It’s been a fair few weeks since my last blog (I’m sure regular commenter’s Clifford Moggs and Adrian Rutter have missed me) , and I was pondering what I should scribble down in my latest foray when I get a phone call...
We exchange greetings, in the customary fashion, before he explains he is calling from the Department for Work and Pensions and asks if I’d like to take a survey.
My answer is no. I’m not particularly fond of telephone surveys and I was leaving for the train station in 15 minutes in any case (it’s for a King’s Fund event down in Manchester in case you’re curious), so I hang up the phone and think that will be that.
How naive I was! The gentleman immediately phoned back and kindly informed me that I HAD to take the survey.
Now, I think I’m quite a patient and jovial kind of guy, but I’m not the kind of person that smiles sweetly when I’m being told what to do. In fact, if you try and tell me to do something then chances are I’ll do the exact opposite.
So I retorted that this gentleman could not tell me what to do and I will not be taking his survey, and I again hang up.
Clearly, this fellow was a persistent chap, as he continued to ring me back and insist that I take his survey. After being called back three times I lost my temper and demanded to speak to a supervisor, after being called back for the sixth time I realised that this person may not actually work for the DWP.
We begin with the survey, and I give the most outlandish answers my boiling brain can conjure.
“Are you the homeowner?”
“Yes, why not?”
“How much is the property worth?”
“Eighteen billion pounds”
And that’s just the beginning...the fraudster was subjected to a ten minute tirade of ridiculous responses and general ribbing, including a lovely moment when I claimed to be the queen of England, own a lucrative property empire, and work for MI5 in Brazil.
Unbelievably, he stuck with it, even though we both knew it was a charade! I pointed this out to him and he was undeterred, relentlessly sticking to his script.
Not too sure what the moral of the story should be, but it was slightly odd that I was about to spend two days learning about ‘Data! Data! Data!’ and how NHS executives use information to make decisions.
But still, more interesting than revising for exams!