I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Five ways to answer that call

On the way to office in my pool car, a friend got a call from ABN-Amro trying to sell him a credit card. He politely said no and kept the phone down. Everything as usual.

However, we were bored. We were stuck on JJ flyover. Hence, we decided to call the caller back and give some other numbers that they should call.

Between multiple pauses (silences) and verbal pauses (um, ahhh, ohhh, ummm), they managed to get over the shock and take down the number.

"Oh, sir, are you really sure?" was the comment that was oft-repeated. That resulted in this:

5 Ways to answer the call

Assume that the initial conversation went like this:
"Hello, is this Mr. Dhoomketu?"
"Yes, it is."
"I am calling from ABN Amro Bank...."

Now, you have the following options to answer that call:
1) General Knowledge test: "What is that bank? What's the headqquarter? What are their total assets? What's their rank in the league table? Who's the CEO? Who was the guy who almost brought down Barings? Do you know him personally? Was your bank involved?"

2) Personal inquiry: "I am interested in your offer. Can you tell me your name? What are the working hours like? I have heard that sometimes these are not the right kind of jobs? Do you work there because you haven't been lucky enough to clear a few entrance exams?"

3) Counter-proposal: "Kitna banate ho beta/ beti? (How much do you make, son/ daughter?) What does your father do? How old are you? Do you smoke? Do you drink? Bura nahi maananaa , itanaa to poochhanaa hi padataa hai ke ladke kaa khaandaan kyaa hai uske lachhchhan kaise hai, kamaataa kitnaa hai (Don't feel bad, son, but have to ask about the guy's family, his traits, how much does he earn.)?"

4) Crib: "You know what happened last time I had a credit card. Have you read the 20 sneaky credit card tricks? How many of you does your company allow? Plus, what about your discriminatory practices?"

What is the fifth way? In fact, what are the other ways? You tell me.

Update: Arnold (via mail) gives a suggestion:
60 - "Listen dear, you've asked me so many questions and I've answered them. Now can I please ask you just one question?"
25 - "Uhh.. (Holy shit!, this certainly ain't in the script! How is my 2-bit brain supposed to come up with a reply by itself?) Yeah, sure"

60 - "What's your cup size, dear?"
Falstaff (who has to go one many better, thinks of 10 different ways and actually takes my case in only a few of them:
1) The come-on: "What's your name? Oooh, that's such a strong, masculine name. So, tell me, what colour underwear are you wearing?"
5) The manic-depressive approach: "What's the point of a credit card? What's the point of anything? My life is meaningless. I'm going to throw myself out of my 22nd floor window now. Goodbye."
The Pankaj Mishra approach: "How can you offer me a credit card at a time like this? Don't you know that the average Indian still earns barely a dollar a day and that we haven't moved at all on the Human Development Index? Don't you realise that communal tensions are on the rise and any day now the communists are going to be voted to power? The faster you credit card companies stop believing your own myths, and offering these western temptations to consumers, the better it'll be."

Telemarketers, I am waiting for that call now.


Blogger Ashish Gupta said...

#3 is funny and least offensive way. Others are derogatory and insulting. Remember that other guy is doing his/her job is probably meeting lots of jackasses every day. Lets make his life easier a little (except when you are really pissed off, then you can bark!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 2:46:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Aashish, Even though I don't think that telemarketers have any right to invade my privacy and my personal time whenever they want, I don't want to take it up against a few people doing their jobs. Hence, this is meant tongue-in-cheek (though Chetan Bhagat was serious about his comments). Other less-sensitive souls can take inspiration though. No copyrights on these.

However, I will try No. 3 since you like it. Actually, I will try No. 1 as well. Ignorance can't be excusable. Come to think of it, even no. 4.... [evil glint comes back to his eye]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 11:20:00 PM

Anonymous Elizabeth Bennett said...

"I'm unemployed" works for me. It's fun when some callers refuse to believe it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 2:15:00 AM

Blogger Jagadish said...

I tell them I'd be happy to take their credit card on the condition that the bank would foot the bill for my purchases.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 6:07:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Lizzie(!), they unfortunately sometimes are better informed. I will tell them next time that I just got fired.

Jagadish, That's been done before. Shameless buggers will say yes to anything to make you accept and then kill you through fine print.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 8:45:00 AM

Blogger Swapna said...

In the US at least, I'm not interested works just fine. It's annoying.

The fact is I worked in my university's fund raising division for 3 months when I was a grad student and I've dealt with a lot of people being rude and obnoxious and I don't want to be that way but if I don't have the time to deal with this, I just say I'm not interested.

Another thing to say - could you call me back later - I'm busy with something else at the moment.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:50:00 PM

Blogger Falstaff said...

Here you go:


Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:15:00 PM

Blogger The Soliloquist said...

a simple "not interested" followed by ending the call would do.
All this slander sounds very immature and childish.I dont think this subject is worth a post. Forget about the cross-posts it inspired.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 8:25:00 PM

Anonymous disha said...

eh, blog hopped and ended here, I have actually heard of someone who started talking in Hindi to a telemarketer when he realised the call was coming from India..the poor telemarketer had to drop her groos accent..and btw when in the US "im not interested doesnt work so well with our own persistent marketers, medam..suniye to..

Thursday, July 13, 2006 9:05:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Swapna, appreciate the tips, but this is old hat, you see. We need new ideas, we need some humour, we need topical references, we need stupid English writers

Falstaff, thanks. I knew I could count you. Incidentally, do you remember the Hutch Helpline calls waking the train up in Raipur?

Soliloquist, we are like this only. Childish, immature, incestuous. Unfortunately, we seem to attract some readers!! :-)

Thursday, July 13, 2006 9:07:00 PM

Blogger The Soliloquist said...

Oh, and great!

Friday, July 14, 2006 6:33:00 AM


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