How To Get Banks To Stop Calling You: One Man’s Fight Against The Banking Industry

Several months ago, I got my first smartphone. (It’s an iPhone, and I love it, so please don’t try to sell me on why iPhones suck compared to non-iPhone phones.)

Something funny started happening the day I got my new phone. I started getting calls from no fewer than 3 financial institutions, inquiring after an Angela García Lopez. I am not Angela García Lopez. I do not know Angela García Lopez. I most certainly do not have power of attorney over her bank accounts. So why do the banks keep calling me?

I was getting calls nearly every day. They started at 8 in the morning, and continued until 7 at night.

Turns out, Angela García Lopez was the owner of my phone number before me. I guess she sucks at paying her credit card bills (and who doesn’t, at least a little, these days), and so the banks keep calling me, asking me  when she is going to pay them what she owes.

Still with me?

This has been going on for months. Months of me answering the phone, telling them they have the wrong number, them acting like I’m trying to pull a fast one, then me yelling at them, and hanging up.

I am not from Mexico.  I live here, and my Spanish is getting pretty good, but it’s a long way from perfect, and I know that I don’t sound Mexican.  I also know that I am a man.  Well, male, at least.  I know there is no way that anyone in their right mind would mistake me for a Latina woman.

That fact has not stopped the banks.

I knew that I was not going to win with logic and reason.  So, I adopted a Bugs Bunny approach, and decided to fight fire with fire.

Last week I started fighting back.  I decided that each phone call would have a theme, and I would try to stick to my chosen theme as well as I could.  Subtitles from movies I watched recently proved to be very useful.  (You’ll see.)

What follows is a transcript of the last 13 calls between me and the worst offending bank, and unless otherwise indicated, translated from Spanish.

Call #1 (The Rosetta Stone.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: No.
Bank: Excuse me?
Me: She has gone to bed.
Bank: Do you know when she plans to wake up?
Me: She runs.  I run.  He runs.  They run.  You run.
Bank: Excuse me?
Me: My car is blue.  My cat is yellow.  The flower is red.
Bank: Um …

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #2 (1st Grade French Immersion.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: [Singing, in French.] Je m’appelle Marie Soleil. Bonjour!
Bank: [beat] Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: [Singing, in French.] C’est l’Halloween, c’est l’Halloween, hey!

[Bank hangs up.]

Call#3 (Absurd.  I Hadn’t Slept In Days.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: Would like you to walking? Walking?  To the purple?
Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please, sir?
Me: Your phone cannot be the connected phone.
Bank: Um …
Me: I haven’t squirrels today!
Bank: Excuse me?
Me: THINK ME THE DUMB?
Bank: Sir, I don’t …
Me: I AM THE PIZZA!!!

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #4 (Indignant Customer.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: I want to speak with your supervisor.
Bank: Pardon me?
Me: I have been waiting for over six hours. I am tired. I want to speak to your supervisor.
Bank: You’ve been waiting?
Me: That is what I said. I am tired. Please connect me to Angela García Lopez, please.
Bank: …
Me: Listen to me. I have been waiting for Angela García Lopez for six days. Connect me to her phone. Are you blind?
Bank: May I speak … Is this Angela García Lopez?
Me: WHAT?? Who told you the phone?
Bank: May I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: What games are you playing? I have the things! Today! Much things! Connect me! Never! Nobody! No!
Bank: …
Me: Hello?

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #5 (A Little TLC.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: [Singing, in English] Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls, please stick to the …
Bank: Angela García Lopez, please!
Me: … RIVERS AND THE LAKES THAT YOU’RE USED TO …
Bank: ANGELA GARCÍA LOPEZ, please!
Me: … I KNOW THAT YOU’RE GONNA HAVE IT …
Bank: SIR!!
Me: [whispering] … but I think you’re moving too fast.

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #6 (Ghostbusters.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: [In English.] There is no Angela. Only Zuul.
Bank: [In Spanish.] Excuse me?
Me: [In English.] There is no Angela. Only Zuul!
Bank: [In English.] Can you tell me when Angela will be there?
Me: [beat] Zuul not know. Zuul … was out late. Too hungover.
Bank: When is Angela there?
Me: Call later. Speak to Gatekeeper. Maybe … Key Master.

[I hang up.]

