It was a call like countless other phone calls that you receive in a day. “One more telemarketer”, I thought wearily.
The voice on the other hand was clipped, polished and indeed very polite. “Not the regular telemarketer type” , I said to myself.
“Sir, I am calling from the Jaguar Land Rover showroom in Gurgaon” she identified herself. “I hope this is a convenient time to talk, Mr. Chowdhury ?”
Normally, I deal with pesky telemarketers in two different methods. One approach I adopt most frequently is to go silent-yes completely silent! A complete state of being incommunicado ! It is only after a while that the person realizes that perhaps this is no longer sounding anything like a duplex communication. The usual pattern is that the telemarketer disconnects the call, thinking that perhaps the line is bad, and dials in again, only to find that indeed it has become a one way communication ! To make matters interesting, I sometimes substitute the silence with chuckles and snortles. This method works like a charm, mostly.
The other approach which also works is to listen in to the whole proposition from the other end and then to reply with questions like “can you please let me know what is the cricket score”, or “is it going to rain tomorrow ?” This method, while it works most of the time, sometimes is fraught with the real risk that the telemarketer actually provides me the cricket score too , while trying to sell me the policy which I vehemently refuse to buy. It does put me off guard, but thankfully , such instances are not that common.
So, coming back to the call from the Car Showroom, I was just about to slip into one of the two modes mentioned above, when it struck me that I never ever got a call from a Jaguar showroom, ever !Curiosity got the better of me and I answered, “ Yes, this is Chowdhury speaking”!
“Sir, Thank you ! Actually I had called up to fix an appointment for you to come and visit our showroom. We would like to show you the entire range of Jaguar and Land Rover Cars to you .Could you please let me know when you could come by so that I can arrange a salesman to explain our offerings to you ? “
By now, I had already slipped into the silent mode referred above, but this time not at my own insistence ! It took a while to realize that the lady was asking me again, very politely, when I could make the visit.
“Er, ahem, gee ! Right away… hell no ! Wait.. what ho , what ho ! Ten thousand Thundering Typhoons. I mean , you are actually asking me to come and visit your showroom “, I managed to blurt out, eventually .
“ Yes Sir, indeed I am “, the reply was ever so polite, the tone perfectly polished .
“But why ?”
“Well, of course, so that we can help you to decide on the car you wanted to buy . Our sales manager will explain everything right down to the smallest detail. We will help to make your choice very easy “.
I was gulping air like a fish out of water by now.”But why” , I repeat the question and then do a slight course correction.” I mean why me ? “ I manage with a final air of, well, almost despair !
“Why do you want me to come and see Jaguars in your showroom “ I emphasized the “me” in the question prominently now.
"Well , we understand that you want to buy a Jaguar, and we wanted to make the experience extremely smooth for you".
I had by then finished my feats of jumping twice from my seat and having turned around three times around the chair, I managed to find some ounce of strength in my tone,and whimpered, “but no, I don’t. I mean of course I would love to buy a Jaguar. Absolutely positive about that . Not an iota of doubt there, mind you. But you see, I cannot afford a Jaguar. So, I am sure there is a mistake- I am not the person you want to speak to. I said ,triumphantly, by now, having made my point.
I then continued ” You see, I am sure you have your database of rich Chowdhury’s wrong there. There is a mix up, I assure you.”
“Sir, I am positive that you are the correct person I am speaking to”. But by now, I could sense that the polite voice was slightly shaken. Why don't you still come around this weekend, just to have a look , in any case ?
With that, the phone was politely disconnected. I meanwhile continued to stare at my own set, for a long, long time !