The requirement these days in banks to use customers’ full names while opening their accounts has made life very difficult for tele-marketing staff.
These poor people do not know the customers and have never heard of them before. They are simply given a list of names and phone numbers and are asked to sell the banks’ services. It is a most unenviable task.
Now, let’s take my case. I have a particularly long name when expanded. I am therefore, used to receiving calls from people who start off rather confidently and then flounder. Last week, this girl called. She was clearly not an Indian, so it was even more difficult for her.
‘Good morning!’ she gushed. ‘Mr. er.. Mr. Pommtida? Pattidam?
I waited patiently for her to get it right.
‘Pottymad Johnny?’ she enquired.
I sighed. I have come across some awful variations of my name but this ranked among the worst. ‘No, not Potty mad Johnny’ I assured her. ‘Pattamadai Ganapathiraman Bhaskar. You can just call me Bhaskar. Bhas-kar.’
‘If you insist. Now, please go on.’
She named the bank she was calling from. ‘And sir!’ she exclaimed. ‘We give attractive rates on deposits. Would you like to place a deposit with us?’
‘I have no money to spare for deposits’ I told her, sadly.
She didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she brightened up. ‘Oh! In that case, would you like to take a personal loan? Interest free for three months.’
‘No thank you’ I replied. ‘I don’t want any loan.’
This clearly puzzled her. ‘So you have no money but you don’t want a loan?’
‘Yes’ I clarified, quite truthfully. ‘I guess I’m in a state of nirvana right now.’
‘State of ..?’ she asked.
There was a pause.
‘Oh’ she asked, sounding a little confused. ‘So you don’t live in Dubai now?’
PG Bhaskar is a private banker and has authored several books. He tries hard to keep up with the times @bhaskarpg and www.pgbhaskar.com. Look out for his weekly humor column on B-Change Saturdays.
Featured Image Artwork: Bhoomika Ghaghada