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Are you bombarded with information? Do you suffer from overload? Is someone always trying to sell you something? Sometimes, we feel like we’re under attack. Junk mail. Junk phone calls. Door to door sales reps.
I recently registered with the Telephone Preference Service, which did cut out most unsolicited calls, but some still get through. For some reason, I’m still constantly rung about bonus holiday weeks. The stress is making me need a holiday. There’s also the bothersome call from a computerized voice, congratulating me on some competition or other that I’ve won. Texts come through to my mobile phone as well, alerting me to how lucky I am. Then, there are the so-called silent calls, much in the news lately, the ones where you rush in from the garden to pick up the receiver and there’s no one there. This is the result of random computerized calling, when sometimes there isn’t an operator free to speak to you. At least I no longer have to battle with the double-glazing and new kitchen shysters.
Of course, they still turn up at the door. They must have some kind of telepathy. How on earth do they know I’m in the middle of cooking a meal? I tell them I don’t do business on the doorstep. They seem to hear this in the Klingon language, as they still persist. I also do not want to change my electricity / gas / water supplier.
Even friends get in on the act. A couple I had met on holiday promised to stay in touch. We say this but we never do anything about it do we, except this couple did, inviting me to their very nice detached home for drinks with assorted friends. Anticipating a pleasant social event, I was shocked to discover this was a ruse and we were all there for a part plan opportunity featuring knock down jeans. Everyone’s a hustler.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to walk down the High Street of any town. They wait to ambush you. Would I like to order a catalogue? Have I had an accident in the last three years? Do I want to participate in a survey? I’ve adopted an evasive strategy by zig zagging up the street and most importantly, not making eye contact with anyone holding a clipboard.
In my home town, there are other obstacles as you try to shop, such as lay preachers pressing bible tracts into your hand and the aggressive woman who follows you around muttering how she can bring good luck if you’ll only buy her posy.
The simplest of transactions have become more complicated. I can no longer go into the local branch of my bank to deposit some money, without the cashier trying to flog me a mortgage or travel insurance. I can’t go to the store and buy some knickers, without the assistant trying to sign me up for a store credit card. You simply can’t get in and out of anywhere quickly any more.
When you finally get home, from a stressful outing, and relax with a cup of tea whilst checking your emails; guess what? Spam. In the good old days, Spam used to be a curious meat by-product and humourous Monty Python sketch. I installed a piece of software, which hasn’t helped much. Even more annoying are those pesky pop up adverts. You know the ones. For online casino gambling, loans and home working scams. They even pop up when I’m in the process of sending an email.
Sorting out the morning post is also stressful. I have been pre-selected for countless platinum credit cards. A warm glow comes over me, I feel so special. My name has been put forward into a prize draw, and I am the only person in my post code to receive this honour. Once again, I feel valued as an individual. Of course, there is the inevitable Lucky Draw card. I am instructed to scratch the circle with a coin, to see if I’ve won a prize. My prize, as always is a handful of gray ash. But look! There’s a bonus line. This time, I’ve definitely won something and I can ring them and they’ll tell me what I’ve won. This could be a luxury cruise or a biro. How exciting. Naturally, it will cost me £ 1.50p a minute, with the call lasting six minutes and resulting in me winning a…biro.
Finally, who invented inserts? The ones that annoyingly drop out of your newspapers and magazines. Does anyone read these things? Can we track down the marketing genius who came up with them, and paper his walls with promotions for spa pools?
My rant is finished. I do apologise. I’m just going to lie down in a darkened room, with the phone off the hook, and a Do Not Disturb sign on the door. Wake me up when the world returns to sanity. But don’t email me about it.