Monday, November 17, 2014

My landline: kept only so that I can continue to hear the dulcet voice of Rachel from cardholder services

Last week, I actually got two real calls on my landline.

One was from the hairdresser, confirming my appointment. (I confirmed but, alas, on day of, there was a mainline back up in my downstairs bathtub, and I had to wait for the plumber.)

The other was a real-real call, from my cousin Barbara. I let it go to voicemail, then picked up when I realized it actually was a real-real call.

Mostly the calls that I get on that number are robocalls.

Number One is “Rachel from cardholder services”, who calls every couple of days. On occasion, I’ve stayed on the line to tell someone to take me off the call list, but the minute you start talking to them and they realize that you’re not a potential scammee, they hang right up.

Seriously, after several thousand calls from Rach, I don’t know how I’ve not fallen off of her list.

Does she think that I’m going to all of a sudden have an epiphany and decide to give out my credit card info to a pack of strangers, and pay them a boatload to consolidate my debt. Oh, wait. I don’t have any.

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.

I have so come to detest your voice that, if I recognized it on an ad or voice-recognition-system for a legitimate business, I would not do business with that business.

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.

Are you one of the scammers, or are you an actress who, recognizing that all the legit voice overs go to Martin Sheen, just wanted the work?

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.

What will you do once I give up my landline?

Oh, it’s not just you, either.

There are the senior alert scammers, informing me daily that I’m likely to fall in my bathtub, break a hip, and die naked, soaking wet, and alone. Body found only when the water runneth over and someone in the building figures out there’s a flood going on, and someone finds that I’m not just circling the drain, I’m plugging it.

Living alone, I am quite sure that, at some point, I will get some sort of alert system that I’ll wear around my neck like a scapular so that if and when I do slip in the tub, I’ll be able to call for help. (Note to self: make sure there’s always a towel within reach to throw over the old body. I’m sure that the EMT’s and firemen have seen everything, but I will want to spare them that particular sight.)

But when I do sign up for my alert system, it won’t be because Senior Alert has called to update me on the latest senior horror stats. It will be because I’ve done some research, consulted with folks I know – some of them have gotten these systems for their old folks; no one I know has signed up for one of their own quite yet – and make my purchase accordingly.

Senior Alert. Senior Alert. Senior Alert.

You tell me Press 5 to be taken off the call list, which I’ve done a couple of dozen times. Apparently this does nothing more than give you a head’s up that this is a real number. And Pressing 1… Just like with Rachel of cardholder services’ pals, they shake you off pretty quickly, no matter how sweetly you try to explain that you just want your number off their #@$($!!!*#&& call list.

Then there’s the “you won a vacation” calls.

Hey, call me back when it’s business class to Paris on Air France, and 10 days at a five star hotel – with a side trip to Normandy -  why don’t you? As long as I don’t have to listen for a time-share pitch. Then we’ll talk.

I also get a fair number of calls from a fellow who sounds Indian, but who is, quite peculiarly, named Brian.

Brian wants to help with my Windows security.


My final favorite landline call buddy is the sharp-voiced woman calling on behalf of Newt Gingrich. I can’t recall her name, but in my mind’s eye she looks a lot like Calista Gingrich, only older, meaner looking, and with even stiffer and blonder hair.

She doesn’t offer me an opt-out number. I have to jot down and call an 800 number if I want out.

But I just put the phone down and let Newt rage on about how Obama is a despot hell-bent on destroying the country by opening the borders to a bunch of Ebola-infested ISIS fighters who want to hop on to our medical system for free abortions, after which they will shoot-to-kill anyone who supports gun control. Or some such. I’m only listening with half an air.

Someday they’ll figure out I’m the wrong demographic.

Meanwhile, if there’s one thing I can say about those calls to my landline: they’re on someone else’s dime!

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