Somehow, my phone number seems to have been sent to a number of companies, despite me being a part of the telephone preference system. Which means that I now get a regular bundle of annoying and irrelevant phone calls, usually cunningly timed to interrupt bed times.
British Gas, despite being asked not to, continue to phone to beg me to return to them. I remind them that we cancelled our contract shortly after they left me without gas (so no cooker, no central heating) for six weeks one cold winter, despite knowing I had a very sick baby and two profoundly disabled older children at home. If they had no engineers available to repair our leak then, I remain unconvinced they'd manage any better now. Every time they ring, I go over this with them, they promise to remove my phone number from their records; every couple of weeks they phone back and we go over the whole thing again. Perhaps I should charge them for my time?
Then there's the company which has no-one at all a the other end, just silence and a hang up, and an 0845 number. Generally once an hour for a few days until someone is there and gets to hear all about my irateness. I'm not sure what they're selling yet; when I point out they've just irritated me to the point where I will be actively advising against them they suddenly decide to stop calling. For a while.
There's the large selection of people who insist I must have taken out a loan with payment protection insurance, and must be due for £3,000 compensation. Clearly they know better than I do; I'd quite like to know who did take this loan out in my name, and what they spent it on?
The callers who insist they have a grant from the government just for me, and that I must let them install loft insulation. Strange that the government is so adamant, considering that I live in a ground floor flat. Just as I beat them down, another lot pop up, begging to be allowed to fit double glazing, for a minimal fee, all I have to do is agree to let other people into my house regularly to look at it. Clearly, they've never visited. Or they'd realise that a) this is not the show home they would appreciate. And b) I already have double glazing.
Then there's the woman who rings every four months or so, really delighted to inform me that I have been specially selected to go on a free holiday; better than that, if I just go to the meeting she'll set up, I will be wined and dined and even receive a pearl necklace, just as a thank you for attending and listening to the information she has about the free holiday. My husband will receive a new wristwatch too. She's very nice, very persuasive. But when I point out that I have no husband, she tells me it is only suitable for couples, and rings off. It's probably for the best; I'm not sure what I'd do with the pearl necklace really.
For any potential callers out there; I am signed up to the telephone preference system. I don't want compensation for a non-existent injury, I'm sadly not in a position to spend £750 on a Carrbean Cruise, even if it is a price I'll never find anywhere else. I don't want a new credit card and certainly won't be signing up for one over the phone. I'm tied into my electricity and gas suppliers* for the next two years, I don't need more insurance and I'm not especially interested in any kind of lottery prize, not when I haven't actually entered any lottery. Now, if you can somehow break Virgin's monopoly and give me a good deal on broadband, tv and telephone, at the same price but preferably with a significantly more reliable level of internet access, please feel free to call. And if you can work out how to get the wireless wotsit working with the Mac, drop in! But apart from that, please just put the telephone down and back away slowly, for cranky woman walks the building.
I'm still shaking my head over Tuesday's caller though; I can only assume he was blindly following a script someone somewhere had devised to increase sales.
Voice at the end of the phone: Hello, this is Gowrings Mobility; I am trying to contact a Miss Goldie.
Me: Goldie died three years ago.
VATEOTP: Oh, I am sorry to hear that. So, would you be interested in a wheelchair accessible vehicle?
*OK, OK, I know you supply it and they are simply contracted to bill for it. Or whatever it is you are telling me. But I don't care. I have no interest in switching. Especially not at bedtime.