back to article 10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register

So. You're a PR. Your boss, client, giant David Icke-style lizard or whatever it is you people have in charge of you, has ordered you to telephone The Register. Here's a handy list of things for you to consider before you do that. Do not EVER call us to ask whether we read your email. If you feel the need to ask the question …

  1. Nigel Whitfield.

    Another annoyance ...

    A mere 32 hours after sending me an offer to review a product of a type I've never written about in the last quarter century, the PR sent the same email again, with a comment at the top that "I just wanted to float this to the top of your inbox. "

    My gut response - and only a thin shred of decency stopped me from saying so by return email - was "ah, like a turd that won't flush"

    If you send an email, and it doesn't bounce, chances are I got it. If I didn't reply, I'm either not interested, or on holiday.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another annoyance ...

      Is that why no one from Apple ever calls you?

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Another annoyance ...

      If this doesn't make comment of the week, I shall cry.

  2. Dr_N Silver badge


    "He called it how he saw it, now hit the ****ing road."

  3. Mage


    Obviously mostly useful tips for anyone dealing with anyone.

  4. Proud Father

    Bill Hicks had the right idea

    "By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself."

    Read the full quote(s) here

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      " if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself"

      It would appear that one person here is in advertising or marketing. That, or the rest have gone for the "advocating mass suicide of the PR industry" dollar. Very big dollar, that one.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excuse me

    I work at McDonalds and wouldn't make half of these mistakes.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oddly enough, before the grindstone of IT appeared against which to rasp my nose, I actually trained in PR and practised for a while, before getting better. We were taught always to provide information your target journo wanted, always to make life easier for the journo and so on. This worked so well, I once walked through the foyer of an hotel in which a journo I knew was interviewing David Essex. When he saw me, the journo actually interrupted the interview to ask me something. Can't recall what it was, as the occasion got the better of me, but the style must have been about right.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Confession

      "an hotel"

      +1 at least someone still understands the rules.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Confession

        The Oxford dictionary site disagrees:

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: Confession

          Since most people drop the pronunciation of the leading letter, it is correct to use 'an hotel'.

          Even the web page quoted agrees:

          " If horrific was pronounced ‘orrific’ and historic was pronounced ‘istoric’ then it would be appropriate to refer to ‘an istoric occasion’ or ‘an orrific accident’. In the 18th and 19th centuries, people often did pronounce these words in this way.

          Today, though, these three words are generally pronounced with a spoken ‘h’ at the beginning and so it’s now more logical to refer to ‘a hotel’, ‘a historic event’, or ‘a horrific accident’."

          So if you are a person who pronounces your h's, then you are not wrong to write 'a hotel' since it is more 'logical' - but it is in no way incorrect to write 'an hotel'.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Confession

            most people drop the pronunciation of the leading letter

            Citation needed.

        2. Hollerith 1

          Re: Confession - OED

          The OED records common usage, not proper usage. At least not any more. So I no longer turn to it for clarity. There are other sources of (correct) information. Although, of course, I pride myself on rarely needing to refer to an oracle, because I know my language.

          1. mark 63 Silver badge

            Re: Confession - OED

            "The OED records common usage, not proper usage."

            Does it? where does it say that?

            Also by the sounds of that explanation the only reason we have "an hotel" is because half the population will dump the H making the 'an' correct , and the other half get to sound awfully superior by pronouncing both the H and the 'an' , whilst actually being incorrect as the 'an' was only put there to prop up those who couldnt be arsed pronouncing the H.

            p.s. H is pronounced "aitch" . If you pronounce it using an H, ( or should that be a H) then go take Bill Hick's advice.

            1. monkeyfish

              Re: Confession - OED

              The OED records common usage, not proper usage.

              But common usage is proper usage, since language is constantly in flux. It did not get fixed in place at <insert arbitrary year of your choice>.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Confession - OED

                Isn't it amazing that whenever anybody insists on "proper" usage, it turns out that the only time and place English was ever properly used was when and where they were brought up?

          2. ChrisBedford

            Re: Confession - OED

            "I pride myself on rarely needing to refer to an oracle, because I know my language."

            Hmm, I pride myself on not being a pompous ass, so I try to look things up before pontificating on them.

          3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Confession - OED

            The OED records common usage, not proper usage. At least not any more.

            The OED has always been a descriptive dictionary.

            There are other sources of (correct) information.

            Prescriptivist fallacy.

            I know my language

            Epistemological-phenomenological fallacy.

