Bitch on the Blog

October 4, 2011

Sweet innocence

Filed under: Bureaucracy,Communication,Despair — bitchontheblog @ 12:58
Tags: , , , ,

What took me so long?

My son thinks that if his mother were an eskimo anyone could sell me ice. Maybe. Who knows.

Unlike most people in the UK I actually answer the phone with my name.

Phone rings. I answer: “Ursula …. speaking.” Answer: ” Can I please speak to Ursula ….?” “Yes, speaking.”

Remember: We have established that the caller is speaking to me.

Enter 1984, Big Brother is watching you, Orwell. I haven’t got the faintest idea who is calling me, only to be inundated with questions like: What’s your address, your maiden name, your mother’s maiden name, your pet’s name, your date of birth,  keep going …

Are these people ticking ok? So I, being friendly and forgiving of those in call centres ask, politely, and before answering their questions, who I am talking to. Here we enter the sublimely ridiculous: I am being told that,  for my security,  they first need to verify my identity in order to tell me why they are calling. Come again?

I put my foot down today, gently, politely. No more of this nonsense.

Whoever called me yesterday and today, twice in a row, trying to elicit rather personal information: I am sorry but please do tell your management that this is not the way forward. From now on I refuse to enter any such exchange unless you tell me your shoe size and why I have to make sense of incomprehensible accents.

Excellent. And it’s only lunchtime.




  1. I don’t do phone surveys either. My 1st one was long ago when phone surveys just emerged. Cat food. My cat had been eaten by the coyotes having got too old to run up a tree fast enough. (Shut up! Have you ever tried to sleep while your cat is meowing at the door to go out at 2 AM?) Anyway I got suckered in & I’m sure I’d have been kept on the line as long as I answered the questions. I was too polite to cut it off–or stupid.

    Comment by bikehikebabe — October 4, 2011 @ 14:36 | Reply

    • Um, about that coyote thing you mentioned…

      Comment by Phil — October 4, 2011 @ 18:38 | Reply

  2. I have told random callers a few times that they dialed the wrong number. If it truly is a random calling this generally provides a great opportunity to philosophically discuss the notion of right number vs wrong number. This also raises a number of epistemological issues. For example, the phone call might be transported through time, thus, we need to verify what time, date and year it is, how many moons there are circling his home planet, and other pertinent information for ascertaining the nature of this freak accident of being called. Then there is the subject of phone numbers from the viewpoint of number theory.

    My kids would probably respond with:
    Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC, 20500
    Pet’s Name: Bo
    Mother’s Maiden Name: Dunham.

    Comment by Looney — October 4, 2011 @ 15:43 | Reply

  3. Ah!
    Strategy Number One: You have no right to call me like this. I do not accept cold calls so Goodbye.
    Strategy Number Two: Good afternoon/morning/evening. May I speak to your supervisor/line manager/managing director? CEO or whatever title comes to mind?
    Strategy Number Three: Oh, It’s you again. Haven’t you got the message yet. I don’t like you.
    Strategy Number Four: Oh Darling. Wasn’t last night/ weekend/week wonderful?
    Strategy Number Five: Just get off the line. MY wife/ sister/ grandmother?Girlfriend?boyfriend etc is having a baby and I’m waiting for a call from the Hospital/doctor/ Midwife/ witchdoctor/Shaman.
    Strategy Number Six: Please wait while I transfer you to my secretary/PA. (then hand ‘phone to son who politely asks for name of company, Address of registered Office, registered company number,names and numbers of various company officials and for the caller’s name and a contact number.
    Strategy Number Seven: Just lay the handset down and make party noises in the background…do not worry about the time of day….

    Comment by magpie11 — October 4, 2011 @ 16:44 | Reply

  4. The cold calls are pretty much a thing of the past here since registering all my phone lines with the Website. Occasionally a few calls slip through, except for political solicitation calls which were exempted (government officials extending professional courtesy to fellow sharks). Prior to that however, it used to be awful. My responses were as varied as my moods, ranging from toying amusingly with the caller to a downright, “F### You! Oh, and strongly worded letter to follow” before hanging up. The latter responses would be the evenings when my family would hide from me.

    Well, I’d hang around and comment some more, but I am pressed for time. I need to fill out important information highly personal in nature for a fortuitous e-mail I just received. Seems a recently widowed African woman is in need of a man of discretion in order for her to transfer enormous amounts of money hidden from the corrupt government that killed her husband tragically if only I could provide safe haven for it. All I need to do is provide her with all my bank account numbers, personal identification information, and passwords, for which I will receive a handsome percentage of the money. So you see, I will be busy. 😉

    Comment by Phil — October 4, 2011 @ 19:06 | Reply

    • Oh, I think I know that lady. She contacted me and I told her that I don’t have a bank account and that I keep my money under the mattress if I haven’t spent it on food first.

      Comment by magpie11 — October 5, 2011 @ 11:21 | Reply

  5. Now isn’t this the most interesting & fun blog? We can type anything we want. No more of “This is a lovely post.”

    Comment by bikehikebabe — October 4, 2011 @ 19:31 | Reply

    • This was a lovely post…

      Comment by Phil — October 4, 2011 @ 19:56 | Reply

      • Lovely is better than nice. I always type what I think. Problem is….some people don’t like that!

        Comment by magpie11 — October 5, 2011 @ 11:24 | Reply

        • I found out you don’t send political cartoon/jokes. Put a Tea Party Republican with a Jackass Liberal and (OPPS I did it again) you get $*#&^$@!$^&# BAM, BAM, BAM.

          Comment by bikehikebabe — October 5, 2011 @ 16:30 | Reply

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