Aug 30 2017

Time wasting

I got home from work this evening and made myself a cup of tea before settling down to watch an episode of Star Trek on Netflix.

Only two minutes in and the phone rang, so I paused the TV and picked up the phone.  I smiled as I saw the words International Call on the little LCD display. About time I had another one of these!

I sat down on the sofa, took a sip of tea and answered it.

The following is a very abridged transcript of the conversation that then took place.

“Hello. My name is James”, said a voice with a strong Indian accent. “I am calling from The Accident Helpline. Our records show that someone in your household has had an accident in the last year”

“Hello James. I’m glad you called. Yes, it was me who had the accident”

“OK. Was the accident your fault? If not, you will be entitled to some compensation”

“No, it wasn’t my fault. How much compensation are we talking about?”

“At least two thousand pounds”

“Is that all? I’d like at least five thousand”

“Er… I’m not sure if that is possible, but we can try. How did the accident happen?”

“A car ran into the back of me whilst I was sitting stationary at the traffic lights”

“Where were the traffic lights?”

“They were at red. That’s why I was stationary”

“No, I meant, what was their location?”

“Oh. At the junction. You know, that awkward one by the Post Office”

“Hmmm… can you tell me the name of the road, please”

“Yes, George Street”

“Can you spell that for me?”

“Of course. G for… um, George, E for episode, O for organism, R for Rasputin, G for George again and E for… what did I say before for E?”

“Um, OK. Yes, it’s OK, I think I have that. Can I have the registration of your car, please”

I gave him the registration of my first car, dating back 35 years. I gave it three times, mixing the numbers up each time.

“I cannot find that plate on our system. It isn’t in the right format.”

“It was a personalised plate.  When can I get my money?”

“Er… I think I will need to put you through to my supervisor”

There was a pause and then another Indian voice: “Hello, I am Robert.”

“Hello Robert. Now look, James promised me some money, but now seems to be backtracking”

“Yes, we cannot find your car on our system.  We will need to send you some documentation to fill in. Could you give me your name please?”

I looked at the TV screen, where Captain Jean-Luc Picard was frozen in time, tugging at his tunic. “Yes, my name is Stewart. Patrick Stewart.”

“Could you spell your first name for me please”

“ Yes, it’s  P for Patrick, A for anonymous, T for terrapin, R for rap-rap-rap-rapido, I for ickle, C for crash and K for Keeble Bollege, Oxford”

“Right. Er..  thank you Mr Stewart. Now, could you give me your postcode please”

I gave him a fictitious postcode.

“I cannot find that on my system either. I don’t think you are in this country”

“Of course I am. You rang me, remember? Now, how do I get my money?”

“I cannot arrange for compensation for you if I cannot find you on our system”. He was getting slightly irate, by now.

“Your system sounds rubbish. Is there someone else I can speak to?”

“Yes, I will put you through to my supervisor”

“You have a supervisor too?”

“Yes, Mr Stewart, we all have supervisors”

There was another pause and then another Indian voice, a lady this time. “Yes. What can I do for you?” she asked, somewhat abruptly.

“I want my money. Both James and Robert said I could have thousands of pounds, but they won’t give it to me”

“This is because you have not had an accident”

“I bloody well have. James phoned me up and told me so”

“And I also do not believe you are in this country”

“Well, I don’t believe you are in this country, either, so that’s two of us”

“I think you have been wasting our time”

“I think you might be right”

She hung up. I checked the phone: fifteen minutes… to the second.

Not one of my best, but it was most enjoyable nonetheless.


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  1. Frances

    Brilliant…love it ! I don’t get the chance to things like that anymore as we got rid of our home landline. We didn’t have caller ID so I had to answer, just in case it was important. Now, I can see on my mobile that it is no one I know, so I switch them off. If they don’t leave a message they get blocked ! An awful lot still coming through though!

    1. Masher

      They can very annoying, so I don’t blame you for blocking them.
      But you’re missing out on a lot of fun at the same time!

  2. Toffeeapple

    I love it when they get pissed off, don’t you?

    1. Masher

      Oh yeah, that’s the whole point of the game 🙂


    My record is 35 minutes.

    They got offended when I refused to open my windows because it was cold and raining!! But I said I would not personally get wet because I had a Mac!!

    I did say to one who said his name was Peter that mine was Gupta, he put the phone down as well.

    We signed up to BT CallProtect and now we are lucky if we get one a quarter sneak through.

    1. Masher

      Thirty-five minutes is pretty good going, Robert!

      I think the CallProtect is a good thing. Having one every so often is fine, but a couple a week would probably start to annoy me.

      I had a PPI one on my mobile yesterday, but it was just a recorded message telling me what number to dial. No fun at all!

  4. Juliette

    How did this not come through on my feed, Masher? I don’t believe you are in this country.

    Classic. You’re my hero.

    I absolutely love your version of the phonetic alphabet although I think you should end the next call by telling them to Foxtrot Oscar.

    1. Masher

      Now, don’t you start: I AM in this bloody country!

      Happy to be your hero, Jules, just don’t expect me to start wearing my pants over my trousers.

  5. Brennig

    Wait a minute. You’re watching Star Trek on Netflix? More details please!

    1. Masher

      Er… It’s Star Trek.
      The Next Generation.
      And it’s on Netflix.
      Been working my way through them.
      I’m now halfway through Season 7.

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