Not so long ago I told you about our relationship with Telstra here in Cairns and how we get calls for Cindy Savage. We still do, but what is less entertaining are the calls we get from telemarketers. I know. We all get them here in Australia. Bla di da, bla bla bla. The thing is, I’m not really good at handling it. My problem is that in real life I’m actually quite nice; it is only when I’m writing I can get the right words strung together (sometimes, maybe). They call and say ‘Hello Mam, how are you?” and even though I would really like to say ‘who the fuck are you calling Mam, I’m not a British police officer’ you can trust me to say ‘I’m fine, how are you?’ – to which they never fail to be surprised. Happily surprised. Over ecstatic happy – and then they put me on a list! I just know it! It’s the “having a real bad sales day? Call this lady! She doesn’t buy anything, but at least you can say you tried – and she is always nice“*
The fake Microsoft lady has called at least 5 times even though I have told her that “it was nice of you to call, but it says on the Microsoft website that they never call anybody and that I shouldn’t trust anyone who says they are from there.” She answered “but if you don’t trust me, I can’t help you” and I said “I know, we have a real problem” and so she called back a week later. The guy from the government who wants us to pay $50 to have someone come to our house to make it energy-efficient started laughing at his 5th call: “oh yeah, I remember you, you don’t need us. I’ll make sure to take you off the list” – I said “have a good day!” – I am expecting a call any day now. Then there is the company with the life insurance we don’t qualify for because we are temporary residents in Australia, just as the government calls with benefits for home owners – temporary residence – no own home – we rent – thank you for calling though, talk to you next week.
Every now and then Mr Husband pulls the phone out of my hand and hangs up. Just out of the blue. It never fails to shock me: “that is so rude!” – to which he replies with all the swearing I wish I could do in public.
But then I had enough! Finally I hit my exhaustion point! I pulled myself together, called Telstra and told them not to put us on those lists anymore. To my complete shock horror she replied: that will cost you something something I didn’t hear because I was so surprised!
‘What do you mean?’ I asked. ‘You have to pay to not be put on the list?’
Telstra lady: ‘yes Mam’
‘You want me to pay you to not do anything?’
AND HERE COMES MY BRILLIANT REPLY ‘Where I come from we call that extortion…’
‘I’m sorry Mam’
‘I guess you can’t help me then. Have a nice day’
*there is one exception to this story; last year I apparently was very rude to a Qantas lady, but I cannot remember it very well. I will tell you that story another time…