Sucking blood from a very hard stone.

I cancelled my mother’s life insurance. It was a bit tricky because I knew if she died the next day I would really be annoyed, but she will be 89 years old tomorrow and as of six months ago, has prepaid her funeral and no longer requires the $8,000 this insurance policy was promising to donate to the cause. I am quite sure she wouldn’t mind a horse-drawn gun carriage and a clutch of paid mourners, but the premium has been coming out of her account for so long she could’ve had a cruise to Barbaoes and back with the excess, so I phoned up and cancelled it. This seemed to come as a shock to the Insurance company. ‘But why?’ the man asked. ‘How does the fact that you’ve made more out of this policy than she’s ever going to get back, sound to you?’ resulted in a sudden silence in which I assumed the person on the other end of the phone got the point I was making. Nope. A few days later I got ‘the finisher’ on the phone, wanting to know the same thing and last night I had yet another call from the  same insurance company. I was not in a good mood.

‘Are you trying to sell me something else because I’ll hang up right now if that’s what you’re trying to do?’  The somewhat rattled unsolicited caller assured me it was not a call to sell me anything.

‘So what part of ‘I’ve cancelled the policy and already had a followup call from one of your offsiders, do you not understand?’ He leapt to his own defence. ‘But Ma’am  this is a courtesy call -‘

Off went the phone. I hate being called Ma’am by some kid who can’t think for himself. And what’s so damned courteous about ringing at tea time?

Then no sooner had I finished with them than Greenpeace got in on the act. Which was hard because I like Greenpeace but not only were they phone phising, they’d entrusted my phone call to someone with a speech impediment. After asking for the 3rd time who she was, she cheerfully admitted to a speech impediment (her words not mine) took a big breath and started to launch the ship of sales.

‘Excuse me. I signed your petition against plastic and that’s all I want to do.’ She tried but I hung up even more annoyed because I knew they were going to do that and I really should know better. Over the years I’ve given donations to  Greenpeace, St John’s Ambulance, Médecins Sans Frontières to name a few and none of them can just take what they’ve been given without spending the equivalent amount of money trying to get me to give more. So what, I ask myself, is the point? I wrote back to St Johns on one of their ‘donation’ slips and explained it’s a waste of time sending me their thick bundles of printed material, but they still turn up twice a year and go straight in the bin. I want to support the charity on my terms and occasionally I think that maybe the best thing I could do for them would be purchase a membership which gives me free ambulance trips to A & E – but why jinx a perfectly good life ? And what do they do when it’s time to renew my membership? Drive the ambulance to my house and park it outside with the siren on?

Hey ho to the RSA, Rape Crisis, Altzheimers Foundation, Heart People, Breast Cancer, and any of the others I can’t just recall at the minute who stand, smiling, outside the supermarket and the mall with their plastic buckets. Their smiling ‘thank you’ when the money goes into the slot is all I need. Not once have they asked me for my phone number, my email, my bank account details, my IRD number, my heart, my liver and my soul. Which is why I will always give them what I have to spare. Job done. Let’s get on with life.


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