Grandma Lorna reveals her trick for getting rid of unwanted callers

Simply, effective, and entirely cost free, Grandma Lorna’s fool proof way of getting rid of nuisance phone callers in seconds is painless and works every time ­– but it comes as a surprise to her son Ollie that she’d thought of it. His lesson? Never underestimate your mother…

“I may be getting on a bit, but my brain is as sharp as ever,” said Grandma Lorna, bustling into the room with teacups and a small mountain of cake on a tray.

Her son Ollie was placatory. “I didn’t mean to suggest you were losing it Mum,” he said. “I’m just trying to look after you, and I thought having some call filtering technology on the phone might keep those nuisance callers out of your hair.”

“It might,” she said, distributing cups onto saucers and splashing milk into them. “But it might put off the friends who ring me up. I do still have friends, you know.

“I really don’t know what’s wrong with the younger generation. Every time you see a problem, you look to technology to solve it, as if there were no other way. But how do you think we got things done in the days before we had TV and central heating and that WiFi thing?” She waved her hand absently and dismissively. “When he first heard of it your dad thought it was some new kind of stereo. I might not know much, but even I knew it wasn’t that.”

“Hifi,” said Ollie.

ExpenseOnDemand: good technology
“Whatever,” said his mother, quietly proud that she’d used what she saw as a ‘younger person’s word. “The point is that some technology is good. Take ExpenseOnDemand, that money management app thing you’ve got your dad using to keep an eye on our spending. It’s really helpful, and we have a closer eye on how much money we have available.

“I’ll admit that it’s a big help, especially so when he first retired, and we had to be extra careful about spending because we were on a reduced income; pensioners, you see. And I suppose it’ll go on being useful because we’re on a fixed income, so prices will go up probably more than our income, we’ll have to keep an eye on that.

“But it’s a big leap to say that just because one piece of technology is very good in its specialist niche that all technology is the best way to deal with everything. Don’t even get me started on ‘live chat’ and pressing different buttons for this and that during phone calls. ‘Your call is important to us’ indeed. Poppycock. If it were, they’d have more people available to answer the phones, but that’s another story.”

Protecting the vulnerable
Ollie secretly thought his mum had needed no help at all in climbing onto her hobbyhorse but decided against mentioning it. