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I always leave the phone to ring at least 8 times before answering, unless I recognise the number (we have caller display on the phone). Most cold callers either hang up after 8 rings, or soetimes they are ringing several numbers at a time and hang up on the others when the first person answers.
If someone really wants to speak to you then they will let it ring more than 8 times. Also, if can take at least 8 rings to reach the phone from some parts of our house.
Depending upon my mood I quite like 'playing with the cold callers' it can be a good stress reliever at the end of the day ... my favourite is :
Caller: "Hello, can I speak to Mr Bruce C please"
Me : "Hello, its Inspector Jones of Wrexham CID here, can I ask your relationship to the deceased."
Caller (generally if they're still on the line): "errr errr errrr, we don't know him etc."
Me: "Well I'm afraid we're going to have to take your details and ask you to report to your nearest police station as a material witness I'm afraid, as you are the first person to ring following the incident so we near to ensure you'r not a party."
this can then go on for ages .. its best with Indian call centres as they just don't get it and go in to real panic.
Other favourites are; just saying random words in answer to every question until they give up, start getting really really creepily friendly with them and inviting them out for drinks and holidays together, and trying to sell them random household items.
I'm with Virgin and am a bit fed up with the cold calling. Seem to get an average of 2-3 calls a week and just feels a waste of time to pick up the phone, hear that it is cold calling, often not a person but automated message then hang up.
I read somewhere once I can pay Virgin to have my number taken off the cold calling list, but do not see why I should have to do that.