November 10, 2009
A little while back - in moment of unprecedented common sense - the Australian parliament passed the Do Not Call Act. This freeing piece of legislation, allows you to register that you do not want cold calls made to your home.
I duly entered my telephone number into the government database and for a while there, children's nap times were peaceful, dinner preparations were uninterrupted and I no longer needed to explain for the umpteenth time why I thought the free holiday/computer/car I was being offered was a complete scam.
But as time has progressed, telemarketers have wised up. And are striking back.
They have instead trained an army of late teens. They cruise the streets with clipboards, shonky laminated and lanyarded I.D. cards and floppy fringes that make it hard to tell if they have eyes. They frequently travel in pairs. They call at nap times and ring the door bell like there is an emergency. They press their noses to the screen door at dinner time. Sometimes they rattle the door handle.
In the past weeks I have been variously instructed to: go find my last two gas bills; recall off-the-top-of-my-head my current electricity tariff; sign up for karate classes; and pre-pay $200 worth of car services. My polite decline in each case was met with persistence, then complete condescension. Sometimes I am asked if they can come back and speak to my husband instead. What the .... ?!
Then there was the case of young man bearing a shopping jeep of energy-efficient light globes, who told me that the law said he must come into my house to switch over all my incandescent bulbs. Yeah, sure, right. Knock yourself out .... and while your at it, my jewellery and cash is kept in that drawer over there.
These cold callers are difficult to get rid of. Much harder to ditch than telephone callers.
They have hides thicker than a rhinoceros. The perils of waking sleeping children or dinner catching alight completely escapes them. And during their cold calling training they have been told to handle potential customer objections in the same manner as they deal with requests from their parents to move out of home.
Do you think it will all stop if I remove my number from the Do Not Call Register? Is it worth the risk? Maybe; maybe not.
At least my standard response is likely to work more effectively back on the phone, than it has at the door: The Hoppo Bumpos aren't home just now. Please leave a message after the tone. Beeeeep ......
Filed under: General silliness