You wouldn’t know it by the number of fake phone calls I get, but I am on the “Do Not Call” list.
In the course of a day, I average a dozen bogus solicitations from ne’er-do-wells of every stripe; credit card flim-flam men to fake IRS agents. Because of caller ID, I usually avoid the interactions. Usually, but not always…
A heavily accented voice came through the speaker,
“Hello, this is tech support. We’re calling about problems we have noticed on your computer.”
I knew where this was headed but was suffering from writer’s block and needed a distraction.
Plus, I figured if they were going to waste my time, turnabout is fair play.
He continued, “Is this the owner of the computer we have on file?”
“I don’t know,” replied I, “Where would I find your records so I can tell you if I am that person?”
“You don’t have them. We do.”
“Oh, so how would I know if I’m the owner of the computer you have on file?”
Sighing, “Um, never mind. We are calling from vendor.”
I got that he was saying “vendor” but his accent was so think, it came across as “vindoer,” plus he omitted the word “the,” giving me my opening.
“Is Vindoer in Europe?”
“It’s not a country,” he said, and repeated the sentence slowly, as if speaking with someone who couldn’t understand basic concepts. “I’m calling (pause) on behalf of (pause) VENDOR,” overly emphasizing the last word, making it sound like two words.
“Oh, my mistake. Who is Ven Doer? And why would he call me?”
His annoyance went from simmer to boil. “It’s not a person! It’s VENDOR who make your computer. Are you daft?”
“My computer was made by Apple, not Ven Doer.”
“Arrrgh! Let me get supervisor.”
I stifled a laugh while the voices changed. “Hello, sir,” said the – air quotes – supervisor. “We detected that your computer is affecting the Internet and by international law must be corrected. Do you understand?”
I feigned naive concern, “Oh dear! I don’t want that. Is Mister Doer going to help fix it?”
“Who’s Mister Doer?”
“That’s who the other man said he was calling for.”
“He didn’t say ‘Ven Doer,’ he said, ‘VENDOR,’ like manufacturer. Why does it take you so long to understand a simple concept? Are you slow?”
“Sometimes, if I hurt myself, I don’t move quickly. Would that affect my computer?”
I’m sure if we were skyping, I would see him pounding his forehead with his palm. I’m confident I could hear it.
“No! Forget that! Do you see Windows key?”
“Do you see the key next to it?”
“The house key or car key?”
“What are you talking about?!”
“You asked if I see a key next to the Windows key? Yes, next to my keyboard are my house and car keys. Which should I use?”
“House key?! Car key?! What the hell is wrong with you?!”
“Well, I woke up with a stiff neck this morning and now I find out I’m hurting the Internet. Aside from that, I’m okay.”
Here’s where it jumps the rails. HE gets vein-poppingly angry at ME. Raising his voice, he roars, “Who do you think I am; an idiot? I can tell you’re wasting my time playing these stupid games with me!”
To which I reply, “You’ve got to be kidding! YOU call to scam me, lying about being from tech support — and YOU get bent out of shape because I’m wasting YOUR time?! The way I look at it, I prevented you from stealing from someone else and even got a few chuckles as a bonus.”
I hung up feeling incredibly satisfied. My small blow against the evil empire had been accomplished for the day, allowing me to return to my mild-mannered persona with the added benefit of something to write about.
Funny how the universe works isn’t it? Sometimes what you don’t expect is exactly what you need.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and the CDO of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a website for people and organizations who are frustrated with making promises and are ready to make a change. Sign up for his free newsletter at the site or friend him at facebook.com/thistimeimeanit. He is also available for coaching and speaking engagements at 707.442.6243 or firstname.lastname@example.org