On Saturday, LC answered the phone and received an automated message from our doctor's surgery. It's rather lucky that she was the one who answered the phone that time.
Here's the thing: when I answer the phone, 90% of the time it's somebody I don't want to talk to. If it's an automated call, I will always hang up as quickly as I realise that that is what it is. And if the first words spoken are "please don't hang up..." or "this is an important message..." then I'll still hang up as quickly as I am able. The advertisers use those words in a vain attempt to persuade us to listen to their garbage, but I refuse.
What this means is that if you have an important message for me, and you must deliver it be telephone, then you must call me in person. A machine cannot do this, at all, ever. Feel free to blame the advertisers for this; personally, I think it's a disgrace. But if it's important, you'll need to recognise the reality that there is literally nothing that a machine can phone to tell me that I am interested in hearing.
And while I'm on the subject of telesales calls: no, I don't believe "Richard" from Mumbai is using his real name. (I recognise the possibility... but in this instance I don't believe it.) In which case, he's opening his call with a blatant and obvious lie - just why would I consider trusting anything he says thereafter, and why would I consider doing business with any company who won't even show me the basic respect of not lying to me in this manner?
#21: "Death of Kings", by Bernard Cornwell (excellent book - the best of the year so far by miles)