Little Nell - I wouldn't stoop to abuse - i know they're just doing their jobs.

    Philip - I'm supposed to be on that but it doesn't seem to stop them all and it's a hassle to pursue.

    Frances - Thanks Frances! Most of the time I just end up not answering the phone... it's never for me anyway! 8-(

    Beastie - Don't you just hate that? Definitely a time to just leave them wittering and go about your business!

  8. Very clever, BB! I kind of winced at #5 - I feel the same way about the wages charities have to pay their fundraisers> And when you discover that some charities use 80% of more of their funds just to cover admin costs, it makes you pretty cynical. I wish I could find a truly effective way of being charitable.

  9. Deborah - Yes, it would be nice if the government just gave charities the money they needed and the army had to hold jumble sales to buy bombs.