  7. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Thumb Up

    El Reg

    Biting the hand that feeds IT.

    In a good way.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work in PR and listen: you need me. You need me like the snake needs the trousers, like the pig needs the lipstick and like the Grinch needs Christmas (c).

    People like me made HP, Sony, and Samsung the popular powerhouses they are. So when I call and demand to speak to your managing editor director in chief CEO you frickin well put me through. I don't care about facts, I don't care about words. I lick the essence from the boil. I'm in PR. Please read my email.

    1. James 51

      I was going to say you forgot the joke icon then remembered as AC you aren't allowed to use it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You've commented without praising my PR skills. As Adria Richards might've written: fork my Python.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        You aren't allowed to use it but that doesn't mean you can't.

  9. SW10

    Your mother—and mine

    If I said “Hello, can I speak to [x] please?” to my mother, she would say "Yes you can, but you may not."

    But perhaps you're setting the bar intentionally lower for PR types...

    1. John H Woods

      Re: Your mother—and mine

      If I were to accidentally say "can I speak to [x] please" rather than "could I... " and someone were to reply "yes you can, but you may not" I would be tempted to ask them, if I hadn't hung up, to clarify whether they were using the term "may" to refer to permission or probability; as it is commonly used in either sense (in a similar manner to "can" being used to refer variously to permission or ability).

      The real faux pas, in my book, is asking whether you could speak to someone before you say who you are. Excuse me, but you called me - don't ask me for my name, or ask to speak to someone by name, before you identify yourself. It's so common these days, however, that my first sentence on the phone is nearly always "may I ask who's calling please?" --- although I'm always tempted to say "For security, I first need to take you through some questions. (1) who are you? (2) for whom do you work? (3) is this a business call? (4) could you please estimate the likely duration of the call for me? (5) I need to make you aware that I record all calls for quality assurance purposes ... etc"

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: Your mother—and mine

        "The real faux pas, in my book, is asking whether you could speak to someone before you say who you are"

        I expect three things from callers I don't know. Who you are, organistion you're calling from, and why you're calling. And for whatever is holy to you, never, ever, ever ask me how I'm doing today. You don't know who I am, I know you don't give a crap, so don't feign interest in my wellbeing.

        "that I record all calls"

        You must say "may record your calls..". You're doing it to gain leverage, and this gives you plausible right to say "what recording, I have no idea what you're talking about" just in case keeping quite might be wiser.

      2. Harman Mogul

        Re: Your mother—and mine

        Ah ha yes, good catechism but can be more succinct:

        "Are you buying or selling?"

        If you need to run the whole script, this follows:

        "If you're buying, how may we help you? If you're selling, fuck off."

      3. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: Your mother—and mine

        Rather than asking to "speak to" someone, I much prefer to ask if I can speak with them, which simply sounds rather more like a conversation.

        Of course, in the case of some pitches, the correct term would very likely be "could I talk at someone?"

  10. Steve Knox

    “Hello, can I speak to [x] please?”

    My favorite phone interaction with a marketing droid:

    MD: “Hello, can I speak to Mr. Knox please?”

    ME: "Sure."

    ...5 seconds of dead air later...

    MD: “Hello, can I speak to Mr. Knox please?”

    ME: "Okay."

    ...another 5 seconds later...

    MD: "...are YOU Mr. Knox...?"

    ME: "VERY good! Goodbye!"

  11. chivo243 Silver badge

    Even in our formal IT Office

    We get the daily call from the PR person at some company we have already politely told sorry, we already have X platform, it doesn't apply to our current user base - Non Windows. Thank you for the call, have a nice day, and please remove us from your list of prospects. I always direct them to my boss, he loves telling people to shove it!

    1. dan1980

      Re: Even in our formal IT Office


      Some days these calls make my life a bit happier. Mostly because, as a sysadmin, I am a bitter and warped individual who gains a perverse kind of pleasure in the anguish of other human beings.

      Or maybe I am just a bad person.

      Either way, some days I actually say: put them through to me.

      It's not always anger - sometimes its rudeness, sometimes snarkiness, sometimes brusqueness. Sometimes I simply enjoy wasting their time but my favourite is being able to call their bluff.

      In a way, marketing calls can be very much like people asking you to sign up for gym memberships or charities on the street. First, I'm not going to make any decision like that on the spot simply because you're being friendly. But, whatever the case, you get exactly one polite answer. If you force me to give you a second answer, it will be of the other variety.

