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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ring ring... why DO you give me a call?

Bollywood ringtones and callertunes. Celebrity gossip. Lotteries. Sports updates. Telemarketing. What haven't they got? And at what price? Well, I just have to drop everything I'm doing and answer phone calls full of recorded whining and keep pressing numbers as per their (recorded) instructions. First it started with text messages. I always deleted them. Now, they've moved on to persistent calling. I was never a huge receiver of calls, but nowadays I find it difficult to pick out the important calls to answer, so huge is the number of useless calls. Half the times when I'm expecting an important call, I answer my cell only to find that it's one of those familiar metallic voices that are edited to give the impression of a miniskirt-clad office girl with painted nails and loads of make-up or of a handsome-but-dumb guy in a formal shirt, tie and suit pants, expecting to ensure the attention of cellphone owners of either sex. And most of the other half of times, I'm engaged in cursing at the recorded voice expecting that the person operating the recordings will hear me and switch it off (it happened once), and it leaves my phone engaged and the important caller never finds me.
I have no idea what sort of people form their target customer group. Must be semi-literate green grocers, domestic helps and fishmongers who can't download cheaper or free stuff from the internet and are not aware of the futility of the quizzes and lotteries they offer. Even the text messages are so stupid that I wonder if they really take us for imbeciles. A text on my Mom's cell guaranteed prizes for answering if milk was white or black. Such texts are a regular feature, sometimes naming a famous sportsman asking if he is a sportsman or an actor, sometimes offering festival specials or religious advice, or astrology or 'love percentages'. Sometimes for a few bits of currency, sometimes even for free.
My cellphone provider rubs salt into the wound and sends a searing pain up through my nerves, shooting right into, and wrecking, the intellectual, emotional, creative, and sanity-maintenance areas of my brain. How? Well, my darling Reliance keeps handing me out its own bounty of telemarketing by text and calls. They try their best to convince me to switch to one of their more bloodsucking schemes with more advanced money-laundering methods. Which is why, when in some rare occasions a real person (real miniskirt / real formal shirt) calls, you cannot blame me for not being as gracious with them as is appropriate. And you surely cannot deny me a pat on the back for still being gracious most of the times and not asking to speak to their boss.
And then there are those you-won-more-money-than-there-actually-exists-in-the-world-just-count-the-zeroes things that sometimes come by e-mail too. Unfortunately cellphone spam filters are not that advanced yet, so we are bombarded with messages from phishing scammers that are cheeky enough to make you wish to entangle the perpetrators of this torture in fishing nets and throw them into a fishpond full of piranha fish. Nowadays, realising the fragility of texting, they too have learnt to call, with their hoard of lotteries, inheritances and African estates with dead owners. Why don't they create an account with the money and send me the number? Saves me trouble, y'know.

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