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?
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?
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?
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.