Thursday, May 12, 2005

Call at Your Own Risk!!

There's an old African jungle song -
"Ooonga Boonga!! Ooonga Boonga!!
When you sleep, when you sleep
Ooonga Boonga!! Ooonga Boonga!!
Telephone ring, telephone ring!!!"

(Actually, I added the second and fourth lines!)

And while my room may not resemble the African Savannah in any way (the Savannah was never this messy!), the jingle holds true here as well. Alarm clocks can be dispensed off, for I can always trust the faithful ol' telephone to do that accursed job for me. (Except on the day I'll actually have to get up for an exam. That day it will remain strangely silent.)

The problem, to a large extent, lies in my sleeping times (normally 6 am to 1 pm). As you can imagine, with hours like these and a telephone around, it's a sure-shot recipe for disaster.

Now, I don't mind if the person calling up is -
a. About to die, and I'm the only one can save him/her
b. A girlfriend
b. Calling up about some doubt just before an exam (yeah, I am a good guy), or
d. Alicia Silverstone

But when that caller turns out to be a telemarketer - Hell hath no fury like an Arnold woken up!

So this morning, I'm peacefully dreaming away under the spell of Morpheus (the God of Sleep, not the weirdo from The Matrix)! And (no points for guessing) the telephone rings! Unfortunately, it wasn't Alicia Silverstone (can you believe that?). It was, though, a female.

Fourteen seconds of polite (by my just-woken-up standards) conversation enables me to conclude that she is from ICICI (a bank), and interested in knowing whether I wanted a credit card. ("No, but leave me your mobile number and maybe we can discuss my banking needs over dinner sometime?")

Now, this would be a good time to digress a little bit from the main story to narrate an amusing anecdote. About a month back, a friend and I were discussing this exact matter - telemarketing. I said that I was normally too polite to do anything but decline the offer nicely. That's when he mentions what his uncle once did when disturbed by one such call. The caller was (as always) a young girl of about 25. The uncle on the other hand was closer to 60.

25 - "Good evening, sir! Are you ____ ?"
60 - "Yes, I am"
25 - "Sir, could you please tell me whether you are working or retired?"
60 - "Retired, dear"
25 - "Sir, may I ask you how much pension you receive?"
60 - "_____"
25 - "Ok. How much did you earn while you were working?"

And so it went, on and on. She would ask him a question (rather personal ones, if you ask me), and he would politely reply. Finally, he'd had enough.

60 - "Listen dear, you've asked me so many questions and I've answered them. Now can I please ask you just one question?"
25 - "Uhh.. (Holy shit!, this certainly ain't in the script! How is my 2-bit brain supposed to come up with a reply by itself?) Yeah, sure"

60 - "What's your cup size, dear?"
*Applause Applause*

It's safe to say, this was probably the first time in the history of telemarketing that the telemarketer was the first to hang up the phone!

Well, it may not have been the most pleasant way to end the conversation but let's not forget - she was asking personal questions too (although she was probably referring to the size of his bank account rather than that other thing)! And she just wasn't letting up. I'm glad this old dude showed her just what he thought of her interrupting his work! Way to go, old boy!!

To return to this morning, I would have done the same thing. Except I was so sleepy that I just didn't think of it! So I just told her, I wasn't interested in any of her cards or anything else. And hung up the phone, when I heard another question coming. But I swear, the next time ICICI tries to fob me with some young lass on the phone, I know what I'm going to be asking her!

In a way, even wrong numbers are more tolerable than these telemarketing calls. At least then, the person's made a genuine mistake. Here, this female has purposefully called up your number. ARRGHH!

Speaking of wrong numbers though, here's one that I received about 6 months ago. I picked up the phone and a girl's voice says,

"Can I please speak to Abhishek?"
(At the risk of coming off desperate and loser-like here let me just mention that that was a hot voice, if ever there was one!)

My reply, "There's no Abhishek here, but you can take your pick between a Mike, Matthew and an Arnold!"

"Umm... No, just Abhishek will do."

Just before I end, some readers may wonder why I don’t just switch my cell phone to silent and keep the other one off the hook when I’m sleeping? And what! Miss that call from Ms Silverstone? No way!!


Confuzzled said...

*lol*.......that was something dude!;)
telemarketing is facing lot a of flak these days......there is even a PIL filed by a lawyer aginst the telemarketers. This one cellphone user recievd a call frm a telemarketer when he was in a funeral!

maverick said...

lol.. been folloowing ur blog for some time n i really like ur style. u have me in splits with most of ur posts... keep up the good work..

arnold said...

confuzzled - u know wht wud hv been even worse? if the dead guy at the funeral; his cell phone rang bcoz of a telemarketer!!

arnold said...

maverick - thnx! always nice to receive a bit of positive feedback!! :)

sandnya said...

Hey... i totally despise these telemarketing guys too... and to top it all my sim is on my brother-in-law's name so i am not even the person they want to talk to !!! And my sleeping habits are identical to yours so i know the frustraion a little too well !!!

arnold said...

sandnya - lol! yeah, my sim isnt on my name either.. but i dun get too many calls from those guys... actually sometimes these calls can be fun.. the only thing i hate is when they disturb my sleep!!