Saturday, 12 March 2011

Telesales: the worst way to start the day

I had been wondering what to write about next. The world has seemed a very polite place for me recently. Train journeys have been pleasant, service at shops has been efficient and courteous and the postman even said hello to me when I walked past him the other day. I know, I know. It’s like something from a Disney film. I half expected the bin men to break out in song and dance. They didn’t.

My dream of a perpetually polite world was shattered when I received a phone call at about 8:00 this morning. Who calls at 8am?!

The unwritten rules of life proclaim that all weekday calls should be made after 9:30. This gives people ample time to get into work, stare at a blank screen for a few minutes, fill the kettle up and indulge in a tea/coffee before the drudgery of the working day really hits home.

Calling at 8:00 is only for extremely special people I care about who, even though they obviously mean much to me, still have to gain my express permission, and only in emergencies. Real emergencies, not ‘I have a meeting to get to and I’ve just laddered my tights, can I borrow a pair?’ emergencies.

Factor in to this equation that I’m not a morning person. At all. They say the early bird catches the worm. I don’t care about the worm. People who know me well enough know to keep out of my way before 9am. Usually when my alarm wakes me I’m in the middle of a dream about flying to Thailand and living in a beach hut with monkey butlers bringing me cocktails. Waking up means having to deal with people, grey skies and no simian staff. It’s not fun.

So anyway, I tumble out of bed (literally) and rush to the phone.

‘Hello?!’ I say, a slight tinge of panic to my voice. What if it was a real emergency?

I heard nothing. Then a crackle. Then the distant, unclear voice of a man who I assume was calling from a busy call centre and was asking for a Miss Oliver.

Reader, I can assure you, I am a polite person. I really do not envy people who have to sit at a phone every day and call person after person trying to flog phone insurance or whatever it is they’re paid to do. I don’t see the need for rudeness when they’re just doing their job. I’ve been on the receiving end of rude people on the phone and it’s not nice.

But call me at 8am in the morning AND get the wrong number and that’s another story.

However, manners cost nothing, so I bit my tongue and politely informed the man that there was no one by that name living at this address. Usually that works. Did it work in this case? Oh no. He then rudely asked if I was sure. I said I was, unless my cat had somehow mastered the use of his vocal chords and thumbless paws to set up an alter ego or claim benefits or something.

Oh I was sarcastic. Quite obviously sarcastic. For some unknown reason he seemed to take me seriously. After the man finally believed that my cat hadn’t actually jumped ten steps up the evolutionary ladder and his records were wrong, I was about to hang up when what did he do? He asked if he could add my name to his database and tried to sell ME the product. I admit he was a chancer. His manager probably praised him later that day for seizing the opportunity, but I was annoyed now. It was early, he was rude, I was tired and he was rude.

I did something I’ve never done (without prior warning). I hung up on him. And I don’t even care.

I’m just really not a morning person.

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