Saturday, August 1, 2009

Three Short Words (How Meta Is That?)

On June 27, 2003, according to the absolutely accurate reporting of Wikipedia, the Do Not Call registry opened up for registration in the USA. That was the day I signed up my home number.

A couple of days ago, my phone rang. I answered, and a woman with a heavy accent identified herself as "Nikki." I have my doubts that this is her real name, but I would be willing to bet that there's an impression in sleazy telemarketing circles that we bumpkins here in rural-ish Midwest State would be less likely to talk to Madhu or Lakshmi than we would be to talk to Rachel, Jennifer, or, in this case, Nikki. You know, I think I'm going to make myself a t-shirt with an arrow pointing to my head with a caption that says, "Bumpkin."

She told me that she was calling, OK, to represent Home State Insurance (name changed to obfuscate the issue slightly). OK, did I realize that if I had an accident, OK, that some insurers would cancel my insurance, OK, but that Home State Insurance had a policy to forgive some accidents, OK, and that I could save up to 396%, OK, on my premiums, OK?

"Home State Insurance, you say?" I scrambled to grab a pen and a piece of paper.

"Yes. OK, can I connect you to one of our consultants?"

"And what was your name again?" Apparently, she was either new or too ethical to be good at this job.

"Nikki. N-I-K-K-I."

"Thank you Nikki. You see, I'm on the National Do Not Call list, and what you're doing is a cold call." There was silence, and I could hear shuffling of papers for a moment. Then there was silence. Weirdly, I didn't even hear the clich├ęd CLICK. *69.

"[BZZT] The call-back number is unavailable at this time. [BZZT]"

Hmmm.... I wonder if the GOOG will help me out here. I searched for Home State Insurance, and lo and behold, there was a local insurance agency with that name not five miles from my home. And their web site listed the phone number.

Boop-be-beep boop-beep-beep-boop. RINGGGG. RINGGGG. RINGGG.

Al: This is Al.

GDad: Al, hi. Is this Home State Insurance?

Al: Yes!

GDad: Al, do you hire people to cold call people to drum up new business?

Al: Uh... yes.

GDad: Al, I'm on the Do Not Call list, and I just got a call from someone representing your firm, and...

Al: Oh! Which one was it?

GDad: Nikki.

Al: This will never happen again. I've TOLD them that they're supposed to check that list. I'll take care of it.

GDad: OK. Bye.

Hmmm... Where were the magic words? "I'm sorry" goes a long way.

Well, I have a name, a phone number, acknowledgement of the issue, a time, a date, and an internet connection live in front of me. Do Not Call's web site makes it very easy to file a complaint. Besides that, Al sells insurance from a provider that directly competes with the company that several of my friends work for, so I feel all corporately espionagey. Interestingly, "espionagey" does not get red squiggles in my spellchecker. Nor does "corporately."


Guinea Pig said...

It's been a while since I professed my love for you and your blog. Consider it professed please. I feel all espionagey too. My spell checker however does put red squiggles under it. Sorry Nikki but errrrnt, wrong move.

GDad said...


Thanks for stopping by again. To be fair, it's been a while since I've written anything good.

I hope life is looking up again. Sending positive thoughts your way.

GirlyWarrior said...

Espionagey, nice word. It's kind of like my use of aziginism.