Thursday, 10 January 2008
The number you have called….
A couple of days ago I received a telephone call at home from one of those companies that ask a variety of questions obviously for quite a disparate groups of clients.
The call was from a lovely chap called Gary who spoke with a pretty thick French accent, not exactly what one normally associates Garys with.
‘ello iz zat Mr. xxxxxxxx.
‘Eh yes, Good afternoon to you’
Bon jou….. oh pardon Good afternoon Mr xxxxx, my nom iz Gariey.
I assume this must be a bit of a ploy run in the call centres for non- Brit employees or folks from overseas to use ‘English’ names so not as to scare the locals. Two recent callers from Bombay (or thereabouts) have introduced themselves as Simon and Jack and again did not have accents one would normally associate with the names. I’m not sure of course whether Anglo styled names are genuinely used in the Sub continent considering our relatively recent involvement over there, but it was a surprise nevertheless.
I normally get out of these calls pretty quickly but feeling unusually generous I let Gary proceed to run through the normal list of questions about mortgages, personal loans, insurance and corrective eye surgery. He then moved onto the obligatory question about mobile phones,
‘So which iz your current mobile phone network?’
‘I don’t own one’
‘Zorry? Ze question was whose mobile phone service do you use?
‘I don’t own a mobile phone,’
‘You don’t own a mobile phone?’
‘No, I don’t
There followed a silence, into which you felt was being poured scorn, disbelief and the chance to open a side show ‘Roll up and zee le freak’.
‘Wouldn’t you like a mobile phone, our partners are offering a really competitive package at the moment….’
‘Gary, old chum, don’t you think that if I wanted one of these accursed objects I might have procured one by now?’
‘I suppose so, (still a little shocked but now sounding strangely deflated) thanks for your time’.
As you may have guessed by now I’m not a great fan of mobile phones. I’m not a complete technophobe but there is something about the idea of them I don’t like.
I think this boils down to the idea of ‘being available’ for people to communicate with you at almost any time. I know one can turn them off but because it’s a mobile there still seems to be an expectation that you will check you missed calls / texts and respond as soon as you are able to. I guess it’s part of the 24 hours a day information age. Which in parts is probably a blessing but I feel is also in some ways a curse. I have seen on many occasions normally rational people getting a bit irate if the text they have just sent doesn’t get a reply within a few moments or if a voice message doesn’t generate a quick return call.
Me, I don’t want to be thought of as available every hour of every day. I want to be available on my own terms and in my own time. Indeed I had to be bounced into having a landline many years ago only because Mrs. G (whom I had only just met at the time) was going abroad for a few months.
I’m not one for throwing my clogs into the looms though.
I like e-mails, I like the interweb stuff (as may be obvious by the fact you are reading this), I love consol gaming as many virtual panzer divisions and Luftwaffe Squadrons have found to their cost.
Don’t quite get the digital music thing though, vinyl records in Gatefold covers are the future, but that’s a different post for a different day.
But the phone thing, why would you do that to yourself?
I must admit my head has ever so imperceptibly been turned by the I-Phone thing, only on a technological level you must understand. Checking out blogs and websites on the hoof does have an appeal.
But when was has a family to feed, bills and taxes to pay one must keep priorities in pretty sharp focus
So I’m afraid that I will be one referral that poor Gary won’t be able to make to the commissioners of his services.