      If you're a marketing person making cold calls* then it's okay - we each have our jobs to do and I won't hold yours against you. But accept 'no' for an answer and understand when the person you are speaking to is not interested. If you don't then that is rude and disrespectful. It's your choice but you can hardly complain when you get the same back.

      * - And another thing - don't kid yourself; some random call or e-mail some time in the past does not warm up a cold call.

  12. Sanctimonious Prick

    It's All About Sex

    From that rant (the article), it would appear somebody didn't get any the night before! :D

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: It's All About Sex

      Apparently the author has had a particular rash this month ...

  13. AlbertH

    Marketing Droids get "put on hold" - they get as much Radio 3 down the phone as it takes to realise that they've been "forgotten".... The record (that we're aware of) is over half an hour!

    1. John Tserkezis

      "Marketing Droids get put on hold"

      When I'm in the mood, I say "Yes! I *am* interested - tell me all about it!" then put the phone down and walk way.

    2. Steven Roper

      The record (that we're aware of) is over half an hour!

      That's an achievement to be proud of, even more so given that you kept them holding that long with nothing but hold music.

      I have a specially crafted MP3 file that I've carefully honed over the years to try and match, as closely as possible, the scripts these droids use when pitching something. I came up with it because I found that simply saying I'd get the person and leaving the phone on hold never kept them on the line for more than a minute or so, and I wanted some method for maximising their time wastage while minimising my own. So the MP3 I created goes something like this:

      "Good day, [My company name], Steve speaking...[5 second pause]...Okay...[8 second pause]...Uh huh...[6 second pause]...Probably not, but if you could explain it to me I might be able to refer you to someone... etc, etc.

      The MP3 file is about 30-odd minutes long. The longest I've been able to hold a telemarketer on the line with it before they realise they're talking to an answering machine and hang up, is 17 minutes 36 seconds. The average is around 8-10 minutes.

      So respect to you being able to tie them up for half an hour with nothing but hold music. Well done!

      1. Kevin Johnston

        I used to string them along and my favourite went on for over twenty minutes before I got bored and hung up telling them there was a good advert on TV I wanted to watch. My wife has now banned me from this game but my son has gamely picked up the baton and now critiques their script.

      2. Ol'Peculier
        Thumb Up

        You really...

        need to make that publically available. Could maybe set up a leaderboard to see how other people get on!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You forgot..

    11. SHOUT out random words every NOW and then as if you're speaking in random caps.

    12. SPRINKLE your conversation with words that can be PUMPED up for juvenile shits and giggles.

  15. Shannon Jacobs

    Actually, I like the 'skeptical' attitude, but..

    PR flacks tend to to see it as negative, and the awkward truth is that I'm doubtful that even a glowing review from such a bastion of skepticism as the Register would convince me to run out and buy the product in question. Insofar as the Register's business model depends upon convincing advertisers to spend some of their precious advertising budget with the Reg, perhaps you can see the problem here...

    These days I don't like to waste time with unsolvable problems, but the solution is obvious: The Reg needs a better business model, one that is less dependent upon advertising. Even better and somewhat paradoxically, being less dependent upon advertising could increase your credibility and the value of the advertising you do sell...

    I suggest the Reg modify their subscription model to a kind of extended post-reading reaction model. Unfortunately, it doesn't work too well with the old 'charity share brokerage', since the Reg rarely reports on the kinds of problems that need charitable solutions. In some cases, perhaps the projects could be new software, but mostly I think the post-article projects would just be sponsorship of that article or paying for research on related articles. If enough of the subscribers agree, then you transfer the money for a job well done.

    1. Cliff

      Re: Actually, I like the 'skeptical' attitude, but..

      And yet they make money and have kept running for aaaaaages - their business model can't be as fucked as your post suggests?

  16. Winkypop Silver badge

    In Hell...

    Ex PR flacks clean the toilets.

    With their own toothbrush.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: In Hell...

      They *are* the toilets.

      1. cray74

        Re: In Hell...

        Eighth circle, bolgia 2: "Flatterers also exploited other people, this time using language. They are steeped in human excrement, which represents the words they produced."

        Maybe PR hacks fit in bolgia 1 (panderers and seducers), but being whipped by demons while jogging in circles didn't sound as amusing than dropping them in bolgia 2.

  17. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Number seven

    > “Hello, is that [x]?”

    That seems like a perfectly normal (I use it myself, all the time) initial enquiry.

