Hung up

When we first came to the Outpost we were assigned a phone number previously used by ‘honey’, also known as ‘my mother’ (i.e. ‘darling’). We would be rung up by a number of male characters who would sound disoriented at the sound of Jod’s voice and would timidly apologise to me, although many more would just slam the receiver down. Pizza delivery places we phoned up would run reverse searches on our number and give us a woman’s name and an address a long way from here. We had these details corrected a call centre at a time.

Then times changed, although not the number. A couple of years ago, a “public opinion research group” phoned us. I was asked about my favourite crisps and tortilla chips. Since then, they all followed suit. Every time the phone rings and it’s someone we do not know, it is usually someone calling us for an opinion poll, a survey, a market research project and so on. The best was in March 2004.

“Hello, sir, I am from XXX and I would like to take up a few moments of your time.”
“…”
“Have you decided how you will vote in the April 24th referendum?”
“No, because I do not vote.”
“Ok then, ‘no’.”
“No, no: it’s not that I have not decided yet, it’s rather that I do not vote.”
“Why?”
“Because I am not a Principality citizen.”
“Ok, but, still, have you decided what you will vote in the referendum?”
“No, because I am not a citizen of the Principality.”
“…”
“I am not eligible to vote in the referendum. I cannot vote”
“Ah, ok, thank you very much. Goodbye.”

A few minutes ago I participated in a phone survey on garden furniture. Someone who knows about these things told us I have had my phone number distributed among the local companies for occupying a very particular niche…

Incidentally, a Compatrido newcomer whose surname means ‘Poofster’ in the local lingo (he does not know yet — I cannot bear to tell him) commented that people stare here. They do. We used to comment on this a lot, too, but we have stopped noticing being stared at. Maybe we stare, too.

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4 thoughts on “Hung up

  1. Hey,

    First we must arrange coffee this coming week, as after that I will be super busy and then i’m off to Singapore in early May.

    But incidentally, the way I got off the telemarketers list in Chicago was the following:

    I had my best friends flying in from the East Coast for a weekend visit in Chicago. We only had 48 hours together, and we hadn’t seen each other in many many months. So the Saturday morning brunch was about us hanging out, talking, laughing. The only problem with this plan was that the phone kept ringing. And I kept answering. And they were ALL from market research companies. Testing their various products. Having spent a total of 90 mins replying to various questions, the phone rang AGAIN. At which point, one of the visiting friends grabbed it out of my hand and picked it up:

    “You want to speak to Miss Cordia? Unfortunately, we had just been informed that Miss Cordia was flattened by a truck and died. Please do not call this number again.”

    And that was it. I was erased.

    And no more telemarketers ever called me again.

    Cordia

  2. @Dolan: Ehm, I don’t positively know about it, but I wouldn’t think there is a local do-not-call list: they are not exactly champions of individuals’ rights here, are they? (unless they can be exploited ad majorem nationis gloriam.)

    @Cordia: being called up for market research can be a major source of entertainment, as witnessed by the dialogue cited in the post. So, why play dead? Moreover, it was really hilarious trying not to burst out laughing yesterday; when Jod realised I was talking to a market researcher, she sat opposite to me, assumed a matter-of-fact expression and quietly pretended it was her that was answering the survey questions:

    My favourite sexual practice? … Yes… No… I do think oral sex is interesting… I think the answer would be ‘most of the times’

    and so on.

  3. Pingback: The time of the pollsters « “… neither reveals nor conceals”

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