Monday, August 07, 2006

Telephony and the Gentile Art of Abuse

To set the scene, I should explain that the house I live in is owned by my flatmate. Over time, I guess, his telephone number must have appeared in a number of databases.


Tim: (Picks up phone) Hello? Hello?

Telephone: (Silence)

Tim: Hello?

Telephone: (Digital music.)

Voice: Mr R---?

Tim: Oh, hello.

Voice: Mr R---?

Tim: Sorry, B---s not here right at the moment.

Voice: Could I speak to Mr R---, please?

Tim: What was your name? I could tell him you called.

Voice: ... I'm sorry, I can only tell that to Mr R---.

Tim: A number, perhaps?

Voice: I'm sorry, I can only tell that to Mr R---.

Tim: Just what company are you with, anyway?

Voice: I'm sorry, I can only tell that to Mr R---.

Tim: I see.

Voice: .... (Silence) ...

Tim: Well, goodbye mysterious telephone person!

Voice: That's alright.

Looking back, I guess I shouldn't have bothered after hearing that digital music at the start. Either that, or have put in several (or several hundred) more expletives into my conversation ...


Kieran said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TimT said...

I very, very, very, very much doubt it.

Just edited this post. It's not fair to put his entire name up in the post like that.

nailpolishblues said...

I always hang up if I answer the phone and don't get a person - even at work. I especially hate hold music. Put me on hold and no sexy voice for you!

Kieran said...

That is very considerate of you. It might make sense to delete my first comment too, to complete the job.

TimT said...

If you say so. I was in a quandary, see - not deleting comments is another one of my general rules.

Nails, very sensible. It's a bit confusing with this phone, because when you pick it up, there's always a five-second silence for some reason, no matter who's calling - family, friends, or telemarketers.

Ben.H said...

The best response to this type of call is: "When is the bomb going to explode?" For each subsequent reply, read through any list of bomb phone threat questions. This works particularly well in a shared office space.

Anonymous said...

Timby, I was home on a flex (it's the public service people) one day and got four calls in a row for my housemate from Indian Call Centres. Perhaps it was the one call centre, they were all from Optus.

Hello Mrs (so and so) they said. Well, she's a Ms actually, even if she was married once, are you interested in...."no thank you". Four times I had to say it.

Tim was someone mean on your blog?

Darlene said...

Timby, I forget to say who I am in my last comment.


TimT said...

No, I initially named my flatmate on this post and Kieran mentioned his name in his first comment; I followed his suggestion in the second comment and deleted it. It's not something I'd normally do, but I made a mistake naming my flatmate in the first case.

Ben, fantastic... I must try this!

ras said...

I dont even bother answering the phone at home if the number says "OVERSEAS" in the calling number display.

My number is on a fair few lists as far as i know and I have become choosy when it comes to answering the phone. My partner gets angry because they call during the day.

Caz said...

I've always had a silent number, never had a marketing call in my life.


Would almost be worth it just to be able to go through the bomb questions and see how long I could keep them on the phone. People could keep score of who gets the longest time / how many questions they get through. Fun for the whole family!

Kathy said...

I got so sick and tired of "junk calls" that I now just let the answering machine get 'em.

If it's someone I know I pick up the phone. If it's a junk call they hang up as soon as they hear the recorded message.
These callers are often pushy persistant and sometimes rude.

It works for me, and saves time too!

Kathy said...

Good point Caz , but some of these bloody junk calls have been from the bank. One persistent guy rang for days (hubby got the calls) wanting to sign me up for life insurance. Another tried to convince me to get another credit card. Even eith a silent number I would still have been getting these calls.

Fatman said...

The "Gentile" Art of Abuse?

TimT said...

Ummmmmmm .... well, I'm neither a Hebrew or a Christian, so doesn't that make me a Gentile? (Crash boom!) Don't ask hard questions!

Everyone, thanks for your comments. I think the do not call register is really the only way to respond to these cretins. Now, who do I call to register with the do not call register?

cristy said...

I always get asked if I am Mrs [my husband's last name]. I often say that while a Mr [#] lives here, I do not share his last name. For some reason they cannot ever seem to get their heads around such a shocking concept.

I should just say "no", but I am always afraid of missing a call from the post office or an organisation that I actually want to hear from.

cristy said...

I went through a stage of receiving calls from a call centre commissioned by ANZ on my mobile to sign me up for life insurance, credit cards, etc. It was a really horrible experience, because I felt so caught off guard.

TimT said...

Yep, I get those life insurance phone calls. Told them once, 'nope, no need. I have no plans on dying any time soon!' which is not exactly a logical argument, but it stumped them.

Caz said...

Don't know about the do not call register, but the terrorist hotline is:

1800 123 400

Caz said...

Well, well, there is no register yet - it won't be set up until some time in 2007.

In the meantime:

The Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) maintains an industry-run register of individuals who do not want to receive any mail or telephone offers at home. This register, called the Do Not Contact service, may be accessed through ADMA's website at
index.asp?pgid=1999 (that should be in single line for URL, okay) or you may wish to contact ADMA on 1300 792 664. Once registered, a person's name and contact details will be removed from marketing lists held by ADMA members. It is important to note, however, that not all telemarketers are members of ADMA. ADMA can also provide information about similar overseas associations."

CB said...

With a silent number, I rarely get these marketing calls. When I do, I insist on finding out how they got my number. After a period of time of my screaming down the phone, they usually hang up.

The bomb threat checklist is a goody though.Will try that one next time.

TimT said...

I'll give that ADMA register a try. Although the bomb hotline gag sounds like quite the wheeze ...

Rebecca said...

Hi TimT,
Another option is to put on an Indian accent, and only speak like you are reading something from a screen.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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