I get this call at about 3 p.m. and my train of thought suddenly comes to an abrupt halt as I wonder who would call me. The number is unknown to me. It could be the human-resource manager calling me for a job interview. Whoopee! I answer the call, on the other side this girl says Hello and introduces herself. I caught neither her name nor where she was calling from. Disappointed but not wanting to sound like an ungrateful sod, I greet her back. She says this call is in regards of a survey she’s conducting. It’s about a certain drink. She then proceeds to rattle question after question regarding when was the last time I bought Red Bull, would I buy it in the future, do I like to travel, do I play sports and finally what’s my age. I answer her questions, some in my trademark sarcastic tone, and by the end of it she says that if my “answers” are satisfactory then her colleagues will call me back. All right, I said, Goodbye was her response and the call ends.
So what could be possibly wrong? For starters, what the hell did I just go through? Was it a genuine survey to see if I liked isotonic drinks or was it a scam to acquire my personal details for an insidious plot? The questions didn’t make much sense. To what end is all of this? I knew I smelled something fishy when she asked whether or not I liked clubbing. I just couldn’t determine what type of fish.
But I’m more angry…make that furious at myself. I may sound confident and sometimes brusque in my replies but in actuality I’m pretty much hopeless when it comes to talking to people on the phone. All the things that I know are wrong, I commit them. All the no-nos become do-dos. I can’t help it, I know what I am about to say is wrong and might incriminate me but my mouth is faster than my brain. I should have questioned her back, like where did she acquire my name and my number, the legitimacy of her company, is she still available and so on. We all know how people are getting conned into revealing their personal details and I think I’m smarter than these poor souls. But that call apparently proved that I am not as smart as I thought I was.
Sometimes all it takes is for someone to speak in a nice tone and you might be hooked before you can say “Punk’d!” The male mind is probably the easiest to manipulate. Humans are highly visual creatures and men are attracted to all things shiny and pretty like male insects to pheromones. You see roadshows of any kind and you’ll see girls in very short skirts and tight tops revealing a hint of cleavage is enough to make men drop their brains and act like cavemen. Let’s face it, sex appeal sells and together with male stupidity and gullibility makes for a very potent combination and one with remarkable results.
Maybe it’s because I’m an honest guy. I’m also the kind that wants to get this kind of thing over ASAP and I hardly stop to formulate my answers thoughtfully. Every single time this happens, I bang my head on the table very hard, call myself stupid and solemnly vow to never repeat the mistakes. Till the next time, I’ll be ready. I hope.
Chris is signing off. For now…
PS: Never read H.P. Lovecraft at night.