Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Cold Calling

Cold callers can be annoying but also rather fun. They usually ring to ask you to switch your energy provider or broadband connection. There is a simple and effective method of dealing with them.
Firstly they will ask if you are the homeowner. Always say 'no'. It is imperative that you do not expand on this simple negative. 'No' will suffice. They will then ask if they can speak to the homeowner. Again, reply 'no'. They will then ask if you are a relative of the homeowner. Reply 'no' [can you see a pattern forming?]. At this point you might be able to discern a faint hint of frustration in the voice of the cold caller who may go on to ask if you are a friend or neighbour of the homeowner. Reply 'no'. The cold caller will then ask you who you are. You now have the cold caller in the palm of your hand.
Suitable replies:-
Vera Lynn
Princess Ann
A burglar. [My personal favourite]


Rog said...

You get a twiglet for this!

Rog said...

Yay!!! Second!!!!

mapstew said...

I had one yesterday, calling from Canada, trying to get me to set up an internet company, and with their help I would be rich I tells ya!

I told her I was on the toilet. (Iwas!) She hung up on me!

Dave said...

I've used Eric Morecombe's line "I'm sorry, there's no 'phone here" a couple of times. That certainly seems to throw them from their script.

Anonymous said...

I've taken to answering the phone in a foreign language.

(And it's good to see you back.)

tony said...

I will give it a go (does Princess Ann
have a Halifax accent?)

Scarlet-Blue said...

Rog: A twiglet eh? I will work harder to get the big sucky kiss then.

Mr Maps: The truth works a treat. I once said that I had to hang up because I was watching Eastenders... it was a juicy episode. The cold caller was wrong footed and laughed.

Dave: I once put the phone down next to my kettle. The conversation was probably hot.

Dinah: I would if I could.. but if I pretended to know a foreign language I know I'd be caught out.
I'm going to try heavy breathing next.

Tony: No. Princess Ann now speaks with a strong estuary English accent. But I'm sure she can learn a deep Halifaxnese.


Clyde said...

Ha, I have tried your approach and I have tried Map's
Then there is "Felicity, that is the worst Australian accent I have heard from India"
"Do I get a free set of spoons--come on, what about the spoons, surely I get spoons"
"Do I get fries with that"---AND
"Could you phone back later, I'm busy masturbating"

Chairman Bill said...

My personal favourite is to say: "I'd love to speak with you about your product, but first can I tell you about our saviour - Jesus?"

Click...brrr brrr brrr

BEAST said...

You could claim to be a wandering go go dancer called Passionata Gstring

eroswings said...

I luv messing with those people!

Sometimes, I pretend to be the neighbor and say, "He violated his parole; I hear he's in for another ten years. He seemed so nice, too, but isn't always the quiet ones that turn out to be the psychos who stalk and murder people that piss them off? What's your name again? I'll let him know that you called."

Or if I'm really being a jackass, "He's passed away yesterday. Will you be coming to the funeral?"

Geoff said...

"I am the forces' sweetheart, Vera Lynn."

Yes, I think I'll say that next time.

xl said...

My personal favorite is to feign interest for a question or two. Then ask them to hang on a second while I get something out of the oven. I put the phone down and see how long they stay on the line.

Nota Bene said...

I can be very rude sometimes when they ask if they can speak with the homeowner, by saying "I'm sorry they can't talk at the moment, because they're giving me a BJ". When callers say we've got just the product for someone like you, I say, "Oh really, what am I like then?" That normally silences them. And now I shall hide my head in shame.

Leah said...

I used sometimes to enjoy getting cold calls, for the chance to exercise my creativity, but since I put us on a do-not-call list, they are few and far between. There is a significant hole in my life!

Ponita in Real Life said...

I don't get creative... I just say 'no thanks' and hang up on them. How boring is that...

Map, that was NOT me!

Scarlet-Blue said...

Clyde: I was once very rude to a close friend when she rang me up pretending to sell double glazing. She was taken aback by my strong language... but she couldn't stop laughing.
The moral of this story: be sure that it is a cold caller before talking about masturbation.

Mr Chairman: This is going on my list! Once I pretended to be a deaf old lady and kept asking them to repeat themselves.

Mr Beastie: But I am a wandering go-go dancer called Passionata Gstring...

