I had that American lady on the phone again this morning, the one who tells me I've won a holiday in Cancun. "Just imagine strolling along those beautiful white sands," she says, before inviting me to "press 1 now for more details". Of course I don't press 1 - I know that would connect me to a recording in Azerbaijan or somewhere equally remote and it would take about twenty minutes (at £93 a minute) to learn that although the accommodation is free (provided I sign up for a £35,000 time share), I will be expected to pay through the nose for (a)the flight, (b)meals, and (c)travel insurance.
I just wish that American lady would call me in person rather than play a recording at me. She sounds a pleasant young lady and I would like to tell her that she sounds very nice and to ask her if she will be my friend, because I don't have any friends. I have tried this before with telephone salespeople (of both sexes) and the results have been most satisfying.
Actually, we get very few cold sales calls now: the telephone preference scheme seems to work pretty well, but it can't deal with sales calls from overseas. In a way I'm sorry we signed up to TPS as it has robbed me of the chance of a little fun. This was another good one:
"Hello there. I'm Berk from XYZ Home Improvements and I would like to offer you the opportunity to have us install a brand spanking new genuine Victorian conservatory."
"Wow, that sounds great! Genuine Victorian, you say?"
"Certainly, sir. And just imagine how envious your neighbours will be when they see you sitting in your genuine Victorian conservatory with underfloor heating, sipping a cool beer while it's snowing outside."
"I can't wait. When could you install it?"
"We could be there next week, sir. All we will need is a 95% deposit on arrival (payable in cash), with the remaining 55% payable over three years starting a week on Tuesday."
"That sounds OK. Are you sure there will be no problems?"
"Absolutely. Our fitters are trained to the very highest standards and will construct your conservatory to such a high standard that people will flock from miles around to see it."
"They certainly will. I live in a third floor flat."