    If the person who picks up the ringing phone and unhelpfully and redundantly just grunts "Hello" without introducing themselves, or identifying who's phone they have answered, or the name of the "desk" you have called, then asking if that is the person who you called is realistic. It should also be the optimal opener, too: since the laws of probability suggest that the person answering [x['s phone would be [x] him/her/it's self.

    As far as telephone etiquette is concerned, unless you are staffing the desk at one of the Home or Foreign Office's more discrete centres of operation, then a named introduction is both polite and time-saving for both sides. If you're shy (or running a sales campaign) then it doesn't even have to be your real name - though if you parents passed on their last name of Ferkov you might choose to put some effort into the annunciation - or not.

    1. Cliff

      Re: Number seven

      I answer my phone with 'Hello.' if I'm unsure of the caller. I don't see that my first act should be volunteering information to a stranger who initiated the call, even before they've justified themselves for the intrusion (phone calls are synchronous, so by definition more intrusive than message queues like email, SMS - they're convenient for the caller, not recipient).

      As for those fuckers who play an automated PPI or accident claim message from spoofed numbers, clearly I will NEVER give you a penny if your basic introduction is so impersonal and duplicitous.

    2. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Number seven

      I answer the business line with my name, if I can't see who's calling, or with an appropriate apellation if I know who the other party is.

      It is, therefore, particularly irksome when, having picked up the phone and said my name, people then enquire if they are indeed speaking to Nigel Whitfield. I have, on occasion, testily reminded them that the clue was in the way I said my name when I answered the phone.

      If it's a call on the ex-directory number, or the published home number that has somehow made it past the voicemail prompts, I'm afraid I tend to be less polite and any queries as to my identity are met with a brusque "Who are you and what do you want?"

      1. Hollerith 1

        Re: Number seven

        I discovered that, when I picked up, the phone didn't actually connect my caller to me for about 1,5 seconds, so when I said Hello [my] Firstname Lastname, they got the last few letters of my last name, and so had to ask 'Is this Firstname Lastname?' So I modified my script to say, 'Good morning/afternoon, [my] Firstname Lastname', and I stopped getting the question. Which saved everyone aggro. The aggro started when they then asked 'How are you today?'

        1. ChrisBedford

          Re: Number seven

          The aggro started when they then asked 'How are you today?'

          Call centre drones in South Africa (and I have no reason to believe this is a uniquely South African trait, since we slavishly follow whatever's "trending") reply to the (expected) response 'I'm fine thanks and you' with the squirm-inducing 'I'm very well, thank you for asking'. Obviously someone (probably in telemarketing PR) has instilled the philosophy that obsequiousness is the same as politeness, or that grovelling makes sales, or something.

          My standard response is therefore, 'I'm fine'. If the drone then tells me he's 'fine, thank you f- ' I forcefully interrupt and tell him/her I didn't ask. This will, without fail, cause them to stumble and lose their place in the script. At that point, firmly believing you should always kick a man when he's down, I start barking, 'Well, what do you want?'. Usually a recipe for being able to get them to look forward to ending the conversation.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Number seven

        I answer the business line with my name, if I can't see who's calling, or with an appropriate apellation if I know who the other party is.

        It is, therefore, particularly irksome when, having picked up the phone and said my name, people then enquire if they are indeed speaking to Nigel Whitfield. I have, on occasion, testily reminded them that the clue was in the way I said my name when I answered the phone.

        Actually, some VoIP systems I had the displeasure to use take a short time to settle in (sorry about the non-tech term :) ).. That means they rather garble the first second or so, so they may very well not have heard your name properly.

  18. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "As for those fuckers who play an automated PPI or accident claim message from spoofed numbers, clearly I will NEVER give you a penny if your basic introduction is so impersonal and duplicitous."

    Those ones should be played along and cajoled into giving over enough information to be able to identify the company(ies) involved. Apart from anything else, it keeps them from bothering the potentially gullible.

    Workside, I get a fair number of calls where they've claimed to speak to XYZ and are following up - mute, ask, shake of head, means that we will put you on the list of companies to NEVER deal with. If you're willing to lie in order to make a sale then your product isn't worth our effort.

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      "Those ones should be played along and cajoled"

      That is not a good idea, because the scum who use automated messages require you to call them back if you want to speak to someone. This confirms your number as live and adds you to a list of numbers that will be called more often.

  19. Haku

    "This column is inspired by a particularly rash month of phonecalls."

