“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.