Call #7 (Home Alone.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
Bank: Hello?
Me: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #8 (The Princess Bride.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: Hallo! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepared dead.
[Pause.]
Bank: “Prepare to die.”
Me: [beat] What?
Bank: You said, “Prepared dead.” The proper way to say this phrase is, “Prepare to die.”
Me: Oh.
Bank: May I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: She died.
Bank: She died?
Me: Yes.
Bank: Oh.
Me: She also killed my father.
Bank: What?
Me: She has no preparation.

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #9 (Gladiator.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: Yes.
Bank: Mrs. García Lopez?
Me: I am her.
Bank: …
Me: What you want from Angela?
Bank: … um …
Me: I am very concerned.
Bank: Angela García Lopez?
Me: These studying peaches. Angela is busy bee. Busy little bee.  Buzz buzz.  She has a lot of little works to do. Talk to Angela.  What are you doing, little bee?
Bank: Excuse me, sir, I think I have the wrong number.
Me: Are you not entertained?  Is this not why you are here?

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #10 (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: I am her.
Bank: Mrs. Angela?
Me: Yes.
Bank: You’re Angela García Lopez?
Me: Yes. The Sausage King of Chicago.
Bank: Okay. This is                             bank calling. We have some concerns about your account.
Me: All right.  What is my account number?
Bank:                                       .
Me: That’s what I thought.
Bank: Pardon me?
Me: Is this my credit card?
Bank: Yes, ma’am.
Me: What is my expiry date?
Bank: October, 2015.
Me: And my security number?
Bank: I can’t tell you.
Me: Please?
Bank: I don’t have access to that information.
Me: You touch me, I yell “rat.”
Bank: Why do you want me to tell you?
Me: Well, you call me a lot. It would be worth it if I could buy things with Angela’s credit cards. You know, for all of the time I spend talking with you.
Bank: Can you connect me with Angela García Lopez, please?
Me: Nine times.
Bank: Pardon?
Me: NINE. Times.

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #11 (Poltergeist.)

Bank: Hello?
Me: What’s up?
Bank: Angela García Lopez?
Me: Daughter?
Bank: Excuse me?
Me: Lupita?
Bank: No.
Me: Lupita! It’s mommy! Where are you?
Bank: Is Ange…
Me: Lupita! Can you see a bright light?
Bank: Sir …
Me: Walk towards the bright light, Lupita. Walk towards the light! Grandma is waiting, baby!
Bank: Sir, I need to spe…
Me: [Sobbing uncontrollably] I didn’t know! God knows, I didn’t know!!
Bank: Sir, please …
Me: Not fair, God!
Bank: Sir!
Me: Why my … asparagus? Is that the right word? Asparagus?
Bank: Yes, that is how you say it.
Me: Thank you. Why my asparagus, God!! I almost won!!!
Bank: Can I speak with …
Me: This house … is clean.
Bank: … Angela García Lopez
Me: DON’T TOUCH MY BABY!

[Bank hangs up.]

Call #12 (Taxi Driver.)

Bank: Hello, may I speak with …
Me: … Angela García Lopez, please?
Bank: Excuse me?
Me: May I speak with Angela García Lopez, please?
Bank: Is this Angela?
Me: Are you talking to me?
Bank: Yes.
Me: Are you Angela?
Bank: I’m not Angela.
Me: Well, I don’t see anybody else here.  You talking to me?
Bank: What?
Me: Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talkin’ to?

[I hang up.]

Call #13 (Les jeux sont faits.  The game is up.)

