Saturday, 12 December 2015

No, I'm not here and I'm not me

A post by my mate Lulu over at A Family Affair made me wonder if I"m the only one who does what I do. Lulu is talking about pretending you're not at home when someone calls at the house; hiding behind the curtains and that sort of thing. I am actually surprised these people don't ring before they make the effort to visit. I can't remember the last time I had a drop-in visitor.

Anyway, my comment on her post was a little off at a tangent as it referred to cold calls or telemarketing calls. Not only do I have caller ID, where I can see the number and sometimes the name of who's calling, because my TV and telephone company are one and the same, the caller's information also comes up on my TV screen. In our house, when the phone rings, we all rush to look at the TV screen which must confuse the heck out of guests.

Quick story - the first time the phone-number-on-the-screen thing happened, I was a) unaware of this new service and b) watching Wimbledon tennis. My neighbor rang and his number popped up on the screen. Utter confusion. How could he possibly be in Wimbledon when I saw him in the corner shop less than three hours ago?

Where was I? Oh yes, so when a tele-marketer calls with a dodgy phone number, I usually just don't answer. Every so often though, they will cleverly use a local number and I pick up, thinking that it could be well, anyone local. Then I hear that tell-tale 5-10 second pause which tells me I'm about to be asked for money or sold something. "May I speak to Antonia" is the opening salvo, immediately identifying the caller as one of the old nuns from school come back to haunt me, or someone who has no idea who I really am otherwise they would never use my "real" name. So I simply say "No, not at the moment, may I take a message", and of course there is never a message.

Sometimes I get caught out though, like the other day when the Physical Therapist's receptionist called. I was in my bedroom, where the phone is neither use nor ornament and doesn't have caller ID, so I picked up. (Whenever I ignore a call it's always the school nurse.) Young lady's voice asked for Antonia, so as usual, I said No I wasn't there, took the number and then thought "Now what?" I could hardly call straight back with the same voice and accent, as if I hadn't just told a huge porkie pie (lie) only three seconds before. So I waited half an hour (which is very dangerous given my memory) and called back using a deeper tone of voice. I would have changed my accent too but given that I have to go there for the next 6 weeks, I was concerned about being busted. (Like the girl would ever remember that I had changed my voice!)

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this.


  1. Nope, you are not alone...I do the same things!

  2. I rarely answer the phone, and our answer phone's message says something like "If you do actually know us, please leave a message, but if you are a cold caller please go away, remove our details from your database and do not call again".

    I would have just admitted it was me to the physio's receptionist though, and cheerfully said I was call screening and thought she might be a cold caller. I can't see anything wrong with that!

  3. I do those things, too, up to an including hiding the fact that I'm home from someone at the door. We've taken the drastic step of getting a call blocker. I think (despite the Do Not Call list) we must be on just about every marketing list worldwide.

  4. Slightly off-topic, but...

    I once received a call from someone with a heavy accent asking if I was a friend of James. (They did identify themselves and their company but it was the usual "Hello, this is cmshfeohkdfj calling from dlfaonoeifn...") Suspecting something dodgy, I hung up. Turns out it was the hospital calling about my father-in-law.

    As for cold callers, I tell them I work from home and since they are calling me at my office and using my time I expect to be paid for it. Then I ask where to send the invoice. That's when they hang up.

  5. This made me laugh, especially the numbers popping up on your TV screen.
    You're not alone, Antonia. I know if I'm called Patricia it's a cold-caller. Heaven forbid if it was one of our old nuns: imagine the ghost of Sister Wright checking up on you.

  6. I do it too.
    I've also been known to put on accents to pretend I'm not me.

    Also, a really good way to get sales people to go away - tell them you're leaving the country. I found that out when we really were moving. They have no comeback, other than to wish you luck!

  7. Ha! I just say 'no, thank you' and hang up the phone. I'm terrible at lying - I wish I was better at it. But at least it means I never have to put on another voice. :-)


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