Tony Raine, Elburton Methodist Church: Is it wrong to be rude to cold callers?
FOR the twelfth time in two days there was nobody there when I answered the phone.
Either a burglar was trying to see if anyone was home, or more likely, it was a computer generated advertising call. These irritate me beyond reason. They interrupt me when I'm eating, talking, gardening or whatever and demand my attention -then when they have it, there's often nobody there!
Yes, I'm on the telephone preference list, and a fat lot of difference it makes!
Yes, I know it's illegal for them to phone if I'm on that list, but the heavy non-European accent when they do speak explains how they get away with it.
"Don't tell me my job!" was the arrogant answer I got from one young man to whom I tried to explain this.
It seems to me to be the height of discourtesy to trouble people who have expressly declared they don't want to be contacted.
I am justified, I feel, in responding aggressively when they try to strike up a conversation. Perhaps that's why I get six calls a day – they probably have a list they can add your number to for special treatment if you are rude to them.
My wife tells me that I'm being unChristian; that these people need a job and call-centre work is all that might be available; that what pittance they are paid for disturbing my peace is possibly life changing for them; that my daughter might well have had such a job when she was a student to keep the wolf from the door.
"Make allowances," she tells me, "They must have to tolerate eight hours of abusive responses like yours every shift!"
She has a point. A good one actually. Must I apply rules of Christian behaviour to such as these? Reluctantly, I concede the answer might be yes. Don't I believe there is something of God in each of us? Am I not told I should treat others as though they were God? What do you think? But please don't phone me to answer that question!