No thanks, I'm only the wife.

In all the places I’ve lived I’ve never experienced as many telesales calls as I do daily in Norway. From requests for charitable contributions for orphanages in Romania to special offers on country music CDs, the phone in the house rings at least twice everyday while I’m in. I assume it also rings out when I’m not.

Frequently I pick up the receiver to be hung up on as soon as I say ‘Hello’ but mostly, once I state that my husband is at work, – the phone account is in his name – they say they’ll call back later, wifey here not being authorized presumably to spend money. Friday morning, the wife was apparently qualified to listen to the special offer.

It was for fire safety stickers to put on our bedroom windows. I silently congratulated myself on knowing the Norwegian word for sticker, as the girl offered to send me three stickers for a few hundred Kroner with each additional sticker costing extra. She said that the stickers were essential as they would help firemen identify in which bedrooms we were sleeping, and presumably dying, and allow them to save us faster in the event of a fire.

Of course the idea that fire fighters would go around looking for little stickers on windows, dithering over which window to break into first, is absurd. Granted, most houses here are wooden and once they catch fire, tend succumb very fast, often with tragic consequences. And of course, the worrier that I am, I have imagined the scenario during which I might have to rescue my children from their bedrooms while the place is ablaze. But really - isn’t this taking things a little too far?

I could just imagine that some smart-ass had come up with the idea, knowing that it would tap into parents’ fears and siphon cash from people for the price of a phone call (and a few stickers presumably). Of course I couldn't elucidate these thoughts in Norwegian but instead politely declined the kind offer saying ‘I’ll have to ask my husband about it when he comes home’.
You see there really are times when playing the retro compliant housewife card pays off.


Aslak said...

Telemarketers are annoying everywhere. There is actually an easy way of getting rid of them in Norway though, You just have register in the no-call registry. Go to http://www.brreg.no/ and enter your personal number (and then that of your husband) in the bottom left thingie. The calls should stop after a while. Most people seem to have done so already, which may be why you'r getting so many calls. You may be the only one left that they can call :)

OSLO said...

Gosh thanks a million for the tip Aslak. I had two hang-ups yesterday; you're probably right that I'm one of the few left on telemarketers' lists.