A Phoney War

10th February 2016

I’ve just put the phone down on one of those annoying calls that you get from time to time. I’ve done all the things I ought to do. I’ve registered at the Telephone Preference Service which is supposed to stop this kind of thing and I normally check the number before I answer it. This time, I just picked the phone up.

Click. Delay.

At this point I should have put the phone down but, for once, my curiosity got the better of me.

‘Hello Mister Walsh. I’m ringing on behalf of XXXX to talk to you about a car accident that you’ve had in the last few years.’

Really, I thought? Is that your pitch? Is that all you’ve got.

‘Oh,’ I said mischievously, ‘you must mean the one from eighteenth months ago.’ I’ve not had an accident in the car for a long, long time. Not since I was nearly pushed off a road in France by a young farmer who pulled out in front of me without even checking if I was there.

‘Yes, Mr Walsh. Can I confirm a few details?’

‘Of course. Let me help you. My mother’s maiden name was Jones (it isn’t). My first pet was called Goldie (it wasn’t). First school attended was St Michael’s (never heard of it). Would you like my bank account details too?’

Silence on the other end of the phone. I held the phone to my ear. This was a war of attrition. A war I was not going to lose. I held my nerve and waited. Four maybe five seconds went by and then…

‘Hello Mister Walsh. I’m ringing on behalf of XXXX to talk to you about a…’

‘Boom,’ I shouted. ‘I win,’ and clicked the phone off. I high fived myself.

You see, when it comes to dealing with your customers, sometimes you need a plan B. The phone call was obviously a con of some type to get some personal details from me. Plan A didn’t work. I’m not sure Plan Z would have worked but at least he could have tried a different approach. Always be flexible, always have a Plan B and never, ever answer your phone in the afternoon.

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