I love it when I hear those words. It means that the person on the other end of the line is going to be some hapless telesales person.
I always used to struggle with these calls because I feel as though I'm being rude if I hang up. After all these people are just trying to do a job, but on the other hand they are so persistant that you end up having no choice but to be rude and end up feeling angry and guilty.
So instead of getting angry or being rude I have decided to take the piss. It entertains me, and hopefully brightens their day a little and it costs them money. If only we could all keep them on the phone for no return maybe they would stop bugging us?
Today a nice indian lady called Amy called because she was concerned that I had been mis-sold payment protection insurance.
Amy wanted to know if I had taken out a loan in the last ten years. Oh yes I replied.
"What was it for? A holiday a car?
"No I replied, "I needed the money to raise a private army to over throw the government in Equatorial Guinea . "
She started to sound a little bit incredulous at this point. "How much was the loan?"
Four million pounds I replied.
"4 Million pounds?"
"Yes private armies don't come cheap"
Amy obviously wasn't stupid, but she wasn't going to be diverted from her script either. "When did you take out this loan sir?" I told her I'd taken it out in 2003 and paid it off in 2007. "And you think you were mis-sold payment protection?"
"Yes" I replied, "Do you think I'm entitled to compensation?"
I think sir that you are having a joke with me."
"Oh no" I told her. "I'm very serious, a lot of my friends went to prison over this, the government weren't very happy about our attempted coup" .
I like to think that this reassured her, or perhaps she wanted to get back on safer ground, so she started to ask for details of this transaction. "Who did you take the loan out with?" I feigned reluctance to answer,
"Perhaps I shouldn't say this because it might get him in trouble, but it was Mark Thatcher"
" Mark Thatcher, the former prime minister's son. He was worried that we were going to get caught and he insisted that I take out payment protection insurance, I think he may have mis-sold it to me"
At this point Amy's supervisor cut into the call and started to quiz me. As I recounted my details again I could hear lots of laughter in the background. I suspect that they had put me on speakerphone.
"Sir, how can you pay off four million pounds in 4 years" "Its easy" I replied,
"I bought a load of cheap chinese AK47s and sold them off to a number of armed groups around the world.".
The idea that someone could borrow that amount of money and pay it back was what seemed to amuse him the most. I explained that it was opportunity cost, I needed the cash to raise the army but didn't have it to hand so I borrowed it knowing that I could pay it back.
"So who loaned you the money?".
"Mark Thatcher" I replied.
"Marks and Spencer?"
"No Mark Thatcher, the former prime minister's son".
"And he just lent you the money?"
"Yes he's very rich"
"Is he a good friend of yours?"
"Oh yes", we traveled through India together, drove across the Sahara, very good friends".
"But it wasn't a bank that loaned you the money?"
"No, but we call him the bank of Mark. He always lends us money. Look I'm worried that he mis-sold me PPI do you think I'm entitled to compensation?"
At this point I was told that I needed to talk to the company director. He explained that they had never had anyone that had borrowed that amount of money and that I would get lots of compensation. but I should ask Mark Thatcher to apply for me and with that the call ended.
What I loved about this call was that I had three people wasting their time on the phone to me and who knows how many listening in on the call. While that was going on they weren't on the phone to someone else. That made my day