I get quite a few calls at work from people trying to sell us stuff - either that or switch our electricity/gas/telephones to their company because they can save us a fortune.

Firstly, without knowing how much we currently pay, how do they know how much they can save us?

And secondly, don’t they think that if we wanted a new photocopier or fax machine or whatever then we would go out and buy one rather than just sit about thinking “oh, I hope someone phones to sell us a photocopier today, I really miss the old one now it’s broken”?

To be honest, I don’t really mind these people too much - they are honest and upfront about what they are trying to do most of the time.  Normally the calls are about company cars or company mobiles, so by telling them we don’t have any (which is true) they are polite enough to apologise for troubling us and then they go away.

There are another breed of telephone sales people who I hate with a vengeance though.

Instead of wanting to sell you stuff upfront, they try to get you to order stuff by using underhand methods.  One company who calls regularly, starts off by asking if “the usual order will be okay, or do we need more this month?” - now it seems a normal enough request, but we’ve never ordered from them and never will, solely due to their selling tactics.

The question implies that we are a regular customer and it would be oh-so-easy to just say “Yes please!” so that our usual stock supplies don’t run short.  I can’t remember the name of the company or I would put it here, they really are the pits.  The worst part is that the company is obviously still in business after several years of these calls, so they must be catching a fair amount of people out.

Someone from a paper supplies company I’d never heard of called today, apologising for the late arrival of their new catalogue - as I’d never heard of them I couldn’t care less how late it was.  The guy was full of jokes (I think they were meant to be jokes anyway), and very chatty in a matey type of way, and offered to send Marks & Spencer vouchers by way of apology - but could only send them to my home address, so if I could supply it then the vouchers would be sent today.

No chance was I giving him that address, and when I said to just send them to my work the line went dead.

So the whole purpose of the call was seemingly to get someone’s home address, what was that all about?

A couple of hours later the same guy phoned back, and I thought maybe we had got cut off by mistake - but the call started with the exact same patter, “Hi, I’m calling from Blah-de-blah Paper.  I’d like to apologise for the late arrival of our catalogue, I’m afraid we’ve been let down by our printers - it’s always the same isn’t it?!  The good news is that it will be with you in the next couple of days, so you can sleep easy in your bed tonight!”

I pointed out that this was exactly what he had said word for word earlier, and his script went out the window to be replaced with a quiet “Ah…”

It was then my turn to put the phone down.