“So you are practising at being a doctor, generally?”

I had such fun on the phone tonight… with a cold calling scammer of all things… just had to write it down…

8:30pm, Friday 17th January. Phone rings

Me: Hello, Genevieve speaking

There is a 3 second delay, a slight crackle and then a heavily accented voice greets me.

Him: Hello madam, I am calling from Microsoft Customer Care.

I laugh loudly.

Him: Madam?  I said I was from Microsoft Customer Care

Me: (cheery) I know, I heard you.  So what are going to tell me is wrong with my computer this time?

Him:  Not your computer, madam, my computer. I have a problem and I was hoping that you could help me.

This is a new one to me, I thought.  Let’s see where this goes.  I’m intrigued.

Me: Your computer?  I thought you said you were from Microsoft Customer Care.

Him: That’s right madam.

Me: And you’re ringing about a problem with your computer?

Him: Yes madam. My computer won’t let me log on. It keeps asking me for a password and then says my password is wrong.  Can you help me with this?

Me: Why?

Him: I don’t know why, that’s why I need your help.

Me: No.  Why are you asking me to fix it?

Him: I’ve heard you’re very good at fixing computers.

Me: From whom?

Him: Pardon?

Me: Who told you I was good at fixing computers?

Him: My colleague did.  He said you were the one to go to.

Me: Your colleague from Microsoft Customer Care?

Him: Yes madam.

Me: And where are you calling from?

Him: Umm…  from nearby to your home.

Me:  Nearby where exactly?

Him: Just one moment madam  (sound of frantic typing) … I’m in Ball-Leena

I presume he was mispronouncing “Ballina”, the town in which I live, in northern NSW

Me:  Oh, from the big Microsoft headquarters in Tamar St?

Which of course does not exist.

Him: (relief in voice)  Yes madam, that’s right

Me: And you’re calling from there now?

Him: Yes, madam.

Me: (as if making pleasant conversation) So how are you finding this weather we’re having?

Him: The weather is… umm…  very… nice?

Me: Nice?  You call sub –zero temperatures and blizzards nice?

It has been hot and sunny – we are in the middle of an Australian summer.  It has never snowed in Ballina – at least since the last Ice Age.

Him: (uncertain) Umm… yes.

Me: You must like the snow, then. You a skier?

Him: (with relief) Yes, yes, I like the snow on the ground because I like to ski, but I would like you to help me with my computer now.  I heard you were very clever to fix computers.

Me: So you said… from your colleague at Microsoft Customer Care.

Him: That’s right, madam.  My computer won’t accept my password and I…

Me: Sorry to interrupt you but I’m a little confused.  You work for Microsoft, right?

Him: Yes, madam.

Me: And the colleague you mentioned works for Microsoft?

Him: Yes madam

Me: And yet he recommended me to fix your Microsoft Windows problem. How interesting.

Him: (getting desperate) Please will you help me?  I really need to use my computer. It is very important for my work.

Me: Have you spoken with the IT support person at your workplace?

I idly wonder whether Microsoft have IT support staff for their own office computers.

Him: Umm… I’m working from home today and I need to get onto my computer to do work right away. That is why I’m calling you.  I’ve heard you are the best at computer problems.

Me: So you said. What are you typing on?

Him: Pardon?

Me: I can hear you typing.  If you can’t log on to your computer, what are you typing on?

Him: Umm… my laptop, madam. It is working very well.  My desktop is my problem.

This is just too much fun.

Me: OK, I’ll see what I can do to help.

Him: (with huge relief) Really?  Oh thank you madam.  If you would just go to your computer and…

Me: We don’t need my computer.  We can use yours.

Him: My computer is not working.  If you just…

Me: Not your desktop, your laptop.

Him: My laptop is fine. I need…

Me: Great.  Bring up Internet Explorer or Google Chrome

Him: (frustrated) But they are search engines for websites. I can get to any website I want. That’s not…

Me: Type in “Microsoft password problem” into your search engine of choice.

Him: (becoming increasingly frustrated but trying not to show it) They can’t help me. I’ve heard that you are the best computer expert, madam.

I thought it was time to cut him a break.

Me: I think you have the wrong “madam”. I’m only a doctor.

Him: (voice brightens) A doctor?  A person doctor?

Me: Yes, a person doctor. Not a computer doctor. We deal with different viruses.

Him: What kind of person doctor? A bone doctor? A nerve doctor?

Me: I’m in general practice.

Him: (in all seriousness) So you are practising at being a doctor, generally?

Me: No, I’m… never mind.  Sorry I can’t help you with your computer.  Good bye.

Him: Wait! Do you know about knees?

Me: Only those belonging to bees.

Him: I don’t understand madam.

Me: Forget it.  Have a nice…

Him: Wait!  I have a problem with my knee.

Me: I thought you had a problem with your computer.

Him: I do. And my knee.  It clicks when I bend it and hurts a lot when I…

Me: And you would like my advice?  As a doctor?

Him:  (eagerly) Yes please madam doctor. That would be very kind of you.

Me: No worries.   Go to your laptop.

Him: My laptop?

Me: Uh huh.  Bring up Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.  Type in “knee clicks when I bend” into your search engine of choice and then…. Hello?  Hello?  Anyone there?

……

Most fun I’ve had in ages… which probably suggests I should get out more. 

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2 thoughts on ““So you are practising at being a doctor, generally?”

  1. PLEASE tell me you made the whole thing up, Genevieve! Phone calls as funny as that don’t exist, surely.
    I wonder if he hurt his knee skiing on a northern NSW beach? He might have realised the snow had melted several millennia ago, but still wanted to practice skiing generally.

  2. Nice one, Justin, Wish I’d asked if he’d hurt his knee skiing. Didn’t think of it at the time!

    I wish I had enough talent to make something like this up but alas I don’t. It actually happened as written, with the exception of a very slight paraphrasing now and then to assist the flow of the comedic narrative 🙂

    He actually said, word-for-word, and in all seriousness, “so you are practising at being a doctor, generally?” which I had never heard before and thought was comedy gold! I got straight onto my laptop after he hung up on me and wrote the conversation down immediately so that I would remember it. On reading the transcript through, I thought “this is worth posting as a blog.”

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