    You can probably get some cream for that.

    Like a glass of Baileys.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: "This column is inspired by a particularly rash month of phonecalls."

      > You can probably get some cream for that.

      or call in a telephone sanitizer.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: "This column is inspired by a particularly rash month of phonecalls."

        >a telephone sanitizer.

        A lot of people would pay a lot of money for a call sanitiser that actually works.

        1. Isendel Steel

          Re: "This column is inspired by a particularly rash month of phonecalls."

          What is the going rate for leaves to pounds ?

  20. Elmer Phud

    Life Skills

    Not slamming the phone down (if you actually have time to spare) on the 'my name is' callers can be fun.

    It's a bit of a giveaway when they do not tell you the company they are supposedly calling on behalf of.

    I go in to 'Witness Mode' which is where I see how long I can keep them on my 'doorstep' before they give up or are rescued by a colleague.

    The biggest clue is 'I'm not trying to sell you anything' - which is where I ask why they are calling in the first place as I asssume they are calling to offer me some sort of service which will entail me parting with money, after that more questions from me while they they to think of answers that are not on the script.

    Thnk of it as a reverse-troll call.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Number five

    I love it when they try to pull the 'get to the boss' number by attempting an authoritative voice (especially the snooty version) they just don't have the brains to deliver. It adds an extra pleasure to summarily telling them to piss off, especially if its Friday.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For internal calls, I answer "Hello, Pizza Hut, can I take your order?" Surprising the number of people hang up thinking that they have a wrong number. Got the idea of discovering that my home number was a couple of transposed digits from the local Chinese takeaway. If I have to give out my number to some one I don't like, I would "accidently" swap the last two digits...

    I did once get a double glazing saleman call once, trying to offer me a great deal. Talked to him for a few minutes then asked "This is an industrial unit, don't have any windows, will that be a problem?"

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      The annoying habit some people have of quoting London codes as 0208 and so forth results in a huge number of wrong calls to my number, which begins with 8880; there's a branch of Pizza Hut that has a number which, if you put an extra 8 at the start, because you're a dimwit who thinks the code is 0208 instead of 020, will give you my number. People leave orders for pizzas on my voicemail.

      1. Ian 55

        880 Pizza

        That's probably enough to identify it to no more than a couple of numbers...

  23. Hollerith 1

    Code for London: 020

    Sadly, I foam at the mouth over this. 0207 0208, and then your number is....? So if I dialled that within the code area, I would reach you?

    1. mhoulden

      Re: Code for London: 020

      I had a similar problem in Leeds, with 0113 vs 01132. However the people that got through to me were expecting a newly opened mental hospital rather than a pizza takeaway. After a month or so of calls at all kinds of strange times I eventually got fed up and had my number changed.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to get people following up on the press releases about their new website or whatever. But PRs have been told for years that it's an irritating waste of time. ON one occasion I was writing a feature about a conference destination and a hotel in the same place called me and said 'We're taking a full page advertisement'. My reaction was 'So? Am I supposed to care?' More recently when one of the team let me know a PR was calling I usually told them to tell the PR I had died, hang gliding down Mount Everest.

  25. TAJW

    Scum of the earth

    PR and.Salesmen are among the lowest forms of scum on earth. The sad thing is they don't have to be..and they do perform an important function. It seems the people pulled to that profession have no morals and are immune to embarrassment, so we all hate them.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Scum of the earth

      Despite my grumble in the first comment, I think that's unduly harsh. There are some excellent PR people, who take time to build relationships, without a hard sell, will dig around to point you in the right direction when you need to speak to a technical person, and understand the concept of deadlines.

      When I first started in this business, there were probably quite a lot of those, and it would often be a joy to hear from them, as they would call when they had something genuinely useful to offer.

      However, with the explosion of blogs and online media, there has been a resultant explosion in the number of 'PR' people and some seem to have very little training, beyond a home counties name, a posh accent and an Alice band in their hair (I generalise, but I'm sure many will know the type). PR is sometimes measured in terms of bums on seats, because the big boss doesn't want see any empty ones when he's talking about his latest gizmo, and since much is published online, a lot of people don't seem to grasp the concept of a hard deadline in the way that they used to.

      Worse, some seem unable to grasp that "journalist" is a broad term, and we all have our specialities. I mentioned the oddly targeted products in my first post, but at least it was a gadget. Some of the Jessicas and Amandas seem to have bought a list of "journalist emails" and think that's all they need to to do get coverage. So, I'm not along amongst my colleagues in receiving utterly mystifying releases on topics ranging from double glazing to mexican food stores.

