Unsolicited phone calls from banks and credit-card companies we all know about. But what do you do when you get a phone call that’s solicited and welcome, but then, after five precious minutes of your life have been wasted, you realise no good is going to come of it?
A couple of months ago, when I was scouting for broadband connections for my new laptop, I called Airtel and discovered to my bemusement that they “didn’t have coverage” in the part of Saket I lived in, just five minutes away from the PVR complex. “But we’ll have soon, sir” said the customer-care executive, noting my cellphone number and promising that I’d be intimated when it happened.
Hours turned into days, days into weeks, like in the voiceovers for the Lord of the Rings movies. I got a Tata Indicom dial-up connection, which sometimes worked. Then, yesterday, the much-awaited call from Airtel came.
Customer Care Executive: Hello, Mr Jai Arjun ji se baat ho sakti hai please?
Jai (annoyed at people who call on your cellphone and assume it isn’t you on the line): Ji haan, boliye.
CCE: Madam, I want to speak only to Mr Jai Arjun.
J (adopting gruffest, manliest tone): Boss, this is Mr Jai Arjun speaking!
CCE: Oh, very sorry sir. Sir, I’m calling from Airtel. You had made enquiry about our broadband connection?
J (cheering up instantly): Yes, yes. Do you have coverage in our area now?
CCE: Absolutely, sir! We have very nice coverage. Excellent speed and very attractive schemes. Super-fast connection, 24 hours a day and best payment options according to your convenience. Up to 500 MB download free.
J: No dial-up or telephone instruments or USB ports?
CCE: No, sir. This is broadband. Very simple facility.
J: Excellent! So when can you come and install it?
CCE: Anytime at your convenience, sir. You name the time, I will send the boy with our full list of schemes. And we’ll install it within 24 hours after that. All for your convenience. Can I have your address please?
J: Yes, these are the Golf View Apartments in Saket, please note down the number…
CCE (after brief silence): Sir, Golf View Apartments? But we have no coverage there.
J (slow burn): Why did you call me then, just to gloat?
CCE: No sir, I thought you stayed in Saket.
J: I do stay in Saket. Golf View Apartments, Saket.
CCE: Sorry sir, we thought you stayed in PVR complex.
J (rage coursing through veins): Boss, no one stays in the PVR complex. People go there to watch films and to loiter uselessly. I thought you had my full address in your records.
CCE: Most sorry sir, our mistake. But we will definitely have coverage in your area in two months’ time. I will call you then. Goodbye. (Disconnects)
But I’ll have my revenge yet. Friends have warned me that after I start freelancing my creditworthiness will plummet. So the next time someone calls to tell me about a very attractive bank loan I’ll listen to the whole thing patiently, evince interest, ask them to send their man over with the papers…and only reveal at the last possible moment that there’s been a change in my professional status and I’m no longer loan-worthy. Ha! That’ll show them all.