Mr Swings: Mr Swings!! These cold callers do pander to the evil streak in us all don't they. In some ways it could be said that they are providing a service. They do seem to be giving us carte blanche to be creative.

Geoff: I would like to be a fly on the wall when you do. You can also break into a rendition of 'We'll Meet Again' if the mood takes you, for extra emphasis.

Mr XL: They are difficult to shake aren't they. The silent treatment can often be a winner. Weren't you tempted to make some rude noises?

Nota Bene: Hold your head up high! You have to play mean with these people or we'd all be forever changing energy providers and broadband connections... the result would probably be disconnection from everything. A right muddle.

Leah: Same here! I'm signed up with the Telephone Preference Service... but the odd cold caller slips through, which makes their calls even more special.

Ponita: Not boring! But the sign of an efficient woman who likes to get on without any fuss and nonsense.
...so when are you setting up this internet company? Are you going to make us rich???


underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Scarlet,

Normally, I don't bother to answer the phone, my answering machine has that primary duty. But when I do, I'm always courteous to someone hawking something. I listen for 10 seconds (any more than that and I tend to get upset), interrupt them with a "thank you for calling" and silence the conversation with a click.

Although I think saying I was a burgular is rather cute, it would be my fate that several southern law enforcement officers arrive to break down my door, taser me, proceed to beat the shit out of me and then one of them regrettably say, "My bad guvnor, someone reported theivery and mayhem at this domicile. Right. We'll be on our way then." As I lie there bruised and bleeding profusely asking myself, "What the fuck did I buy an answering machine for?"

Somewhere there's a story crying to be told in all that Scarlet. What do you think of Black Man Bleeding? The story of a man who loved a good prank which unfortunately always backfired.

I was up late and now I'm in a cynical mood, which happens whenever I try to be funny.


Scarlet-Blue said...

Mr U: You are funny! This was more or less my train of thought after I'd told them that I was a burglar - only our police would probably make do with a polite knock on the door and a flash of truncheon.

KAZ said...

A cold caller once started by asking my age.
I gave him some good advice about how to make progress with the opposite sex.
I never did find out what he wanted.

MJ said...

When the carpet cleaners call, I follow the lead of one “Tom Mabe” from his “Revenge of the Telemarketers” CD.

You can hear a brief segment from his “blood out of the carpet” routine in this mp3.

Jimmy Bastard said...

I must admit that on occasion I ask them to hold on while I finish my business in the lav. The men will hang up, the ladies will quite happily wait the ten minutes or so I leave them dangling.

Uh.. the ladies dangling that is.. not something else.

Z said...

The most effective one was when I explained that the householder, my mother, had died that morning. The second was when I explained that the caller had interrupted my mother's funeral 'do'. Both true of course, I wouldn't recommend that if your mother is alive - far too tasteless.

If the Sage picks up the phone, the rotter hands it over to me, because he reckons I'm better at getting rid of them. But it doesn't happen often any more, because I opted out at the Telephone Preference Service - http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/ - though if you already buy the service of a company, they can phone you with a 'better offer' (*better offer*, that gives me a few daydreams...)

Roses said...

I'm on the Telephone Preference Service which also applies to my mobile.

After I changed providers I got a call from a rival. When I asked to speak to the manager, to complain about this, funnily enough I got cut off mid-transfer. They never rang back.


Kate said...

How about saying you are the first wife? The one he keeps locked in the attic...

Love the post again

Kate xx

Kerrie said...

I find it so hard not to be polite, I end up having endless pointless conversations. Sometimes we end up talking about their lives and families. This is mostly at work, so not in my own time after all. You can get some really lovely cold callers.
I don't buy anything, which must drive them nuts, as they don't call back.
I don't answer the phone at home until the answer machine cicks in and hear voice going " Hi darlings mum calling....

Scarlet-Blue said...

Kaz: He may have been selling a pension plan... or worse... stairlifts?

MJ: I will have to seek out this CD. I have done 'hysterical giggling', which did put the cold caller off his script.

Mr Jimmy: I now have an interesting image in my mind!

Z: I'm beginning to think that it must be interesting to have a job as a cold caller! Imagine all the things they hear.
I am now signed up with the TPS... but yes, the odd call slips through.

Roses: Oh yes... as soon as you say 'TPS' they slam down the phone and get rid of you as soon as poss.

Kate: I am liking all of these distraction techniques and will be keeping a notebook by my phone for future reference.

