Thursday, October 07, 2010

One good thing about cold callers

First, the answers to the mini-quiz. The genuine dark red paint colour, as opposed to the fevered imaginings of a deadline-beset columnist, was Boot Red from Fired Earth.

Or Fried Earth, as Mrs D insists on calling them.

We’re not going to use it, mind. Opinion on the ultimate decorative finish for our bedroom walls has swung away from sombre reds and browns towards duskier shades like Smoked Trout and Poached Turbot.

This one will run and run. But for now there are bigger fish to fry.

How many times recently have you heard the phrase, “There’s nothing to worry about”? It seems to be the latest ploy of foot-in-the-door salespeople  and telephone cold callers.

Some genius of a sales trainer has probably worked out that the callers’ victims  need a bit of reassurance before they will part with their money.

We had a variation on the theme a couple of days ago. A greasy youth from one of the energy companies rang the doorbell, and fired off with the immortal line: “Evening sir, nothing to worry about, don’t get the boxing gloves out.”

Quite what sort of reassurance that was supposed to give is doubtful. The door was shut firmly but politely in his face.

And then there was the telephone marketer who started her spiel with “Don’t worry, Mr Dixon. This isn’t a sales call.” Yeah, right. And we’ve opted out through the Telephone Preference Service, so you can take us right off your so-called database.

The most offensive cold calls, of course, are the ones when the line goes dead for a couple of seconds, and then you’re asked if you’re the “named user of your computer system”.

The person calling doesn’t tell you not to worry. They tell you that there’s a problem with your computer, that they’re from some sort of service centre – or even from Microsoft – and they want to help you sort it out.

They don’t want to do anything of the sort.

They’re criminals, and they’re trying to plant viruses, bots or keyloggers on your system so that they can steal your personal information or otherwise subvert your PC. (It doesn’t work on Macs.)

Microsoft doesn’t ring people up out of the blue asking for information. Its staff have better things to do with their time, and they don’t have your phone number.

Now with most cold callers there’s always this residual urge to be polite. They’re only doing their job, after all, and not a very gratifying or rewarding one either.

But  if one of these cyber scum ring you up one evening, and you’ve have a bad day, and you need to release some stress, and you’ve got the gift of the gab, then no one’s going to mind if you take out your frustrations on them by being as rude as you damn well like.

It ain’t half therapeutic.

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