About a month ago I was expecting a fairly important call (for me, a call to decide a drinking venue is fairly important) and when my phone did eventually ring, it wasn’t the caller I expected. Instead of hearing a friend’s burly voice say – “Yes, we’re going to Janata” I got a poorly enunciated, grammatically inept and spectacularly vernacular voice say – “Good evening Mr. Munmunwala [sic] I am calling from the [sic] Tata AIG. We hao spesial (have special) offer for health insurance. We are offer [sic] insurance at premium of rupe……………..” and so on. Undoubtedly I was fairly agitated. A) Because I was expecting better news than a “spesial” offer for Health Insurance, and B) Because over the past few years I have grown to hate these calls almost as much as I hate the way George Bush used to say “Nucular”.
It’s a terror any cell phone owning Bombayite has to deal with on a very regular basis, and while initially they were rather polite and understanding when you say you’re not interested, they’ve grown to become a quite obnoxious breed of phone spammers. Now, even though you say you aren’t interested, they just keep rambling on and sometimes even start arguing. How this helps their purpose I do not know, but what I do know is how to annoy people, and finally I’ve been able to put my skills to good use to get rid of these telephonic parasites.
1. Just say NO – It used to work in the past and every now and then it still does, when they ask if you’re interested in a certain offer/course/program just say NO and hang up. It’s succinct, polite and pretty obvious. But it rarely works these days so you have to get creative with it. I often say NO before the person at the other end can even finish the sentence. I sometimes even pick up the phone and say NO instead of saying ‘hello’ if it’s a number I recognise as that of a call whore. If they refuse to accept a simple NO you can try a series of NO’s, ranging in number from 3 to 45. Just keep saying NO until they submit and hang up. If even that doesn’t work then you can try the Hitler:
2. Lead them on – I think it’s been established already that I’m quite sadistic and rather rude at times and THAT coupled with a fair amount of free time makes me a call whore’s worst nightmare. After realising that being polite and giving them time to rope in gullible customers has started to lose its effectiveness, I decided to do the exact opposite. When I get a call requesting 5 minutes to discuss health insurance, home loans or other such things that I have as much interest in as I do in a book about 15th Century door knobs, I respond with “Oh thank God! I really need *offer* please tell me everything about it”. I then go on to affirm my attention in all the minute details with a well timed “Hmm” every 10 seconds as I proceed to get along with doing whatever I was doing. After about half an hour of mindless dribble when the call whores asks “so sir, are you interested?” I reply with a steady and firm “NO” that hits them in the face like body odour and then hang up. That should teach them not to fuck with a sadist like me. If you don’t have the resilience to hold your phone to you ear and “hmm” every 10 seconds you can choose to just put your phone on your desk and move on. The phone whore will realise you are a right ol’ dick when after 5 minutes of poorly framed sentences they go “Sir….sir….are you there….hello…..SIR?”
3. Confuse the crap out of them – Although leading them on is pretty fun, it’s pretty time consuming and sometimes if I’m in a hurry and a simple NO isn’t working, I just confuse the crap out of them. For example, if someone calls me offering health insurance where a premium of Rs. 10,000 will give me returns of 2 Lakh in 10 years. I ask “What will the returns be in 7 years if I paid a premium of Rs. 25,450 but made 4 claims in the first 3 years, two of which were pertaining to an accident where I’ve injured the lowest bone in my lumbar vertebrae while playing PlayStation, one claim where I banged my head on an uncommonly large fridge handle and one claim for when I broke my chin with my own elbow while wrestling with a large bear.” This works if you say it fast enough and don’t stop to listen to the interrupting call whore who is now probably ‘googling’ everything you just said only to find out that it is physically impossible to break your chin with your own elbow. If it doesn’t work then you can follow up with questions like “does it cover self-inflicted war injuries, tissue damage caused by excessive masturbation or aromatherapy to cure my depression caused by the death of my imaginary friend”
4. Get back at someone you don’t like – A friend and I used to quite enjoy ruining each others’ lives so sometimes, rather than hanging up, I would tell them I know someone else who is interested and give them said friend’s name and number so that they can dance on his last nerve rather than mine. I found this to be specially entertaining when said friend was sitting right next to me. I also found it to be very entertaining when once, a call whore asked what said friend’s profession was and got overly excited when I told him my friend made movies. I think his exact words were “Sir, actually you hao done me a big favour because actually I am also looking to get into filum industry”. More recently my friend and I have called a truce though, so now I just tell them I have a friend called “Sanjeo” who is interested and give them the landline number to my old house.
5. Do the Jerry – I was inspired by a 5 second act of absolute brilliance in an episode of Seinfeld and have been aching to try it but somehow every time I pick up a call from a call centre my muscles tense, my teeth clench and I envision a man pounding little kittens with a sledgehammer in my mind so I do not have the patience to do the Jerry. If you do not have such bizarre reactions to a call whore then you could try this:
6. Be absolutely disgusting – I’ve tried all of the above methods to get rid of a call whore and they have had varying success rates. Fortunately for me, and for you, I discovered a perfect, fail proof way of freaking the shit out of an unsuspecting caller, scaring them into hanging up. Here’s what happened.
Call Whore: “Good evening Sir, I’m calling from HDFC Bank, we are offering a special home loan, do you have 5 minutes to spare”
Me: “Can I ask you a question?”
CW: “Yes sir”
Me: “Have you ever stuck you finger in your bum and then licked it?”
CW: *Hangs up*
It’s a shame that someone would have to resort to such vulgarity to get rid of a telemarketer but if that’s what it takes, then that’s what I’ll do. I’ve also come up with other similar tastelessly indecent questions in case they get accustomed to the original. Like “have you ever thought of your Grandma while masturbating?” or “Would you wear *opposite sex’s* underwear and pose for photos if I gave you 100 bucks?”
Of course you don’t have to be so sordid with them as I found out when I asked one of them “How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”. The smarty replies with “I don’t know but I can find out for you” to which I replied, “Ok, call me when you do”
Disclaimer: These tips and tricks have proven to work for me in the past but knowing that most call centers record all calls for “training purposes” it is quite possible that they will have your name, number and exact words on tape. Following any or all of the above tips could result in you getting abused by an angry man who’s had a bad day at work in Malad or Goregaon or worst case scenario you could get arrested for harassment or indecency. Read and execute at your own risk.