Humour

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF A TELEMARKETING CALL By Tony Advokaat (Article)

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Tony Advokaat

In the past couple of weeks I have received numerous calls from an outfit that claims to be associated with Microsoft and wants to send me a refund because they are going out of business. At least, I think that's the story, it really is not very clear. The voices always have a strong accent and certainly don't sound North American. The first few times I simply hung up, feeling irritated by the interruption but when the calls kept coming, I decided to change my strategy.

There is always a few seconds of silence, before the caller sees a line is open and announces himself or herself, so I know what is coming. If I am not actually in the middle of something else, I respond warmly and tell him or her how pleased I am by the call. They then proceed to tell me that they want to send me a refund. I thank them for their generosity and tell them to send me a cheque. That isn't possible for amounts under $1,000, and I am supposed to turn on my computer. At that point I start badgering them with lots of questions, most of them silly. One of my favourite lines is to tell them that my computer has a screen and not a window, which requires them to explain at length to a computer-illiterate what they mean by "windows". I also explain that I have spoken to lots of their colleagues and if only they put their heads together all the various amounts they have promised me would add up to over a $1000 and they could send me a cheque. I ask them where live and where their office is and some of them have given me a phone number (it's a 800 or 877 number or a USA area code) and an address. I ask them all sorts of personal questions, showing a great deal of interest in their puzzled responses. They get exasperated when I don't seem to get the point of their call but they are reluctant to give up on a "live" target so they keep trying to get back to their set-piece while I keep interrupting. At some point they begin to realize they're not going to get anywhere and their exasperation starts getting the better of them. At that point I tell them I enjoy wasting their time and that I see it a as sort of social service: as long as I am wasting their time they cannot be harassing someone else, possibly more vulnerable.

I've actually come to enjoy these marketing calls.

Tony Advokaat

SAME TIME, SAME STATION By Rick Kohler (article)

 

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Rick Kohler

Same Time, Same Station

‘In my day,’ my mother used to say, ‘things were different’. Typically, she meant disapproval of today. I remember thinking a little despondently that the world I’d been born into must be was going to the dogs – in the 1920’s virtue and courtesy must have reigned.

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CHAI IN THE SKY By Rick Kohler (Article)

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Chai in the Sky

I once watched Jane Fonda interviewing the then Archbishop of Canterbury on BBC TV in the UK in the sixties.  She asked him a question that had always lingered in me: ‘why is Christianity the only true religion?’  His answer was sympathetic and seemingly open-minded – ‘I see value in Islam, in Judaism, in Hinduism and Buddhism’ he said, ‘but I believe the only true revelation of Christ is reflected in the Christian religion.’ 

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UNANSWERED PRAYERS - THE BACK-STORY By Rick Kohler (Article)

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The other day I was watching the preps for a football game on TV and caught sight of a player propped down on one knee on the sidelines. He mumbled to himself, made a sign of the cross, bounced up and jogged off perkily to join his team in a huddle.    I thought to myself, “How does God handle that? How many people are there on earth who say prayers, and how does He decide who gets what?”

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ANGUS THE DOG OR A MASTER'S PLAINT By Tim Williams (Article)

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                                                        Angus or a Master’s Plaint

     I had not realized the potential significance of “Angus” until a six-week-old Bernadoodle arrived in our home, assuming my hitherto unused second name. For several years my wife Gloria had been musing about acquiring a dog. When this became insistent, I gave in. “It will be your responsibility, but I’m not going to stand in your way”.  

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WEATHER BEATEN By John Lang (Article)

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 John Lang

To endure living in Ottawa during the first days of spring it helps to be possessed of considerable inner reserves. The weather is wearisome. At worst, it is an extension of the previous three or four grim months; at best, the city is redolent of thawing doggy doo and March winds whirl unswept grit into your footwear.

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SERVICE WITH A SNARL By Bob Burchill (Article)

 

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Bob Burchill

Is something going on?? Yesterday I visited a large Canadian retail store where I was approached, unsolicited, by a floor clerk who asked whether I required assistance, conducted me to the area of my interest, explained some intricacies of the sales offers in vigour, and volunteered to remain nearby in case I had further need of him. I was so shocked I nearly called the management.

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PUBLIC AIR CARE By John Lang (Article)

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John Lang 

Building on the success of the Canadian Health Care System, generally acknowledged to be the most perfectly designed and efficiently delivered social program ever devised, the Canadian Government announced that it will apply the same principles to air transport.

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THE ELUSIVE SAUSAGE By Pierre Beemans (Article)

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Pierre Beemans

It came to me as one of life's little epiphanies.One of those revelations that, like a lit window at the end of a dark street, both illuminates and comforts. We were standing, George H and I, warming ourselves on a chilly June day by a street vendor's brazier on the corner of Arenales and Plaza Washington, a couple of years before the Canadian Embassy in Lima relocated in 1975 to Miraflores.

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