      In the old days, when much was sent by post, of course there was a real cost, and perhaps that helped PR people ensure they send information to the best people. Sadly now, all too often, information is sent out indiscrimately and the money saved wasted on stupid follow-up calls and emails that wouldn't be so necessary if information was properly targeted.

      1. Jedit Silver badge

        "There are some excellent PR people"

        Indeed, some PR people are dead.

  26. mark 63 Silver badge

    I've taken to answering my landline "Hello Battersea Dogs Home, Jack Russell speaking" , unfortunately 9 out of 10 times its a machine calling that dosent get the joke.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My personal favourite is "Hello, Lesbian Switchboard; may I take your order?"

      Completely bluescreens most people.

      1. Wommit

        War office, wanna fight?

        or, for land lines only - Can't talk now, I'm driving.

  27. Dylbot

    If you call and ask for my boss and I tell you he's in a meeting, it means he's sat opposite me and he's just heard me confirm your name and shook his head. If I tell you to email through to a generic address, it means I'm adding you to the mail filter. If you ask for "the director of IT" or "the managing director's office", I'll hang up immediately. If you waste my fucking time keeping me on the phone, purporting to be from an electronics company but getting our contact details from a 10 year old complement slip, and then saying you can't email through because "you don't have emails", then I invite you to go and read a few BOFH stories, realise the kind of people you're dealing with when you hassle an IT department with pointless bullshit, then maybe send me a tin of chocolates or something similar as restitution for your crimes.

    1. Dylbot

      Oh, and if I tell you to "ram it up your bellend you incompetent fucksponge" it means you've made the foolish mistake of trying to sell me a cloud storage solution or ask me about my IT supply flow before I've had chance to drink my morning coffee.

  28. Ol'Peculier

    Electricity/gas/water supply

    I used to have an office in a managed block, so the rent covered everything apart from phone/broadband.

    If I was feeling particuarly playful when a salesman called I'd keep going until I'd end it with "but we don't get gas/leccy/water bills. But you still say you can save me money? Please do carry on...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two amusing sales scenarios (but not over the phone)

    1. A very tired, hassled young man rang the door of my first floor flat and asked if I had ever considered patio doors, didn't get the joke when I asked if they came with a free parachute.

    2. Very smart gentleman came to the door to tell me he knew I didn't have a Sky subscription and would I like one. I explained that it would be pointless as we hadn't had a television for some years. He had clearly been well trained to handle any objection but this one. After several seconds looking completely gobsmacked, he blurted out "but what on earth do you do when you're at home?"

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      "but what on earth do you do when you're at home?"

      "We look at photographs of door to door salesmen while we pleasure ourselves"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Damn - that wasn't the answer we thought of

  30. Mrs Stretton

    In defense of PRs

    Whilst I agree that most of your comments are valid and many practitioners can let our industry down, please remember that most good PRs work hard to supply journalists with valid content for your publication that save many of you hours of work and research. PRs enable you to find the information quickly so that you have the ability to share news content with your audience. On the opposite side of the table, journalists can also be extremely arrogant, lacking in manners and dismissive to PRs who are merely doing their job and genuinely trying to ensure the right information gets into the right hands. Remember when you are rude to a PR, one day they could be working for the very brand you want to get breaking news from and fast.

    1. Ian 55

      "most good PRs"

      What do the other ones do? The other good ones and the far greater number of crap ones?

      Still I suppose if you have plenty of companies stupid enough to pay the crap ones, or who can't specify a contract in terms of actually useful results, it shouldn't be a surprise that the crap ones are in a majority.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personal Skills of IT bods

    Looking through the huge list of comments, it's no suprise the IT community gets a bad name for being snarky, sarcastic and with no people skills.

    We complain that as sysadmins users are rude, uncooperative and outright lie to us when actually all you want to do is help and keep things running instead of falling into a black hole that inevitably would be your fault if unfixed. How are you any better?

    1. Dylbot

      Re: Personal Skills of IT bods

      Yes, because hating cold callers with little to no knowledge of their target market, the products they sell, and possibly even their own name is purely an IT industry thing. I have never seen a single person that doesn't work in IT complain about this or screen calls.

  32. Glenn 6

    Sounds like PR people in your business are as bad as employment agencies are for IT Managers. Constantly calling peddling their agencies. Ugh.

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