Monday, December 03, 2007

The ancient lost art of telephonics

Previously, I've been the recipient of letters to people no longer at this address, letters sent to my parents address, phone calls to wrong numbers, and phone calls to the right number from phone survey workers. But I don't know if I've ever, before, got a phone call to the wrong number, been the wrong person to speak to and become, by default, the right person.

Or, to put it another way...


TIM: Hello?

MAN: (In an official and business-like tone of voice) Hello, can I speak to Mr I. R. please?

TIM: No.

MAN: All right. I'm A_ from AAMI Car Insurance. How's it going?

TIM: Good.

MAN: Do you know when Mr I. R. will be back?

TIM: No.

MAN: Is there a good time to call Mr I. R. back?

TIM: No.

MAN: Is there another number I can call Mr I. R. on?

TIM: No.

MAN: Is Mr I. R. in the house?

TIM: No.

MAN: Are you Mr I. R.?

TIM: (Laughs) No.

MAN: Well, we have another number on which we can call him on.

TIM: Okay.

MAN: Thanks for all your help, Mr I. R.

TIM: Goodbye.

I suppose I could have really been a bit more helpful there, but Idon't think there's really any reason to beat myself up about. The guy just stuck to his script and I didn't see any reason to say anything else. As for Mr I. R., I wouldn't be surprise if he's very glad indeed not to be hearing from AAMI Car Insurance.

So I guess being negative can be a positive after all!


Proserpine said...

This reminds me of a call I received from someone purporting to be a representative of a major bank. The line of questioning was very similar, although the words were slurred in a drunken manner. When we got to "Does this person actually live there?" and I said no, the caller snapped "You could have told me that in the first place instead of wasting my time!" and slammed the phone down.

The "Do not call" register is a blessed thing, but I still swear every time the phone rings, since it sadly does not apply to the more bothersome relatives.

TimT said...

Interesting that that's usually the response, either implied or in your case, explicit - we are wasting their time.

You've got to wonder what sort of response they expect when they call up and read from a script like that.

Scoundrels and blackhearts, the lot of them!

proserpine said...

It's best when they don't improvise. I had one calling about life insurance improvise once- about how I could be hit by a taxi tomorrow. I cut her off before she started detailing my hypothetical injuries.

I always try to be polite, as the person on the other end of the line is just someone with a shitty job trying to make a living and not the person higher up who decided it would be a good idea to harrass consumers. Blackheart is a very nice word, though.

Maria said...

When at home, I try to be a bit guarded when people call asking for my Mum, as they usually do when they want to tell her she's won a marvellous prize and sell her a whole lot of unwanted goods. Especially if they call at a time most of her friends wouldknow she's out.

I received such a call.

Caller: Is that Mrs D.?
Me: I'm sorry, no ...
Caller: Well, I don't need to speak to her, I can speak to anyone, is this [address]?
Me: (suspicion, did they lift our number out of the phone book?) Excuse me, did you wish to speak to Mrs D., because she's not here.
Caller: But I can speak to anyone, is this [address] and [phone]?
Me: Errh, I think you may have the wrong number ...
Caller: But I want to know, is there a Mrs D. there? Living there?
Me: (wonders if such information should be given out this is obviously a random pest) Errh, I think you have the wrong ...
Caller: I can speak to anyone.
Me: Goodbye, sorry I can't ...
Caller: I'm the tradesman who was at your place yesterday, I fixed the fridge, but without the serial number which I forgot to write down I can't proces the warranty, I need to talk to someone to give me the fridge number ... Are you sure .. it's the only phone number I have ...


I had to apologise to the poor tradey for my vagueness and tring to hang up on him. He had done quite a nice job on fixing the fridge.

TimT said...

Whoops, and lol.

It was ever thus. The telephone has always been causing these sorts of problems. Last year I saw an operetta called 'The Telephone' set in 1930s New York where a guy is unable to propose to his girlfriend because she's always on the telephone - he ends up calling her from the street and proposing to here there. And here's an apposite moment from Here's Luck:

I talked with her in a kind, fatherly way for a while, but it was obviously a strain for her to talk without dancing, and she gave a little sigh of relief when Stanley entered the room with a heavy masterful tread.

"The telephone's ringing," he announced.

"Answer it, then," I said.

"You know, father, I have taken a vow never to use a phone again," he exclaimed, folding his arms.

I turned to Estelle.

"Will you answer the phone, my dear?" I asked.

She rose obligingly and we followed and crowded round her as she put the receiver to her ear.

"Hello," she yodelled, and listened.

Stanley took the receiver from her hand.

"Who is it?" he hissed.

"It sounds like a woman," she said, staring at him.

"Eggs!" gasped Stanley.

"Steak!" I whispered.

Stanley handed the receiver back to the girl.

"Tell her," he instructed hurriedly, "tell her it's Mr Gudgeon speaking."

He smiled at me and I smiled back and winked.

"Hello," said Estelle, "Mrs Gudgeon speaking. Yes; Mrs Gudgeon.
G-U-D-G-E-O-N. All right. Just a moment."

She turned to Stanley and offered him the receiver.

"Stanley," she said. "Your mother wants to speak to you."

"Holy Moses!" I gasped, and staggered to a chair.

"Hullo!" cried Stanley shakily. "Hullo! Hullo! Hullo!"

"Cut off," he whispered, and taking Estelle's hand, he gazed at me fearfully and then rushed for the door as I leapt to my feet.

"Come here, you blighter!" I shouted.

The door slammed and I was left alone...

Email: timhtrain - at -

eXTReMe Tracker

Blog Archive