Rebel Rules: the Gall Centre

Witty banter with Trevor from the Gall* Centre.

“Good morning, may I speak to Mr McRiven please.”
“Yes, speaking.”
“Good morning Mr. McRiven, my name is Trevor and I’m calling from [The Bank]. Before I proceed I must ask you to confirm a few details for security.”
“OK,” I say.
“Thank you. Am I speaking to Mr. McRiven?”
“Yes you are.”
“May I check your date of birth.”
“Go ahead, knock yourself out.”
Silence . . .
“I’m sorry sir, please may I check your date of birth?”
“I’ve already told you it’s OK.”
“Yes, but will you confirm it for security.”
“For Security, yes, I certainly will.”
“Thank you sir, and your date of birth is . . .”
Silence . . .
. . . but eventually I have to say something, “With that introduction, I was expecting a drum roll, what happened? I thought you wanted to confirm my date of birth.”
“I do Sir.”
“I waited for you to tell me so I could confirm it or, well, not confirm it depending upon whether you’re right or not, but you didn’t say anything.”
“But sir, I already know your date of birth.”
“Blimey, that’s a coincidence, so do I!”
“Well, Sir can you please confirm it for me?”
“I thought it was for Security.”
“It is for security, Sir.”
“OK, off you go then.”
“No, it’s you who must tell me your date of birth so we know it’s you I’m talking to.”
“But, I definitely know my date of birth, and it’s definitely me you’re talking to. It’s you who seems to have the problem. You could be telling me fibs and trying to trick me.”
“I’m not tricking you, Sir, I’m just not allowed to tell you your date of birth.”
“Oh.”
“Yes, you see it’s against The Data Protection Act.”
“So you’re protecting my information from me because I might not be me, I might be somebody else pretending to be me.”
“Exactly sir, that’s why you have to confirm your date of birth so I can make sure it’s really you.”
“Well, you called me on my own telephone number, asked to speak to me and I’m speaking to you! How much more evidence do you need that it’s really me?”
“I just need you to confirm your date of birth, Sir.”
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I know my date of birth. What I don’t know is whether you do! If I tell you my date of birth and it’s not the same as the one you say you have then you could be talking to someone else entirely. We could both end up in the loony bin. Or I could be the right person and someone in the bank has taken down my information incorrectly. Who’s to know? Really, the best way forward is for you to tell me what you have in front of you and I’ll tell you whether it’s right or not. It’s really very simple.”
“Sir. You can tell me your date of birth, that’s fine because it’s your information, but I can’t because it’s the law.”
“Let me recap just so I’m clear, what you’re saying is that it’s OK for you, someone I have never met in my life, to have my information but it’s against the Law for you to tell me what that information is even though it could be wrong or it could be the right information but for someone else that isn’t me even though it’s me you wish to speak to.”
“Yes sir.”
“I’ll tell you what, seeing as it’s my information we’re talking about and nobody else’s, what would you say if I give you permission to tell me my own date of birth and anything else you need to know. Would that move things along?”
“It doesn’t work like that, sir.”
“How do you mean? Is it my information or not?”
“No. Yes, it’s your information but I can’t tell you what it is.”
“Why not?”
“Because you might get it wrong and I would have to ask more questions to make sure you are Mr. McRiven.”
“You already know it’s me! You called me and I answered the phone.”
“But you have to confirm it’s really you, sir.”
“So, how did you know my name and telephone number when you called me?”
“It’s here on my screen.”
“And my date of birth?”
“Yes sir, your date of birth is here too.”
“So, if when you called me and asked for me by name but I said “No, it isn’t Mr McRiven speaking,” would you have still asked me, or whoever it was answered the phone, to confirm their date of birth?”
“Probably not sir, no.”
“Why not?”
“Because the date of birth on my screen wouldn’t be right for that person.”
“So, how come you’re convinced it’s correct for me then?”
“Because you told me you are Mr. McRiven and the date of birth is here on the screen under your name, Sir.”
“So, you read my name from your computer when you telephoned me and asked me to confirm it but you can’t tell me my date of birth which you have on the exact same computer screen?”
“No sir, I can’t. It might not be correct.”
“So, you’re telling me there’s a good chance the information you have is wrong! This gets worse by the minute . . . I suppose when someone in the bank wants to get hold of Mr. McRiven all they have to do is look up my name on the system?”
“Yes sir.”
“The same way you did.”
“Yes Sir.”
“Anyone?”
“It’s the normal way of getting in contact with our customers.”
“Even though, as you say, the information you have about me is likely to be wrong. This is outrageous! Perhaps you really wanted to speak to Mr. Smith but your system is completely screwed and you got me instead. I’m deeply shocked by your bank’s attitude to security, it’s bordering on criminal. I could be anyone! You did say this call is being recorded didn’t you . . .”
“Thank you very much for your time Sir,”
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

Despite their insistence to the contrary, my time and my family’s time is more precious than anyone else’s. I now have all calls screened. Unknown callers, banks and a few other organisations of a similar ilk are automatically blocked. They can always write to me if it’s important.

>Location when written: Exmoor, Somerset, England<
>Music I was listening to: Placebo and David Bowie ~ Without you I’m nothing<

© Rod McRiven 2017

*  Gall, /ɡôl/noun
1.  bold, impudent behaviour:
“the bank had the gall to demand a fee”
synonyms: effrontery, impudence, impertinence, cheek, cheekiness
2.  the contents of the gallbladder; bile (proverbial for its bitterness).
synonyms: bitterness, resentment, rancour, bile, spleen

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