Well, the aged FIL has finally left Paris. He’d decided he still wasn’t going to eat, so they put him on a drip. LSS will be going to Orleans tomorrow.
I spent the day typing commands like “sudo apt-get samba”. The new server is now up and running, but I struggled to find a suitable backup program which a) runs on Debian Linux and b) can talk to a Lacie NAS. I finally found one called FreeFileSync. It’s now backing up gigabytes of data.
Today’s subject: Dealing with unsolicited telephone calls (cold callers). Ever since our telephone was installed, we’ve been getting cold calls. These normally take the format of: “Hello, I’m calling on behalf of EDF/Orange (select one or the other)…” and then they try and sell me something. Of course EDF (or Orange) has simply sold them a list of telephone numbers; they’re not calling on EDF’s behalf at all.
Unfortunately my French isn’t good enough to tell them where to go, so normally I just let the phone ring until the answering machine responds. We have caller display so I can see if it’s someone in our phone list. Of course they never leave a message.
If they call several times in a row, I sometimes add their telephone number to the “Call Barred” list, which means the next time they ring they get the “number unobtainable” sound. Occasionally I answer, if I’m in the right mood. If I do answer the phone, I have two choices. I can let them explain their reasons for calling me and how fortunate I am that they have a special offer on at this specific moment in time, and then say in English “I’m afraid I didn’t quite understand all that. I don’t suppose you speak English, do you?” Generally they say “Er, non.” and hang up. Once they asked (in French) “Oh, but is there nobody there that speaks French?” To which I of course said no.
On one occasion though, the chap replied “Yes, I spik good English.” “Oh good!” I exclaimed. “So what is it you want?”
“I am calling with the name of ze Ur-Dee-Ef, and we is having, um, er….” <click>
I guess his English wasn’t quite as good as he thought.
My second choice is to give answers which don’t quite fit their script. For example: “We have been checking electricity consumption in your area, and noticed you have been using a lot of electricity recently.” (Which is a lie).
“Ah, bon?” I say. (“Oh, really?”)
“We have a special deal on at the moment and can help you save lots of money on your energy usage through solar panels! To take advantage of this offer, I first need to conduct a brief survey. Is that all right?”
“Great! So, firstly, what method of heating your home do you use: Gas, Electricity, or Fuel?”
“Du bois et panneaux solaires.” (“Wood and solar.”) Quite true, actually.
“Oh. Um. Er….” <click>
Lately I’m using another method. As soon as I know that it IS a cold call, I gently put the phone down on the desk, letting them read through their script until they realise nobody’s listening, and disconnect. Then I replace the handset.