Kerrie: This has once happened to me... and I ended up listening to this blokes marital woes... very odd... I think he was bored with his job as well.


Madame DeFarge said...

I tend to tell them that I've tied my husband up and he hasn't said the safe word yet. I suspect that it's lost upon them. Which, given that they may know my home address, is something of a relief.

Grump said...

I have taken to saying in reply are you the account holder or householder. First answer Yes. second answer no thank you. I don't offer any further explanation. Yes and no thank you. Done and dusted.
Woof x

E.R. Carpenter said...

When part of my duties at a software company included answering the main line, there were two easy ways to get rid of salespeople:

1. Say not interested and hang up immediately.

2. Ask them to hold and never come back.

You'll never guess what I do for a living now.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Excellent, Scarley, you make it sound so simple, as indeed perhaps it is!

Whirlochre said...

My strategy for cold callers is to go off and try to "find myself" — or the mysterious "house owner".

Then I hide the phone under a cushion.

Five minutes later, I might check in again with a timely "who did you say you were looking for, exactly?, possibly in a Scottish accent.

You'd be surprised how long some of them will hang on...

nick said...

Excellent, I now have dozens of new suggestions for sabotaging cold callers. Mystified Italian I can do, and death, wakes and sex are good too. My fave is also asking them to hang on and then disappearing. Something really gruesome would be fun, like telling them my girl friend has just been hacked to death and I'm busy clearing up the blood and mangled intestines. Could they wait a few minutes while I clean myself up?

Scarlet-Blue said...

Madame D: It's interesting that we feel that we can say anything to these callers... well anything apart from our credit card number!

Grump: Mostly I do what you do but some days I'm up for a little mischief.

Mr Carpenter: You are a very funny man!! [Hello and Welcome!]

Gadj: It is simple, the trick is to give as litle information as possible.

Mr Whirly: I think your quacker will come in handy for cold callers - I will keep it by the phone.

Nick: Hello and Welcome! Have you clicked on MJ's Mp3? I think you'll like it.


nick said...

Oh, pardon me, I overlooked that. Very good, exactly the sort of thing I had in mind. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm trying to retrieve a hand from under the settee....

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Try to be polite even if you're going to end the conversation, some of those poor buggers get the minimum wage and have NO interest in selling you the product, they're just trying to make a living. They don't own the company. It's a thankless job, I've done it myself and you have to have a skin like a rhinoceros to deal with the insults you get.

B-u-x said...

Since I left British shores I no longer have to deal with cold callers, it's wonderful!

Who said the grass is not always greener on the other side ;-)


Scarlet-Blue said...

Nick: It's good isn't it?!
I have a glove you could stuff if you can't find your hand.

Daphne: I would last 2 seconds as a cold caller. I would cry.
Therefore I worked in a car wash instead. No - I didn't wait on street corners waving my chamois leather!

Bux: Where is this paradise?


writtenwyrdd said...

I like your approach!

Most of the calls I get are asking for donations. I flat refuse to donate/pledge/whatever over the phone, because some of these are scammers. So what I do is just tell them "I have a policy to never donate money to causes who call me and bother me at home. So if you want me to donate, send something by mail. And if you do not have my address already, then you must not be one of the many causes to which I have donated in the past, so I'm not likely interested. And if you bother me ever again, I will NEVER donate to your group again."

It usually works.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Writtenwyrd: I hate the ones that ring and there's no-one there. It's a machine that rings several people at once to save time - the first person who answers gets a sales person - the rest of us are left muttering into the mouthpiece. V.annoying.

Anonymous said...

I have several times told cold callers that I was dead. Doesnt seem to work..

Mitzi said...

I have caller display on my phone If I don't recognise the number or it says "international" I simply ignore it. I had company down one evening and an international call came through, I put it on the loud speaker and this Indian accent on the other end had us all in fits.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Mr Mutts: Did the cold caller turn out to be working for an undertaker?

Mitzi: Another reason I'd not like to be a cold caller - people laughing at my accent!


Brayden said...


The problem with most sales people is that they do not know how to do cold calls properly and effectively. A cold calling should friendly greet the customers which leave a good impression in customers mind.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Brayden: Hello and Welcome!
Brayden!! Goodness me!! Now they're trying to sell cold calling courses to each other..

Z said...

