Hello? Menswear Please

debenhamsMy girlfriend and I moved house in November 2002. One of the many problems was a change of telephone exchange as we moved to the other side of the river, so we got a new phone number. The BT woman gave us a choice, and I just said give me a number with double numbers, so I can remember it quicker. Fine no problems, will take a 24 hours.

True to their word, for once, the phone line was set up the next day. Naturally I didn’t get a phone call from BT telling me that it was all done and dusted, oh no, what I did get was someone ringing up and asking “Hello, can I have menswear please?”. Huh!

Ok, that was signal the line was all ready, so I thought I’d ring around my family and friends to tell them the new landline number. I contacted my Mum and Dad, my brothers and my girlfriends parents and then I got another call, this time asking for kitchenware. I asked who they thought they were getting hold of and they said Debenhams. So they went away and must have dialled correctly so I ain’t heard from them since.

Two calls in a hour for Debenhams? Surely we can’t be that similar. I looked in the phone book and, what are the odds eh, our phone number was the same as the Debenhams in Exeter, but with two digits transposed.

The calls continued, “Hello Estee Laudee please” or “Jewellery please”. There was only so much I could take of this, and I sort of convinced my girlfriend not to change the number as I ain’t losing my broadband connection for another 10 days while BT engineers fuck around flicking switches at the exchange.

So for pure entertainment as I was unemployed when we first moved in, I got a section of Volker Tripp’s “Harm Me with Harmony” tune, and looped it. Right I was ready for them now 🙂

Me: “Hello is that Debenhams?”
Customer: “Yes Sir/Madam, I’ll just put you on hold”

Put the phone next to the speakers, double click the icon on my desktop, and the person at the other end of the phone gets a couple minutes of “fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck reputation”.

Me: “Sorry Sir/Madam, would you call ba… oh they’ve hung up.”

Another was just to tell them that the store was closed and suggest a shop with clothes of similar quality… like Millets. Or I’d tell them that they sounded far too working class for Debenhams to be interested in their custom.

The calls have now stopped sadly.

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