Nuisance phone calls are not what they were.
It’s ages since I’ve been offered a holiday in the Bahamas, or free entry in a draw where I’m almost definitely going to win a car or £20,000.
These days, it’s all about boilers. And I’m getting very, very bored.
Memo to those faceless people behind the mechanical voices on the phone ... if you want to distract me from cleaning the sink, don’t offer me a boiler.
Dangle the prospect of a turquoise sea and glistening white sand to banish all thoughts of my domestic to-do list.
Promise me riches beyond my wildest dreams so I’ll never again have to unblock my own drains.
Otherwise I’m just going slam down the phone.
Except the other day, on a mad whim, I didn’t.
Dear customer, chirruped the recorded message, our records show you have not yet claimed your free gas boiler or solar panels.
I pressed 2 to speak to an advisor.
Me: “Hello. I understand I qualify for a free gas boiler or solar panels.” (We don’t have gas but what the heck).
Boiler woman: “Not necessarily, it depends.”
Me: “What? Your recorded message said I did.”
Her: “No it didn’t.”
OK, I know I was just wasting her time, but this was definitely the wrong answer.
Me: “So exactly what deal are you offering?”
Then something bizarre happened. A fierce woman with a Geordie accent interrupted, said we had a crossed line, and told me to put the phone down.
I wasn’t having that. “No. I’m trying to claim my free boiler. You put the phone down.”
At which point, the line went dead.
I can only think she was some kind of attack dog they put on if the intended victim starts to bite back.
But it was much less dramatic than the only other time I’ve started a conversation with a cold-caller.
He was promising the earth, or something close, and it wouldn’t cost me a penny.
I said come on, we both know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Then I did what I guess, at the end of a really crummy day at the call centre, must have been the last straw ... I laughed.
He rang back. “If you ever talk to me like that again,” he snarled, “I’ll kill you.”
Boiler Woman and her sidekick had nothing on him.
But here’s a message for her and all the others who try to sell stuff on the pretence of being some kind of government-approved agency.
Take your super-green, A-rated, solar powered and absolutely not-free offer, and stick it where the sun don’t shine.
Scariest moment of the week ... driving to Sudbury, radio on, and intending to stop off in Melford, I’d reached Rodbridge before I realised I’d sailed straight through the village.
It wasn’t the “senior moment” itself that worried me – it was the reason for my lapse.
I was so riveted by The Archers I completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing.
Now THAT is scary.