The problem with cold calling, Brayden, is that it is an unacceptable intrusion into people's lives. The *friendly* greeting from a stranger who has no right to bother me and who only wants to sell me something is even more unpleasant and annoying than someone behaving in a business-like manner. I'd expect politeness from anyone of course.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Z: Well put!

writtenwyrdd said...

In the US, the auto-dialer calls are illegal. I also hate those calls where you get the dead air as it decides to hook you, the recipient, with a real person--annoying! The problem is, it's legal for non-profit charities or for political purposes. So I still get a lot of those calls.

One thing you can try is to hit the # or * key repeatedly until it hangs up on you. That often works.

Ana said...

They've given up on cold calling here... a month ago, a man showed up at my door. He gave me an offer I couldn't refuse. He's coming tomorrow to deliver the goods. I miss the cold call...if this is the alternative.

Great blog, by the way!

Scarlet-Blue said...

Writtenwyrd: What worries me is that I've wanted to use my phone but haven't been able to cut off the 'dead air'. What do I do in an emergency? And I don't get a mobile signal where I live.

Ana: Hello and Welcome!
Oh... I remember that offer on my doorstep!! Yes I fell for it too!


Liam said...

I get dragged into these long conversations everytime I answer one of those calls. I find it hard to get rid of them without being rude. So I have long since made all my numbers private. Even then once in a while one sneaks in.

brown eyed girl said...

Ive got to try the burglar one! we are always getting them round here.
Thats totally brilliant..

Anonymous said...

Yay!! 53rd!!!

Donn w/2nz said...

Have you tried

"No, this is Sergeant Jones. Homicide.
What exactly was your relationship to the victim?"
"What are you wearing?"
and then hold the phone by your zipper :)

Beverly Hamilton Wenham said...

We used to get these calls all the time from carpet cleaners. I told them we had no carpets, only wood floors. They then called back and said they cleaned wood floors. So I told them we had no floor. Just gravel. (oh Luxury, luxury) They never called back.
What fun!

Anonymous said...

Cold calling is forbidden by the law here. Thank God.

Dave said...

Are you still there, Miss Scarlet?

I ask, because I want to post a picture of you, holding an axe, on Wednesday. If I don't hear, I'll assume it's OK.

Kate said...

Ha ha thanks for the laugh and nice to see you posting again!

Kate xx


Moody Old Blue Cow Face said...

Liam: Sales people are determined creatures, I think they enjoy the game.

Miss Beg: Let me know how you get on.. it usually brightens my day if I have some haggling to do with a cold caller.

Jane: Hello Jane, I will be along to see you once I've got my face on!

Bev: Gravel! I will try to remember that one!

Mr Coppens: The last cold caller I had was dressed as Sean Connery, so I warmed him up.

Mr Mags: You lucky thing!! Why isn't this a European law I wonder.

Dave: Are you going to axe me? And where did you get the pic? I thought I'd destroyed all the copies. I apologise for my magic roundabout Dougal knickers that are clearly visible in the background.

Kate: Many thanks!


xl said...

Dearest Miss Scarlet / Miss M&S Knickers / Moody Old Blue Cow Face,

I am perplexed. What is the proper form of address to your personage now?

Is Mx the new Sx?

Miss M&S Knickers said...

Mr XL: I'm having a 'Mr Coppens moment'... According to my Google a/c I am now 'Miss M Ampersands Knickers'... whoever she is? And I hope she doesn't mind that I've nicked her knickers.

P.S...the chocolates are a little bit too tasty... and so big that they are dunkable. V.V. nice.

Dave said...

Don't worry. There are no knickers visible in this picture.

Miss Baggy Knickers said...

Dave: I am a little concerned about the axe??? What am I doing with an axe. I know my memory is a little fuxxy... sorry fuzzy, at times, but surely I'd remember playing with an axe???

Dave said...

Actually, looking at the picture again, I'm not sure if it's you or Kaz. Definitely short and blonde.

You'll have to tell me tomorrow.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Are you hiding away hen?

Miss Baggy Knickers said...

Dave: We can have a vote on it tomorrow. Maybe it's both of us???

Mr Jimmy: I am hiding under my duvet until it's safe to come out.


Anonymous said...

Come out of that duvet.
It's safe now.

WV: suncint (!)

Anonymous said...

Cold callers can be as annoying as silent calls and recently I have been experiencing the latter.

Anonymous said...
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