Attrition warfare

I’ve just had a delightful time reducing a poor Indian cold caller to tears. I know she was Indian because her accent gave her away. She was the third person to call me today using exactly the same script (and illegally displaying a CLI that went to ‘number unobtainable’ when I tried to ring back). I rarely answer the phone if I don’t recognize the number, but the first call caught me unawares as I was expecting a friend to ring – and I answered the next two because I suspected they’d be ‘nuisance’ callers and winding such people up is just so much fun.

Anyway, this is what happened.

[Ring ring, ring ring]

Me: Hello?

Bev: Hello. Am I speaking to Mrs [My Name]?

Me: Possibly…

Bev: And can you confirm that you live at [My Current Address]?

Me: Meh, something like that. Not sure it’s exactly that, but near enough.

Bev: My name is Beverley and I’m calling on behalf of [Name-Muttered-Too-Quickly-To-Be-Deciphered-But-Suspiciously-Similar-To-Those-Muttered-By-The-Two-Previous-Callers] UK. I’d like to ask you two quick questions. It’ll only take a couple of minutes of your time.

Me: Let me stop you there. I am not going to answer your questions. You have your call targets to make. You will not be making them if you continue talking to me, so I suggest you hang up and call the next person on your list.

Bev: But, madam, it’s just two quick questions. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.

Me: A couple of minutes that could be spent talking to someone else and achieving your targets. I’m still not going to answer your questions, you do realize that, don’t you?

Bev: I need to advise you that [call will be recorded for training purposes].

Me: Oh good. That’s nice. I like that very much.


Bev: Madam, I need to know which age bracket you’re in: 30 to 40, 40 to 50, 50 to 60, or 60 to 70?

Me: You weren’t listening, were you? I’m not going to answer your questions.

Bev: Madam, just tell me, please, are you in age group 30 to 40, 40 to 50, 50 to—

Me: You still weren’t listening. Now, as Judge Judy would say, close your mouth and put on your listening ears. I. Am. Not. Going. To. Answer. Your. Questions.

Bev: But please, madam, it’s only a couple of minutes.

Me: No.

Bev: But why not, madam?

Me: That’s another question. Was that your second question?

Bev: Pardon me?

Me: You said there were two questions. The one about my age that I’m not answering, and now the one about why I’m not going to tell you my age. That’s two. I’m not answering the second one either.

Bev: No, no, madam. Madam, please, just tell me if you’re in age group—

Me: No. I keep telling you. I’m not going to answer any questions.

Bev: Please madam, if you answer my questions I promise you no one else from this company will call you again.

Me: No. And I don’t mind if you spend all day calling me. I’m not going to answer your questions, but I’m enjoying this little chat. It’s you who’s wasting your time. I’m not the one with targets I’m failing to meet.

Bev: Madam, if you just answer my questions, I’ll stop bothering you and let you get on with your day.

Me: You really don’t listen, do you? I’ve just told you: you’re not bothering me. I’m more than happy to talk to you.

Bev: Madam, please, are you in age group—

Me: Seriously, I’m really enjoying this little chat. You keep asking me questions, I keep telling you I’m not going to answer. We can play this game all day if you like.

Bev [close to tears]: Madam, I just need to ask you two questions. It’ll only take a couple of minutes and then I’ll stop bothering you.

Me: You’re not bothering me. Not in the slightest. I’m having great fun not answering your questions. It doesn’t sound as if you are though… but do go on. What else would you like me not to answer?

Bev [now in tears and bordering on the hysterical]: Oh, go to hell, go to hell, go to hell!


And she hung up. Sigh. Some people have no manners. So rude.

Next time, I think I’ll offer to play the caller some nice soothing music… for half an hour…


2 thoughts on “Attrition warfare

  1. Diana Mathews says:

    Here we have a “do not call register” for telemarketers, breaches of which companies face large fines. However, foreign calls slip through. Like you, if I have time, keep them talking.
    Insurance: ask questions about terms and conditions etc. until; “Are you telling me that if I pay you $50 today and drop dead tomorrow that you will pay my widow $500,000?”
    “Wonderful, I’ll give you my credit card details and sign up now as I have been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and only have a month to live.”…………….Click…….
    If I have no time to chat, merely shout a four letter expletive into the ‘phone telling them to go away………
    Lots of love,

    • Yes, we have the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) in the UK, but callers based abroad can still get through — although, if they’re employed by a UK-based company — their employers can be in deep trouble. Talk Talk got fined £2 million last year (or the year before) for this very thing.

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