Me: Hello?
Bank Supervisor: Who is this?
Me: Excuse me?
Bank Supervisor: Who is speaking?
Me: You called me. Who are you?
Bank Supervisor: This is                            , supervisor for                             bank.  Now, tell me who you are.
Me: Well, this isn’t Angela García Lopez.
Bank Supervisor: Sir, why are you wasting my staff’s time?
Me: Why are you wasting mine?
Bank Supervisor: I am not.
Me: Kinda sounds like it.
Bank Supervisor: I am not interested in what you think.
Me: Clearly. So, should we just hang up now, or …
Bank Supervisor: Why are you wasting my staff’s time with your child answers?
Me: Because I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and …
Bank Supervisor: This is what I mean. I know that is a song.
Me: … let them lead the way. I am trying to show them how silly they are by asking for the same person over and over again. When you call someone and they do not answer, but somebody else who is not that person keeps answering, and that new person tells you are calling the wrong number, and you continue to call that number, then you are wasting that person’s time.
Bank Supervisor: They are doing their job.
Me: Their job is “wasting people’s time”?
Bank Supervisor: No.
Me: That sounds like a terrible business idea.
Bank Supervisor: Our business is not …
Me: Is your company called “Shitty Business Ideas S.A. de C.V.”?
Bank Supervisor: Please don’t swear at me, sir.
Me: Fuck his hat.
Bank Supervisor: Sir.
Me: Fuck their hats.
Bank Supervisor: Sir …
Me: I’m practicing my conjugation.
Bank Supervisor: What?
Me: I have repeatedly told your staff that there is no Angela García Lopez at this number. Yet they call. They call me once a day. I am not wasting your time, sir. You are wasting mine.
Bank Supervisor: No. You are wasting our time! We will cancel your account if you do not stop!
Me: I can also talk loudly!  In Spanish!!
Bank Supervisor: Good for you!
Me: I have been practicing!!
Bank Supervisor: Do you want us to cancel your account?
Me: I don’t even have an account with your bank! I am not … Angela … García … Fucking Lopez!!! Stop calling me!!!
Bank Supervisor: This is the number that we have for Angela García Lopez.
Me: Well, that’s your problem! She no longer owns this number.
Bank Supervisor: Well, what do you suggest? You’re so smart. What do you want us to do?
Me: You really don’t want me to answer that.
Bank Supervisor: No. Probably not. So?
Me: The phone book, dummy! Call the phone company and ask them!!
Bank Supervisor: Couldn’t you just change your phone number?
Me: That’s the easier solution? Why don’t you delete this number from your database?
Bank Supervisor: We can’t.
Me: Well, then, I am going to keep giving your employees ridiculous answers.
Bank Supervisor: Don’t you have any respect?
Me: This is MY phone!! I am not calling you! You are calling me!
Bank Supervisor: This is the only number that we have for Angela García Lopez.
Me: Facebook.
Bank Supervisor: What?
Me: Facebook her. Look her up on Facebook.
Bank Supervisor: I don’t …
Me: Then have one of your staff members do it for you. They seem to have lots of time on their hands. They could use the time they normally spend talking to me about spaghetti, movies, and annual rainfall in Guanajuato, and they could show a little initiative, and FIND CARMEN SANDIEGO!
Bank Supervisor: Excuse me?
Me: Angela.
Bank Supervisor: Sir, could you please just let us speak with Angela García Lopez?
Me: You think I’m hiding her?
Bank Supervisor: Well …
Me: Oh my god. You people are idiots.
Bank Supervisor: That’s not nice.
Me: And yet, true. Please stop calling me.
Bank Supervisor: We cannot.
Me: Why?
Bank Supervisor: Unless we are provided with a new number from the original client, we must continue to call the numbers we have.
Me: So it’s a company policy.
Bank Supervisor: Yes.
Me: The company you work for.
Bank Supervisor: Yes, that’s right.
Me: The company you work for … who CAME UP WITH THE POLICY.
Bank Supervisor: Sir …
Me: It’s not like it’s in the fucking BIBLE, dude. It’s a totally MADE UP policy!
Bank Supervisor: I cannot change it.
Me: Well, if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.
Bank Supervisor: It appears so.
Me: In that case, I challenge you to a battle of wits.
Bank Supervisor: I don’t …
Me: What you do not smell is called Iocane powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadlier poisons known to man.
Bank Supervisor: Are you threatening me?
Me: The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right and who is dead.
Bank Supervisor: Sir, I am reporting this phone call to the authorities. Goodbye.

[Bank hangs up.]

So far, I have not heard from the authorities.

About Craig Norton

I also write a little wine blog with my sister-in-law-to-be called The Sunday Bottles. Check it out ... IF YOU DARE! http://thesundaybottles.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in PB&J and tagged Banking Industry, Ghostbusters, The Princess Bride. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to How To Get Banks To Stop Calling You: One Man’s Fight Against The Banking Industry

  1. Bucky says:

    Really good Norton

  2. Samantha Abu hadid says:

    Ha! The perfect way to deal with annoying callers.

  3. Heather says:

    I am sitting here laughing my ass off. Good show!

  4. Doug says:

    WE have a policy against laughing you know. Perhaps you could change your sense of humour?

  5. Doug says:

    Brinnngggg brinnnngggg (Craig answers)

    Hello?

    Hi this is Angela García Lopez, are there any messages?

  6. Diego says:

    hahaha. Now I know what you meant. well, shouldn´t be a problem, unless people forgets what they were searching for and invests 30 min reading jokes….I did. Talk to you soon.

  7. Pingback: Vulnerability makes me uncomfortable but people are kind of amazing | Well Read Robyn

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