How to make a cold caller laugh nervously and hang up


Phone rings. I answer it.

Me: Hello?

Long pause indicating cold caller from call centre. When the voice begins, the speaker fails to identify itself, and has an obvious Australian accent; had it been from an overseas call centre, a lilting, foreign accented voice would have insisted it belonged to someone with the plainest white-bread name imaginable – to someone with barely any imagination.

Cold Caller: Good morning, Sir. Do you read [name of daily newspaper] or [name of Sunday newspaper].

Me: Yes, in cafés, I do. Or if I find them discarded on trains.

Cold Caller: You don’t buy them?

Me: No. I’m a freelance writer; until recently I was doing quite a lot of work for [company affiliated with daily newspaper and Sunday newspaper], but then [proprietor of both papers and affiliated company] realised he was down to his last few trillion dollars, and I’m not as gainfully employed as I used to be. Tell you what though, when he’s ready to start giving me some of his money again, I’ll happily give him some of mine.

Nervous laughter from Cold Caller who may well be identifying with my predicament sooner rather than later if more subscribers aren’t signed up pronto.

Cold Caller: What if I were to offer to have them home delivered at half price?

Me: I really need to be earning more money before I start spending more of it. Tell you what, get your editor to buy some of my stories – you can take the cost of subscription out of my next pay cheque!

Nervous laughter from Cold Caller. Click of call being terminated. At least they’ll have something to say back to whomever cold calls them when they’re at home in my predicament… probably sooner than they realise.