I used to be plagued by cold-callers on the phone.
They were all trying to sell me something I didn’t want. The worst offender was Smart Telecom, trying to get me to switch my phone account to them.
“You won’t regret it” says they. Ha ha! How wrong they would have been. [For the benefit of overseas readers, Smart failed to pay their bills and left thousands of their customers high and dry with no phones]
Lately I’ve come across a new breed of cold-callers. The Surveys.
I keep getting calls from people who hastily tell me that they don’t want to sell me anything, but could I answer a few questions for a survey please.
The first couple. I let through and answered their questions.
Then it occurred to me – why not have some fun? I didn’t ask them to ring after all.
So the next few that came on, I answered their questions with random answers.
How many bottles of water do you drink in a day? – 156.
How many children under the age of 18 reside with you? – 25.
What type of pet do you have? – A bottle-nose dolphin.
How far do you commute to work? – 15 feet.
You get the idea.
I think they began to get suspicious, because the calls started to tail off a bit. This annoyed me because I was having fun. So I decided to go for broke.
The phone rang the other night.
“Is this a survey?” says I.
“Yes” says he, sounding very relieved. “I won’t take up much of your time. I just want to ask some quick questions”
“No problem” says I. “Can I see some identification?”
Long pause. “Pardon?” says he.
“I’ll need to see some identification so that I know you are who you say you are”
“But I only want to ask you some general questions. No personal ones”
“Ah!” says I, “but if a stranger arrived at your door and didn’t identify himself, would you invite him in even if he said he wasn’t going to steal anything?”
He thought for a while. “No. Probably not”
“Damn sure, you wouldn’t” says I. “Now show me some identification”
“I can’t. This is a phone line. I take it you don’t want to take the survey?”
“I don’t mind answering any and all of your questions, if you show me some identification first”
There was a very long pause. He muttered something and hung up.
Now a lot of companies get their information this way. And then they throw it back at us in their advertising.
So the next time you see an ad on television proudly announcing that “99% of all known cats brush their teeth with Gro-more”, don’t mind it. It was just me having fun.