Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Pointless exercise

The phone rang the other day which was an event in itself because the land line is largely redundant and ignored in favour of the mobile, text and email versions of contacting people.

"Hello?" I said in a friendly and welcoming manner.

"Hello I'm an irritating person ringing on behalf of something-I-don't-remember (but it was a government department) to ask you if you wouldn't mind spending a few minutes answering a pointless and tedious survey," is approximately what the voice said the other end said.

"Um, er, how many minutes?" said I.

"Ten," said the voice using the sort of maths I apply when eating 'a few' biscuits.

"Okay," I replied, instantly regretting it but being too polite to say what I wanted to which was no, go away, bog off and never phone me again.

"I just need to ask a few questions first to check we're covering a sample of the population," said the voice happily and proceeded to ask a list of very personal questions about age, gender and how many adults and children live at this address.

I answered reluctantly. How many more minutes of this? I wished I'd timed it.

"Now to make sure we're covering a random selection of the population I need to ask the survey questions to the other adult who lives in your household," the voice continued.

"I beg your pardon?" YOU WHAT???!!!

"I need to talk to the other adult, your husband," the voice said as if talking to a simpleton.

I summoned the fury of a woman scorned.

"He's not available," I said. "He's at work."

"Can I ring back at a more convenient time?" the voice carried on hatefully.

"No," I replied. How dare you reject me after all these minutes. It's me or nothing. "He won't talk to you and he doesn't like telephone surveys anyway so there's no point you ringing back."

"Oh," said the voice, crestfallen.

"Goodbye." SLAM. Mutter. No wonder this country is going to the dogs. How much did that all cost? How much are they paying that idiot to do that?

RING RING (actually it's more of an electronic tinkly tinkly tink...) but anyway...

"HELLO." This can't be good. The phone only rings with idiots and pointless surveys. I'm not going to even think about being friendly this time.

"Hello, this is Kylie Minogue calling on behalf of Practical Classics. Can I speak to Mr Preseli Mags please?"


"No worries." (She really was Australian.) "I'll call back another time."


I drew myself up to my full height.

"Just wait one moment. My husband isn't interested in whatever it is you are selling. He does NOT have a classic car. He does NOT want a subscription to your magazine so please take his details OFF your database and DON'T CALL AGAIN!" SLAM.

I'm thinking of having the phone disconnected. Really I am.


  1. You wait until someone phones up trying to sell you insurance for your Sky box/dish etc and then asks how old your tv is (15 years, I said brightly!!!) - in the strongest foreign accent I have encountered for many a long day . . . I palmed her off with OH the other day, who said we didn't live in South Glamorgan as they were suggesting . . . Then today I got her back, just when I was washing up, so urgent drying of hands and rushing to telephone . . .

  2. Arrggghhhhhh! Loathe people on survey calls frequently now say totally random things just to put them off!

  3. Oh I so hate these phone calls I now just put the phone down if they make any suggestion I should change utility provider, asked me to answer a few simple questions or drone on with a recorded message. it is all such a waste of time.
    As TW said Arrggghhhhh

  4. You've made me smile with your phone answering experiences. I usually just put the phone down quickly, after saying "take my name off your list."

    However, I also receive calls from work colleagues, early in the morning, letting me know that they won't be in to work, and why. I can't put the phone down on those calls, but sometimes wish I could.


  5. Sorry that you are the one for whom the bell rings, Mags.

    But really, it's the person on the other end who is the ding-a-ling!

  6. I am afraid they don't get very far with me, I get so sick of all of these callers with surveys, so know just how you feel. However if 'Kylie Minougue' rang, the happy farmer would bend his rules ever so slightly and would be eagerly panting on the other end of the line lol

  7. Yes I get this all the time - in fact everyone now seems to be getting in on the act. Does anyone take action on these surveys? 80 percent of our customers rated our service excellent! Or is it just that 80 per sent of customers just wanted to get the interviewer off the phone. No-one checks the relibability of these surveys (that is whether they produce the same result on each occasion) or their validity (whether they measure what they are supposed to be measuring) It is all a gigantic waste of time and when everybody does it it can drive you to madness.


I am sorry to have to add word verification thing again but I keep getting spammed.