Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Cold Call Out

How many times has your phone gone JUST when you've gone into the loo and are on the point of relaxing causing you to dash out again thinking a child has come a cropper somewhere and needs your urgent assistance. Or when you're in the middle of something fiddly in the kitchen, like pancakes and need TOTAL concentration if they aren't to burn in the nanosecond between perfectly done and a gonner only fit for the bin. Or when you've just started dinner and your hands which had been perfectly clean seconds ago are now not since you took the steak out of the packet and started rubbing it with oil and garlic. Or when you're having a serious conversation with your son and he's about to confide some important snippet of information... And when you get to the phone, struggling over XBox manettes, mini trampoline, sundry weapons, shoes, dirty socks and other boy-centred detritus, it's a SODDING COLD CALL! Someone trying to sell you a new kitchen or a tax-dodge property or any other myriad ways of paying less tax (if you pay over €3000 tax - I don't), or new windows, or a kitchen, or a punch on the friggin' nose!

I have a nifty way of dealing with them. They usually ask for Mme [insert married name] because their list is so out of date that it harks back to the days when my ex-husband and I owned our house (or were buying it off the bank...) and were considered fair game for a new kitchen. The house was actually brand new with brand new kitchen, bathroom, tiles, bricks, mortar, electricity cables the lot, but the only cold calls we got then were about buying yet another brand new kitchen or bathroom. "I've got a new one" I'd say thinking that would put them off, "the house is only 2 months old!". It did, marginally, grudgingly. I could hardly use two...

Now when they ask for me by my married name I deny all knowledge of such a person. "No, no one by that name here," I say. If they are naive rookies, they fall for it, if they are more hard-bitten die-hards they just adjust their spiel to the new circumstances. In that case, declaring that I rent usually terminates the conversation nicely. They're not interested in non-house-owning obviously impoverished plebs like me. But it's still annoying getting these calls at all.

However, help is at hand. Craig McGinty at This French Life wrote about a new service that's starting in December. Pacitel is the answer to all those unsolicited calls from companies one gives not a toss about, where one is not a client and if they all spontaneously combusted tomorrow, one would not shed le moindre tear. You can register your numero fixe and mobile from companies where you are not already on their client list (if you are, I think you're stuffed as they'll never remove you. You'll just have to move, change your number and get a new identity). The member companies undertake to consult this Pacitel list and remove those numbers from their own list of names and numbers before embarking on a cold call campaign. The website says that members of the Pacitel Association represent 80% of cold call marketeers, so that should reduce the nuisance calls considerably. Signing up is also free which is fab news too! Peace at no cost. It doesn't get better than that!

The service starts on December 1, 2011 so hurry, hurry, sign up for peace!