The annoyance of sales calls…

After eleven weeks of singleton lockdown I don’t feel it is inaccurate to say that the one thing that has kept me sane has been the telephone. For all the kind friends and relatives who have stayed in touch by either my landline or mobile I will be eternally grateful. There is nothing more capable of lifting a sagging spirit than the sound of a human voice.

Of course, it does depend on what it has to say…

Last Tuesday I was in my kitchen thinking about nothing in particular when the telephone rang. It was my landline which I prefer these days as my hearing is not great and the sound is better than on my mobile. I picked up the receiver and said, ‘Hello’.

‘Is this Mrs Felicity Graham?’ A gentleman’s voice I didn’t recognise asked.

‘Yes.’ I said guardedly, pretty sure this was a ‘cold’ call about something. His voice had that timbre and tone, a little too high pitched with a touch of ‘creepy’. He then asked me a question.

‘I would like to know, Felicity, if you have made any plans for your funeral?’

I froze as I usually do in the face of the unexpected with all sorts of things popping into my mind like – does this man know something I don’t know? Is he from some obscure clinical department catching up on un-sent diagnostic news, or have I missed an important email from my doctor?

I am ashamed to say I answered, ‘Er. No.’

‘Ah!’ He said and went into a sales pitch.

I let him carry on before my slow wits gathered and then, with absolute certainty I had found the ideal way of coping with cold calls without being rude and slamming the receiver down said, ‘I am awfully sorry but I must stop you to tell you I am deaf and cannot hear a single thing you are saying.’ His ‘spiel’ ceased for a second or two then he simply resumed it – not louder or more slowly, if anything, a little quicker. Hah! I thought, he has not been trained to talk to the deaf. Only the prospective dead!

‘Would you mind repeating that?’ I said when he drew breath. ‘I am afraid I can’t make out what you are talking about.’

He began to reel off his patter again and I let him go on for quite a while as I poured myself a glass of wine. I stopped him eventually to say once more that I was hard of hearing and could he possibly write to me about whatever he was trying to sell me?

There was a long confused pause after which he asked for my email address. Could he send me an email? Thinking of the many totally uninvited emails I have received over the past few months regarding funerals and arranging them for myself, I was beginning to find this amusing.

[email protected]’ I replied. He failed to notice that I had heard his request quite clearly.

‘I beg your pardon?’ He said, ‘I didn’t quite get that.’ Oh heck, was he now playing me at my own game? I repeated my address.

‘felicitygraham723?’ he replied, querying again.

‘No, 372’ I replied.

‘I’m sorry, 237?’ He said. I was now beginning to think I had a fellow ‘deafy’ here and a dyslexic one to boot.

I suddenly lost the will to continue talking to this person who, without knowing me or my circumstances or if I had coronavirus or terminal cancer or was in a state of deep depression, had picked up the phone and called a complete stranger to ask if they had organised their own funeral?

How can someone, particularly in the present crisis, take it upon themselves to do this?

The email address in this post has been made up.

Photo by Negative Space is licensed under CC0

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