In the past month or two, my mobile phone has been ringing almost out of my shirt pocket.
This frustrates me because I rarely give my phone number to anyone bar those who need to know it.
Quite often these calls are from ‘Microsoft Windows’ who tell me there is something wrong with my computer and they need access to it so it can be fixed – yeah, right.
Sometimes it’s from charities, always ones worth supporting but we have a list of those we support and as pensioners, it’s difficult to support others.
Last week it was a lady with a foreign accent who said we’d been in a car accident – well, ‘she who must be obeyed’ did have a little prang just before Christmas and so I thought it might have been a genuine call. Then the foreign lady said there was some compensation due and if I paid a small amount ……..
Wrong, mother was at fault, no compensation there I’m afraid.
Then there are the calls with no-one on the other end. I can say hello a hundred times and still there is no answer. Actually, I found out this is part of another scam where the person rings several numbers at the same time and talks to the first one to answer. He’ll get back to the rest later.
Who doesn’t have my number?
Does everyone have my phone number? Sometimes I can’t even remember it myself and need to hang up and look for it on the very same phone.
I recently started getting phone calls which begin, “I understand you are interested in furthering your education.” Well, I try to learn something every day but this is not what they mean. “From your recent application on the website,” they say, as if they know exactly what they are talking about, “you have indicated you are interested in our university.”
Then they pause to catch their breath I guess, “What are you interested in pursuing?” The first dozen or so calls I explained to them a mistake had been made, I was not on their website and I am not interested in anything they are providing.
From a practical standpoint, you would think this brief explanation would be the end of it but oh no. These people have a script and they stick to it. “So what is the interest of your further education?” I am a reasonable person, at least I think I am but I can only take so much before the ‘real’ me oozes out.
Suddenly I had an idea, a brilliant idea. “Yes, I have an interest in furthering my education.”
“Wonderful,” they said reading from their script, “what areas of study are you interested in?”
Now they’ve taken the bait, all I have to do is reel them in. “I would like to pursue a course,” I said as seriously as I possibly could manage, “in Apple-fritterology.”
Of course, I had never heard of such a thing, but who knows what’s out there?
There was a slight pause on the other end of the phone and finally the person said, “What did you say?” “I would like to pursue a course in Apple-fritterology.” “Would you mind,” the other end of the phone muttered, “spelling that for me?”
“I’m not sure we have a class which fits your subject. I’ve never heard of it before.”
At this point, I knew I had him. “It’s what I am interested in and is what I want to sign up for. How can I go about obtaining the correct documentation? I’d like to start immediately”
“Sir,” and I could tell at this point they were off script, “would you explain to me what this is? I’ve never heard of it before.”
“It is the study of apple fritters and their impact in modern-day psychosomatic society.”
Following a short silence there was a ‘click’ on my phone. He’d hung up and hasn’t called me back since.
Now I have the script
There have been other so-called ‘education’ calls where I’ve supposedly visited their website but it’s I who now has the script and I know it by heart. Yes, the calls still come but not so often now.
I was reminded what the old preacher said, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes chapter 9 verse 10).
One of the joys of life when somebody is frustrating you is to return the favour.
(Please note, the idea for this editorial came from Rev James Snyder, Cybersalt Communications - John)
John Skinner (right) at a recent Battalion reunion with great mate and fellow veteran Tony
John Skinner is originally from Dorrigo, NSW. He served in Vietnam then the Tasmanian Police before taking up the position of CEO of the Australian Rough Riders Association (professional rodeo based in Warwick Qld). He played rugby, rugby league and cricket at representative level, is a rodeo judge and cricket umpire. Before retirement to his small farm, he was a photo-journalist for many years. He is married with 3 children and 6 grandchildren.
John Skinner's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/john-skinner.html
John Skinner is a retired journalist who has written ten biographies on famous campdrafting competitors. He was an Australian infantry soldier wounded in Vietnam, served six years as a Police Officer, was CEO of the then Australian Rough Riders Assn (Pro-Rodeo based in Warwick, Qld). He and his wife Marion retired to a small farm 25km south of Warwick 20 years ago. They have three children and now seven grandchildren.