Sunday, 5 May 2013

Phone phobia

I have a confession to make. I'm secretly (well, not a secret any more) afraid of phones. The reason? I totally lose my ability to say no on the phone. Which, of course, is a tricky affliction that inevitably always results in money spent that you can't afford to spend or agreeing to take on extra work.

There are many embarrassing stories about what I have agreed to on the phone, and I thought I share a few as cautionary tales. Don't follow in my footsteps! It's frankly too bloody expensive.

1. The time when I agreed to buy a lifetime technical support package from a bunch of people who first said they were with Microsoft but then said they are not. That alone should have given me a clue, but by then I was in too deep.
What happened was this: One peaceful evening a long, long time ago (actually it was way more recent then I care too admit - let's just say I was old enough to know better) I was happily surfing the net, when the phone rings. I usually ignore it because I know I can't handle it. My husband picked up, and then handed it over to me (why???) with the ominous words: "It's for you." He should have known it wasn't a good idea, but his faith in me knows no bounds. Love him.

Anyhoo, the folks on the phone convinced me that my computer was bombarded by viruses as we speak. They told me to click her and there and show it to me. And I did. (I'm embarrassed.) And I saw a lot of flashing red warning signs, and rapidly increasing numbers, and grim messages in capital letters proclaiming "attack!" "attack!" (or something like that) and it all looked very scary and I panicked and almost begged them to help me. Which they were only too happy to do (for a hefty price of course). Mission accomplished on their part!

I did have an underlying feeling that the whole thing might be a set-up, but didn't really know how to extricate myself. So I ended up buying their so-called "support package" for an extortionate amount of money (the sum I will take to my grave, sorry folks, but I do have a shred of pride left).
Lesson learned? Never ever accept the phone handed over by hubby without checking first who it is!

2. The time I agreed to participate in a survey about water quality that involves having someone come to our house to check our water in exchange for a free set of knives in a knife block.
This lady called and told me: "Congratulations, you won a free knife set!" Did I hang up right away? Well, by now you know me. Of course not.

The gist of her phone call was that I had apparently filled out a survey about water quality a long time ago (it may or may not have happened, I don't remember - but it sounds like something I would do), won the knives, and now someone wants to come to our house to deliver them.
Deeper into the conversation she revealed that this would also involve having said person come into our house, test our water, and "just ask a few more questions." Nooooooooo!!!

That one thankfully ended up costing us nothing thanks to my knight in shining armor Rich, who called them back right away (thanks, call display!) and told her in no uncertain terms that we don't want nor need a set of knives and that we won't under any circumstances let anybody on our property to conduct a survey. She got the message.

3. The time I agreed to be on the board of a student committee even though I really, really didn't want to.
That one happened three years ago. The program head of my old college called me and asked if I would be willing to be part of a committee that meets twice a year to discuss my old program's clinical placement for students. It is a worthy cause, but honestly? I didn't want to do it. My mind was screaming NO, but which word came out of my mouth? You guessed it - "Yes, okay, no problem, I would be thrilled to do it."

And there are many, many more. I have given money to the police and fire fighters; donated clothes and books; supported bottle drives; participated in more surveys than I care to remember; signed up to help save the rainforest. All good, worthy causes, don't get me wrong.
But I like to choose the causes I want to support out of my own free will, not because I'm hypnotized by the phone.

So my course of action now is to take full advantage of caller ID. (One of the best inventions ever if you ask me.) If I don't know the caller, I won't pick up. Leave a voicemail (another brilliant invention) and I will get back to you if I'm interested.

Plus, I have to grow up and learn to say "no"!
All images found here
Do any of you have a similar problem? Please, please tell me you do?! Or am I the only phone-challenged person? I would love to hear your stories!

Enjoy your Sunday, it's a beaut here. I'm gonna go outside now (far away from phones hehe).

xo Miriam
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