Jasmine, from a company called First Energy who said she wanted to book a free 20 minute appointment with me to talk about a government initiative about solar energy (I think) called on around 2 January. I was busy with kids but we are interested in solar energy so I asked that she call back the following week. That same week I had I don’t know how many more sales calls and I was getting irritable. And yes, I did sign up for that ‘please don’t call me thing’ but there’s loop holes aparently and so I still get sales calls. Obviously.
The following week kids were back at school and I decided to really focus on getting caught up with work. Especially as I was excited to get on with my new plans of doing my work. I turned the phone on silent. That week I counted around 75 calls from numbers I didn’t know.
This week I decided to start answering the calls and get them to stop calling.
On Monday I got my first call. It was Jasmine again. She reminded me politely that I asked her to call back. I said yes and we provisionally booked an appointment for 10.30 or 11 that morning, but then someone in the office said to her that the person wasn’t available till later so we settled on 2 that afternoon. Fab. Jasmine said the Diary Manager would call back to confirm the booking.
The Diary Manager called back to confirm the booking. He said ‘and your husband will be there with you?’
‘No‘, I said. Frowning.
‘Oh. Well we need you both to be there. There’s a law (blah blah blah old ladies being taken advantage of blah blah blah) and so that’s why we need him to be there. The person you spoke to should have said…’
‘Well, she didn’t.‘
‘How about after your husband gets in from work?‘
‘My husband gets home after 8 and he’ll want to put his feet up and have dinner not meet with a sales person.‘
‘Sure, I understand,‘ he said, sounding like he really did. ‘How about at the weekend?’
‘We have four kids (I have no idea why I said four, we actually have five and only three are at home with us, maybe I was sort of averaging it) who are very active and weekends are far too busy for us.’
‘No days off…?‘
‘If my husband had a day off I doubt very much he’d want to spend it in a sales meeting. The whole idea behind me working from home is so that I can manage the house as well as do my work.’
‘Well,’ he said ‘it looks like we can’t do this then.‘
‘That’s a shame,‘ I said, meaning it. Then I asked for and received their website thinking I would do check them out on my own anyway.
About an hour later Jasmine rang back.
‘Our Diary Manager has informed me we weren’t able to book an appointment with you when your husband was around, so I was just wondering if I could do that now?‘
‘Well we can make appointments until 8.30 in the evening…‘
‘Like I explained to your Diary Manager, my husband works very hard all day and the last thing he will want to do in the evening is have another meeting.’
‘The weekend then?‘
‘And as I already explained to your Diary Manager, we have four (!) very busy kids at the weekends so that’s not possible.‘
‘We can’t try for an evening? Maybe next week?‘
‘I don’t WANT to book it in the evening, as I just said.‘
That was Monday. Today, Friday I have just had a call from another female from the same company.
‘I see that you’ve tried to book an appointment with us this week and I wondered if we could just try to rebook that now?‘
Her voice had that ring of over-confidence that a manager has when they’re trying to show the telesales team How To Do Things. I suspected there was an audience. Yes, I’ve worked in telesales. I’m sorry. It was when I was at university. And actually I never worked on the phones, I was the envelope stuffer.
‘As I already discussed with your company earlier in the week, there doesn’t seem to be a mutually acceptable time for us to meet.‘ I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.
‘What about one evening next week when both you and your husband are in?‘
‘No.‘ I wondered if she could hear that was through gritted teeth.
‘What about weekends? Or days off in the week?’
‘OH MY GOD DO YOU FREAKIN IDIOT PEOPLE EVER LISTEN TO ANYTHING I SAY?’
No, that’s not what I really said.
Unless she was telepathic.
I stayed polite.
‘We have four very busy kids at the weekends (I needed to stay consistent, at least), so there’s no time for us to do this at weekends, as I have already said.’ Then I added, ‘I have actually had this conversation twice already with your company and this is getting really FRUSTRATING so I would really appreciate it if you would just stop calling me.‘
‘Ok, we’ll take you off the calling list. Thank you for your time.‘ I think she heard the capital letters when I said FRUSTRATING and took the hint.
And do you know what, she actually sounded hurt. I didn’t even swear at her.
** Edited to add: Today, 24 January, I have had another call from them. Yes, really.