Tuesday, September 6, 2011


At one stage I was trying to run a small business from home [because I could not work regular hours outside the home while caring for my mother.]
I begged, and pleaded could she please not answer the phone if I was shopping or mowing the lawn or something, explaining that we had an answering machine and it would not take long to work out who had rung. Time and time again she would answer the phone, tell me someone had phoned, and that she had no idea who it was and had not thought to get their number. Oy.

Like many others, I hated getting phone calls from sales people at mealtime. Why do people train their phone room staff to talk blatant shit? Do they not understand  THE most fundamental rule of selling?:
"People buy things from people they like".
If you lie to me I am not going to like you. At all. Ever.

I'm sure it would be no surprise to many of you to discover the worst offender was Telstra. At one stage, I was actually a Telstra customer. Every caller would tell me they weren't selling anything and then proceed to try and talk to me about some new plan. The old "I'm conducting a survey" ploy is more transparent than clean air.
I hate phones. The only reasons to have a phone - especially a land line - are a) if you have customers b) in case you need to call an ambulance and c) in case you are waiting for bad news.

I kid you not, one night I had vegetables burning, my mother calling me when an idiot from Telstra rang and started the survey routine. The first time I am ALWAYS polite because I figure they are trying to earn a living, but I don't give them two chances. I no thank you-ed and hung up, went to rescue the vegetables and the phone rang again.
This idiot wasn't going to give up. I explained again that I wasn't interested, that I WAS busy, and I resented Telstra charging me money to have a phone so they could harass me. When I heard the word "but..." I hung up on him.
By the time the phone rang yet again, I admit, I was cross before I even answered. Before I could say "Hello" he launched the biggest string of filth at me, he was only trying to ^%$%^& help me, how dare I hang up on him, blah blah blah.
Hard to tell if the call was being recorded "for training and quality purposes" but I cut him off with a very loud "Hey!" and said if he rang back he would end up with a pierced eardrum because I keep a whistle next to the phone in case idiots like him keep ringing me.
No, I didn't have a whistle and I couldn't live with myself if I did harm someone's hearing, but at least he didn't ring back.

Since then, we've had legislation to set up a "do not call register". This would be a good exception to the "too much government" rule - if it worked.
Unfortunately, many retailers have now switched to door knocking, so we not only get those mysterious computer generated phone calls - after which someone tries to extract things like bank details from us - but we have a stream of idiots at the door as well.

 I started with a sign at the front gate that said
NO unsolicited sales calls please

My mother was barely mobile but could not bear the thought of someone phoning or doorknocking without knowing who it was. Forget that she would need a backpack and a packed lunch to get to the door at all. Forget that without a Formula 1 sports car [chauffer driven] she would have no hope of getting to the door before the knocker had moved on. Forget that it might be a bloody axe murderer. She had to know.

Far too many times people ignore the sign at the front gate and knock. The preferred time is when you are in the middle of serving up a meal, or helping an aged parent go to the bathroom. [For people with young kids this must be similarly frustrating.]

I consulted at one stage with The Other but she point blank refused to let me change the sign to a more straightforward
[And here am I still convinced she has the best sense of fun I've ever met!]

The first time my brother turned up after I'd put up a sign he launched into a "Your kids will end up on the street if you don't by my encyclopaedias" routine. I notice he has since put up a sign of his own.

I do wish people would stop knocking on my door and telling me they are not trying to sell something when they are, in fact, trying to sell something - e.g. cheaper gas, cheaper electricity or some other rot.

I do wish they would stop handing me some spiel that is originally designed to tell me they are representing some government or statutory authority when they are really representing some power retailer.

More than anything, I do wish they would learn that Australia is a country built on several specific but non-negotiable values:
  1. give everyone a fair go regardless of height, weight, gender, or apparent ethnic or racial background;
  2. have a go - you don't have to win, but please at least try;
  3. turn the tap off;


  1. There are some advantages to living in a secure highrise.

  2. Ha Ha, Andrew, I'm sure I read about some people who put 2 extra door bells at their front door... and claim they heard someone walking off mumbling something about %$#%&% flats...