Susan has got your number . . . but how did you get hers?
“Hi, Ezibuy. I want the top on p6 of your catalogue .. the recent one you sent out last week. Not last year’s one. I want it in a size 10 in the blue. Not the top the blonde girl’s wearing, the other one. I think I want the 10 .. are they big-fitting? If not, I better take the 12 and my mum wants the same in a size 16 in the red. That’s the red, not the fuschsia. Do I just order here? Can someone ring me? My number is 09 (unintelligible). Ta!”
“Aw, ah, hullo? Hullo? Is someone there? Aw shit, I hate f***ing machines. Shit. You fullas send me a list of the people for Maungakiekie, eh? Ring me back.”
“Telecom Mobile Faults? Look, I’m really pissed off! I just got a cellphone and I can’t get it to text properly and I really need to text my boyfriend! Ring me back on this number – as soon as you can, alright?!”
Just a few of the voicemail messages to have greeted me upon arrival at work over the years, none of which – I’m sure you’ve guessed - have anything to do with our company. Welcome to the wonderful world of the misdialled freecall!
People dial wrong numbers all the time, no problem. But these geniuses took the cake, completely ignoring the clearly recorded messages – plural - from:
1. Telecom advising that “You have called XYZ on 0800 *** ***. If you have dialled the wrong number, please hang up now”, followed by
2. Yours truly stating: “Thank you for calling XYZ. Please leave your name and number and we’ll return your call as soon as possible.”
Then there were the Einsteins who rang during office hours, also ignoring the automated Telecom message that kicked in prior to my phone ringing.
Me: XYZ, good morning.
Einstein: Is this Telecom mobile faults/Kapiti Cheeses/the Electoral Roll/Ezibuy?
Me: No, it’s XYZ. I’m sorry, you have the wrong number.
Me: I said you’ve got the wrong number.
Einstein: Well, who are you? What number’s this?
Me: (Deep breath) We’re XYZ and the number is 0800 *** ***.
Einstein: That’s the number I want!
Me: (Biting tongue) No, it’s not. That’s my number. I’m afraid you’ve either been given or dialled the wrong one.
Einstein: Well, what’s the number for Telecom mobile faults/Kapiti Cheeses/the Electoral Roll/Ezibuy then?
Me: (Counting to 10 – and getting there rapidly) Oddly enough, I don’t know. Look, I’m hanging up now, because this is costing me money.
Einstein: No, it’s not, you liar! 0800 calls are free!!
True stories, people, and there’s lots more where they came from! I dispensed with politeness if the morons were silly enough to argue with me and had a lot of fun doing so. (Especially regarding the Electoral Roll, but that’s for another time … )
Because by far and away the worst culprits for constantly dialling the wrong number are Housing New Zealand tenants. They out-call the others collectively by ten to one, rendering the possible permutations on a national scale downright alarming. Further, they are also the most stupid, which, as the previous examples show, is saying something.
I dread the calls because not only do they invariably argue with me for not being Housing New Zealand, I have great difficulty in understanding their speech in the first place. And before you wonder why I don’t dispense with the niceties and put the phone down, forget it. They simply hit redial and pick up where they left off, but even more abusive.
Take the bloke who rang last Thursday. Evidently his toilet was blocked and he wanted someone to come and fix it. I felt like a bit of sport:
Me: Just call a plumber.
Buggered Toilet Bloke: But I’ll have to pay for it!
Me: Well, you blocked it.
BTB: But I don’t want to pay for it!
Me: Well, neither do I!
BTB: But Housing NZ should pay!
Me: Why should they pay for your problem? You blocked it – you pay to fix it!
BTB: But I don’t want to! I don’t have to! It’s not up to me!
At that point, I felt the overwhelming need to enlighten him. It was too good to let go, bearing in mind that he still insisted I was Housing NZ …
Me: “Well, that’s just the problem, matey-boy. Lazy arses like you who expect something for nothing at other people’s expense. Know what a parasite is? Someone who feeds off someone else! Where do you get off in expecting a free lunch? Why the hell should some poor sod go to work for sweet FA and pay market rent so you can get your bills paid and live in a cheap house? Pay your own bloody bills – and that includes getting your loo fixed! Got it!!”
I can’t speak for Buggered Toilet Bloke, but I certainly felt a lot better. Look, it’s not going off the deep end. On the contrary, it helps to regain some much-needed equilibrium when hearing about the likes of the disgraceful Salt family time and time again … and knowing who really pays for it all.
* * Susan Ryder enlightens you every Tuesday here at NOT PC. Twice, some weeks. * *