Leave cold calling to a PPI salesperson...


It’s midday on a Monday morning, and the phone rings. I’m pretty startled. First of all, my landline hardly ever rings, unless it’s my mum and she can’t get through on my mobile.

Second, I was in the middle of transcribing an interview and my head’s in another space. And third, I’m tight on time – and if I answer, and it’s my mum, my deadline won’t be met, and if it’s a PPI salesman, I’ll end up having a row about how he got my number, which I don’t have the energy for.

The ringing persists so I answer it. It’s a girl (her voice doesn’t sound old enough to call her a woman) and she says her name is Melody and that she works for what sounds like DDAPPR. But she is rushing her practised speech so fast – which she’s clearly performed a number of times already – that I can’t tell.

She wants to know whether I got her press release and whether there’s anything she can do to follow up.

I can almost hear my aforesaid mum saying “Now be polite, darling”. So I am. But a) I don’t know Melody, and she hasn’t told me her surname b) I have never heard of DDAPPR and c) I get sent about 1500 press releases a day, and given I don’t know her, and couldn’t make out the name of her company, I probably expunged hers in one of the mass deletes that I perform daily to get rid of releases that, from the subject matter, don’t seem relevant to me. Of course, I don’t want to get into all of this with the sweet-sounding Melody. She’s probably an intern, and not getting paid. So I do something that my mother would tell me off for: I lie. I tell her I did get it, thank you, but it wasn’t of any use – and I have to dash.

She doesn’t sound surprised, because she’s heard the same line – or ruder versions – from dozens of other journalists. And yet her bosses keep asking her to cold call.

Can someone explain why?