Things I have been mostly saying this week:
'I'm so sorry to bother you...'
'I assure you, we are not trying to sell you anything...'
'Perhaps there would be a more convenient time to call...?'
'Yes, yes, I am aware of what time it is...'
'Yes, I do realise that people have better things to do with their time...'
'You wouldn't be interested in participating? Okey-doke then, Cheerio!'
And all said in a cheery sing-song voice that morphs into violent swearing and spluttering as soon as the phone is in its cradle. There is nothing to inspire such celebration of the human race as being a minion of market researchers and calling le grand public of an evening.
I often muse as I call about whether I could tip a person over the edge. For instance, some of the surveys we carry out have certain criteria that must be met in order to take part, such as being in a particular age boundary or having so many children. So, if somebody is coming to terms with getting older and is really rather depressed about it, being turned away from a survey they have agreed to partake in (a rare occurrance though this is) due to their mature years could throw them into turmoil or intense mental instability. Likewise with an infertile person, or somebody suffering great trauma in trying to conceive, being ineligible for a questionnaire as they are childless. I could be causing deep personal agony and may be the final straw before suicide is contemplated or attempted...
Or they may try track me down and come after me and strangle me with the telephone wire for causing them such heartache. I am putting my own life at risk by undertaking this job. There are some nutcases out there after all.
Thus, this is the great responsibility I commit to when walking into work each evening. And for only five pounds an hour.