THIS morning they sent me another pre-dawn SMS. This time, it was less of a threat and more of a plea. Give us our money, please, why doncha, they said, in fancy legal speak and then maybe, perhaps, the hounding will stop.
I almost fell for it. They’ve worn me down, like a Chinese water torture victim. Even though I’m innocent, I’m just one block of sanity away from confessing to crimes I didn’t commit just to make them Go Away.
And this is how it works, modern-day debt collection. Some clever clogs in a sky-high office, somewhere in a big city, told every company on the planet that if you beat a man with a stick long enough, he’ll eventually fall over.
And nowadays, you don’t even have to use a stick.
Like you, I get unsolicited rubbish on my phone and via e-mail all the time. And I’m exaggerating because that’s how it feels, right? This invasion of space and personal boundary-bashing by nameless, faceless goons doing their bosses’ bidding.
The advertising junk is tolerable, to a point. I get that my incompetent cellphone company would sell my last pair of undies to the highest bidder if it meant a quick buck, so I hardly expect them to protect my number, to the death, against greedy vultures who want me to buy a Weber or stand a one-in-a-gazillion chance of winning one.
No, it’s the “heavies” that get my goat – the e-mail and SMS threats to hand you over, take you to the cleaners, kidnap your auntie and basically ruin your life if you don’t cough up “X” amount of money plus quadruple that total in interest by said date.
The latest is Avon. They’re wrong and I’m right and they have my number and I don’t know why.
According to Avon – or their representatives, who go by a shady three-letter acronym – I have ignored all previous SMS requests, threats and demands that I pay them R1000-odd right now, this minute, or face imminent doom.
At first, they were very school-marmish, pointing a mobile finger and peppering their demands with words such as “urgent’’, “account overdue” and “handed over”. I’m surprised I didn’t see “guillotine” somewhere in the mix.
Since I have never used an Avon product in my life, or opened an account with them, I ignored this “spray and pray” SMS campaign against my good name and got on with eating chocolate.
And so they got psychological. “Our records show that NO payment on your outstanding Avon account has been received. We would like to assist.”
How? By visiting me with tea, cuddles and a nil balance statement?
I’ve tried to reply to Avon and its henchmen, but you know how it goes. They send out these missives via one of those million-digit-long SMS distributor centres.
My friend, Podge, tells me that if I close my eyes and think happy thoughts, they will go away. It hasn’t worked.
Perhaps I just have a guilty ring tone.