Dialing for Dullards

Sunday mid-morning.  I’m on my third cup of coffee, the Miami Hurled already in the recycle pile, well into the New York Times.  The phone rings.  Stupidly, I answer it.

“Hello!  This is the Jumping Anaconda survey service.  We’d like to speak to the male head of the household for just 5 minutes.  Is he available?”

Heh.  I don’t know where to begin.  So I hang up.

If such an animal exists, the “male head of the household” is a bachelor living alone.  Unless he has a cat.  For the record, I am not a bachelor, and I have six cats.  Talk about pussy whipped.

We get a lot of these calls.  While my standing policy is to ignore than, once in a while I’ll take one and offer opinions and statements that can’t be categorized, at which point we have a spirited discussion that usually ends up with the caller hanging up.

Complicating matters is the fact that I have a collection agency after me. They call all the time.  Seems that I failed to pay a parking ticket in 2005, and the city of Ft Lauderdale handed the account to a vulture service in Harrisburg, PA.  They want their $45, and they call daily.

I’m a veteran of the collection agency wars, having handled my own battles and those of several employers.  I have literaly driven these people to tears while getting away with thousands of dollars as well as a clean credit record.  It’s the one aspect of my personality reflective of my Hungarian heritage.

This particular collector has a system that calls my number, and when I answer, the first thing I hear is: “All our agents are currently busy helping other customers.  Please stay on the one and the next available agent will be with you shortly…”

Are they serious?  How well do you suppose that works out?

Once every so often –alcohol is usually involved — I stay on the line and wait until some poor harried bastard hops on and starts to read his canned presentation.  I never allow this.  “Please!” I beseech him.  “I just want to pay!  Please take my money!  I’ll pay you double!  Just help me!  Please!”

Encouraged, they want a credit card, but I tell them I don’t have one — the bank cancelled my account when I over-extended the credit line buying a private jet.  “Cheap bastards!” I say.  “I gotta have my airplane, don’t I?  Look — will you take cash?  I’ll send you a fifty dollar bill!”

Of course they can’t do that.  So I abuse them, and ask them why they hate America so much they refuse to accept our country’s currency.  “How about two $25 bills?”

Pretty soon I end up talking to a supervisor, to whom I tell a completely different story.  “I told your agent I would send a check,” I say, using a scared, intimidated voice.  “But he wouldn’t give me an address.”

The supervisor, flummoxed, explains that I need to send it to a post office box, but then I deliberately mis-hear what he says and read back a totally different address.  This goes on for a little while I start dropping the phone and playing jungle sounds in the background.  He raises his voice to out-shout screeching mina birds and monkeys while I ask him to repeat himself.  “What?  Say again?  Quiet Cheetah!  Hungawa!”

Eventually they give up.  But they’ll call again.  Hey — that $45 collection means about $10 to them.

Should I ever decide to pay this fine, I’ll send it directly to Ft Lauderdale.  Screw these cretins.  Let them try to collect their vig from the creditor, their customer.  Fat chance.

Next time I’ll tell you about my Mister Ed act.  No matter what they say or ask, I tell them, “Hello.  I’m Mister Ed,” and I do a great imitation..  Drives them bat-shit crazy.

How ‘bout some fresh oats, Wilbur?

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5 Responses to Dialing for Dullards

  1. This is you last warning. I know where you live. I you ever want to see you cats alive again, pay up.

    You’ve been warned.

  2. Piles says:

    A collection agency called me every day for about 6 months. Each time I told the caller that the party they wanted (me) wasn’t home. When they asked for a good time to reach me, I told them, “Oh he’s home all the time. You just hit an odd moment when he stepped out.” Six months of this and they called at diffferent times, from 9 to 9. Eventually they went away. I kind of miss them.

  3. Hose B says:

    Times are tough when a city sics an out-of-town collection agency on a resident for a $45 ticket.

  4. Living Will says:

    Many years ago I got in trouble with a collection agency and they sent an agent out to my apartment to, um, negotiate. It was scary. I wouldn’t let him inside, of course, but I could see he could have easily pounded down the door. I told him if he didn’t get the hell out of my apartment hallway I would call the police. Not until I actually did start dialing the phone did he leave. It shook me up enough that I took the call the next time and negotiated a $10/week payment plan which I kept up faithfully for about 2 months until I left the state.

  5. Mister E says:

    If such an animal exists, the “male head of the household” is a bachelor living alone.

    You got that right. Ask any of my ex-es.

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