"Many people are refinancing their homes! Wouldn't you like to take advantage of a refinancing to make your mortgage payments lower?"
Honestly, I'd probably do anything up to, but not including, clubbing a harp seal to make my payments go down. And if it came right down to it that seal would be better off never turning his back on me.
"Answer just a few questions and we can give you an estimate! See how much you could save! No obligation, it's a free estimate! What have you got to lose?"
That's a good point, I thought. What do I have to lose? There's no obligation, and it's free.
Okay, so I admit, I was curious. And never having actually been a cat owner my mind did not immediately jump to that old saying about curiosity and it's detrimental effects on the feline population. I started filling in answers.
- Amount left on your mortgage? (We will not share this information.)
- Got it...
- Current interest rate? (We will not share this information.)
- Location of house? (City, State, etc.) (We will not share this information.)
- Not a problem...
- Your name? (We will not share this information.)
- Well... okay, I suppose that couldn't hurt ... besides, Google Chrome had auto-filled this in for me already.
- Your E-mail address? (We will not share this information.)
- Well, they say they're not going to share it, and I guess I have to give them something...
- Your phone number? (We will not share this information.)
- Well, it's my cell phone... this seems to be going a little far just for some program to throw me a number, but Chrome already auto-filled that too ... I guess I'll leave it ... they said they won't share it...
- Your Social Security Number? (We will not share this information.)
- Okay, that's it. This is way too much just for a program to run some numbers and spit out an answer.
The phone on my hip began to vibrate.
I had two missed calls with voice mails and three text messages on a phone that usually has very few of either. Thinking that there had been some emergency with my son or his mom, I dialed into my voice mail immediately.
"Hi, Rob? This is Karen down at Fidelity Mutual. I was calling in response to this internet request I got for information about the refinancing of your home. If you could give me a call back at -"
There was a beep as I deleted the message. Next message:
"Hi, Rob, this is Mark at Mortgage Mutual, and I was -BEEP"
I checked the texts I had waiting. All from mortgage companies.
Those sons of @#$%es shared my information! I understand now that that was the plan all along, and what I took to be some little automatic stunt program was actually to get all these people to call me to work out estimates with me.
I don't have time.
I don't have the inclination.
I don't have the patience.
So now I just don't answer my phone and just pick up the voice mails occasionally, stabbing the 'delete' button like a maniac. All I hear are suave voices and the deleting beep.
"Hi Rob, this is Elisa over at Western Mutual - BEEP"
"Hello, sir, this is Tom at Quicken - BEEP"
"Good afternoon, Rob, we understand that you recently scored very high on our 'How much information can we yank out of this idiot simply by asking him questions in the internet' test, and I was hoping to talk to you about -BEEP"
So. I'm going to change the outgoing message on my phone. If any of you, my friends, call what you know to be my phone number, you may hear a strangely accented voice (it's a really poor imitation of the South African villain from Lethal Weapon II) saying "Hello, you have reached the telephone of Cestus Wataloobi. I can not answer the phone right now as I am currently out job hunting. Please leave a message after the beep, especially if you are a prospective employer. I accept the job, whatever it is. I'm so broke I can not even afford to eat cat food and am reduced to eating hamster pellets. Leave a message, won't you? BEEP"
Don't worry. It's me.
Or is it? Hmmm.....
Talk to you later!