There I was, working away at the keyboard when the phone rang. It was a cold-call from a company called Stop These Calls. They said that for an annual subscription they can stop me receiving cold calls from other organisations.
What!! How hypocritical. Their call centre worker simply could not see the irony in the fact that he was cold-calling me asking me to pay £59.99 to stop other companies from doing exactly what he was doing – namely making a cold, unsolicited, nuisance call.
Bournemouth-based Stop These Calls trumpet on their website that they are an “independent group who want to STOP you from receiving nuisance calls.” Then friggin’ practice what you preach, and stop making unsolicited calls yourselves.
They also trumpet: “Find out more about how we help reduce and eliminate nuisance calls.” Yeah, that’s easy, too: same course of action…stop making the damn things.
My phone number is actually registered with the free Telephone Preference Service. It is a legal requirement that all organisations do not make unsolicited or marketing calls to numbers registered on the TPS. Actually, now I think about it, maybe the TPS isn’t all that good, as it failed to prevent Stop These Calls from doing exactly that.
And talking of hoots, says he, going off on a tangent, here’s another you may like. My new publisher is American, and their editor was going through my manuscript of the revised edition of In Shadows Waiting, due out in the next few weeks, when she came across a sentence referring to a hooter. She changed it to horn.
This was her comment in the margin: “I changed this because at first I didn’t know what it was. Thanks to the Cambridge dictionary I know now that’s a car horn, but to your American audience this means one thing and one thing only – large women’s breasts.”