Some sales callers always get their timing wrong
I get flabbergasted when the sales callers assume that I am a high net worth individual loaded with cash and itching to invest.
I don't know about you, but I seem to get unsolicited sales calls at the most inappropriate times: while in the bath, while trying to park my car between two waywardly parked vehicles, while losing an argument with the wife or while trying to balance the monthly budget. Rarely do they call when you are feeling like a million dollars, when God is in his heaven and all is bright and beautiful.
Invariably, they choose the worst moment to sell you their blooming services or wares.
It was a blazing July afternoon and I had just returned from a stormy client meeting. The wife had called thrice - an ominous sign. The morning's toothache had progressed into a full-blown pain hub. The office printer had conked out again. My prized stock had plummeted 25 per cent.
As I settled down morosely on my desk wondering where to start, the phone rang.
"Good morning, sir," said a chirpy female voice, greeting me as if I had been nominated for the Nobel Prize. "I have good news for you."
I summoned all my patience to put her off courteously, but these sales gangs are obviously trained not to allow the potential client to get a word in edgeways.
"You have been awarded a 30 per cent discount on a Caribbean cruise, sir," she continued her narrative while I fumed at the silent printer. "We are a five-star cruise company. To avail of this offer, you are invited to attend a 20-minute presentation at Hotel Zhivago.."
"My dear lady, take a breath. First of all, I don't enjoy cruising. Secondly, my finances are in a mess. And finally, I have had a bad day."
"Sir, that is precisely why I recommend a cruise..."
I banged the phone down.
I remember another crazy day when a wayward motorist rammed into my car for no faulty of mine. I was on my way to an important meeting, and now this. After running out of expletives and exhausting my limited vocabulary of swear words (spoken under my breath), I surrendered to the fate, and waited for the traffic cops to arrive.
The phone rang with a shrill urgency.
"Good morning, sir," said a polished booming male voice. "I have the most attractive offer on a signature villa project in Dubai. All units face the golf club. And you get a Lamborghini free if you book now. You pay only 2 per cent. The rest after completion of the project."
All this was spoken without a pause, as I scanned the horizon for the police vehicle. My silence encouraged him to add some more superlatives and exclusive features like Jacuzzi, private swimming pool, free golf membership, etc.
"Police," I screamed as the police car ground to a halt next to me. I switched off the phone.
I get flabbergasted when the sales callers assume that I am a high net worth individual loaded with cash and itching to invest in multiple projects. Just when you are rattled by the depleting bank balance, and watch with horror the mounting credit card bill, you get a caller who has assumed that you are Mark Zuckerberg.
"How are you, sir, this morning? Even if you are feeling down, I have an offer that will cheer you up," says a charming ethereal female voice.
I want to tell her that right now I am suicidal, and the idea of investing will make me puke. But before I can utter a word, she steamrolls in at five words per second. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to book an apartment overlooking the F1 circuit in north India, sir. You pay only 5 per cent, and the rest after possession."
I want to ask her if I sound like a millionaire. At my current financial status, thanks to plummeting property prices and stocks, I couldn't afford a shanty at Mumbai's Antop Hill. But common decency demands that you be nice to a lady. So I sugar-coat the reply with excuses like 'I have no plans to invest in India', letting her get away with the impression I would prefer to invest in London or Switzerland!
But that turns out to be a blunder. She continues for another 5 minutes listing the advantages of investing in India and how the returns could be twice more attractive than those in other destinations.
So, I close with a courteous and lame concluding line: "Sorry, I am about to get into an important meeting."
Anthony F. D'Silva is a Dubai-based writer and PR consultant