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Outraged of Mumbai

February 27, 2020

I just got off the phone with a young lady with a Chinese (I think) accent who said she was from BT Openreach. We had a conversation that was made difficult by her accent and my increasing deafness. I try to be polite to young ladies (and elderly ones too) so  I didn’t say what I usually do to such callers but having established that she knew my name asked what exactly the call was about and why couldn’t they just send me a letter.

She hung up at that.

Which wasn’t what I meant to talk about,  just what drove me to the computer to write.

I’m at home at the moment, not going out because I have a cold.  I do NOT believe I have the current world-threatening infection! My temperature isn’t elevated and I have no more alarming symptoms than a cough, copious amounts of snot and generally feeling rough. I’ve been here more than once already this winter and apart from an alarming couple of days with an actual fever about a month ago, it’s all been the Great British Stinking Cold.

I think I came by  the cold when I went up in the pouring rain to Amersham on Monday to see a woman about a cat. (Which is not the same as seeing a man about a dog.) She is a volunteer for one of the local cat rescue charitird and I wanted to take a look at a cat she was trying to find a home for. The cat involved is a big, handsome fellow (see picture) and the charity wants to visit me to ensure my little  flat is large enough to be suitable. By the time they come around I may have spent enough  time stuck indoors that I will have done serious tidying up!

It’s not too bad: I have the heaters  on, I’m wearing my comfortable shorts and I have enough food to last me today and through breakfast tomorrow. I’ve run out of bananas and have only one orange left but I suppose I shall have to rough it.

But being alone is lonely (which  is  why I’m looking to get a cat) and I’ve greeted interruptions with glee rather than resentment even when they come from fraudulent persons in call centres. Which is why I  was positively jovial when  I got a call yesterday from a gentleman with a light  Indian accent who claimed he worked for Microsoft.

Now to him I  did say what I usually say which is “I don’t believe  you.”

And he reacted in just the same way as all the other fraudulent callers when I did that:  outrage! Instead of hanging  up  as the Chinese lady did when things went off the rails he tried to defend his honour by assuring me that he was and could I tell him if I was the principle user of the computer.

To which I replied “Firestone. Wombat. Integrate.”

I don’t know why I decided to try absurdism but it got a delightful result in that he asked me to repeat what I had said and then when I did he said that the line was breaking up and he couldn’t make out what I was saying.

At which point I lost heart in teasing him further and just told him outright that I didn’t believe he was from Microsoft and hung up  on him. I regard it as a failure on my part that I had to hang up and couldn’t persuade him to break off the call. One has to keep score on these things somehow and I didn’t feel like going for ‘How long can you keep them dangling futilely on the line’ which most of my friends claim they go for.

What I want to know is: why the outrage? Why do people who are calling you to do you mischief so upset when called on it? Is there a cultural difference? The Chinese lady recognised what I was doing and wasted no more time on me but the Indian gentleman (and a few earlier examples I’ve done the same thing to) felt I had struck  him in the amour propre and doubled down on his script.

As I hung up I did say to him: “Please go away and get yourself an honest job.” I’m not sure how  I feel about saying that because it makes me sound smug and morally superior which I’m not being  old and full of sin. But  it is the best advice I can give  someone in his situation.

Well, that and ‘get a cat: they’re good for you!’

One Comment
  1. Cat looks a bit of a bruiser. Sorry about your cold. And get a phone with security they have to get through. I delight in checking my call record and seeing all those 012 and o17 numbers who have given up as soon as they hear they have to give their name before I will speak to them unless I know who they are… Wow – rather a lot of subordinate clauses there, methinks.

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