Thursday, May 08, 2008

Moshi moshi, Telemarketer-san desuka?

So the other day, while I was unpacking some boxes, I got our first telemarketer call. When I answered the phone, there was the telltale hesitation and faint sounds of other phone jockeys in the background. Thinking quickly, I said, "Moshi moshi."

Telemarketer Lady: "Hello?"

Me: "Hai...Moshi moshi!"

Telemarketer Lady: "Hello?"

Me: "Hai! Konnichiwa!"

Telemarketer Lady: "Hello?"

Me: "Gomenasai...eigo ga dekimasen. Nihongo ga dekimasuka?" ("I'm sorry, I don't speak English. Do you speak Japanese?")

Telemarketer Lady: *click*

That was the easiest time I've ever had getting off the phone with a telemarketer. We had them in Japan, and it was basically the reverse. They would call, ramble on for a while, and then I'd tell them that I was "jozu jarimasen" (not good at Japanese). I'd get a brief apology ("Sumimasen...") and they'd hang up.

I've now used the technique yet again, with the same results. You couldn't get away with that in Spanish, as you hear it around town almost as much as English.

It seems that our new phone number was once used by some sort of scofflaws. We get calls from bill collectors, and even a call from the Northeast Independent School District the past two days in a row telling us that "our kid" (we have none) is now 9 dollars and 45 cents in the hole with the lunch room. I'm tempted to call back and just tell them to refuse to give "my kid" any food if he can't pay for it. Maybe he'll learn to manage his allowance better.

So, if you call us, don't be surprised if you hear Japanese...if we want to talk to you, we will. If not, then "Gomenasai. Jozu jarimasen. Sayonara!"

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