The phone rang a while ago and I answered, “T. F. Stern & Company, Locksmith, Good Morning”. The woman on the other end could have cared less what had just been shared as she began introducing her company as some kind of media outlet intent on finding out what kind of toilet paper we use, what kind of breakfast cereal we purchase or some other waste of my time.
Before she could get started I asked, “Did you lose your key?”
“Huh?” You could tell she wasn’t prepared to answer my question.
“I asked, did you lose your key? Most folks who call a locksmith need a key made; so, did you lose your key?” There were a few moments of silence followed by the funny sound our phone makes when the caller abruptly ends a conversation, a little digital gurgling noise like a musical note drowning in a pool of water.
I used to get annoyed and say ugly things into the phone when unsolicited callers would interrupt my solitude; but that showed a lack of character on my part. I learned from listening to others how to deal with “spam callers”; waste their time asking them questions, it seems to work.
The best one I heard was a recording made by a fellow who’d become quite adept at “jerking the chain” of unsolicited callers. He’d spent hours upon hours developing various replies that would stop unwanted callers in their tracks and put the intruding caller on the defense.
He’d waited for the introduction to be completed and then announce that he was Detective Soandso from the police department investigating a homicide. He then went straight for the jugular, “How well did you know the deceased?”
There would be silence on the other end of the phone, a clearing of the throat as the pollster attempted to extricate himself from the conversation.
“Please don’t hang up, the call has already been traced and it would further implicate your involvement in the crime.” This line of attack would go on for several minutes, “We’ve learned that the victim was a homosexual; were you his lover or just someone he picked up at the local gay bar?”
I’m going Google search this to see if there’s a copy of that somewhere. In the mean time, if you’re planning to call my locksmith business phone, try to remember, I cut keys; I don’t like to waste my time doing interviews about what brand of soap my family uses.
This will also appear as a feature article on Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America’s website.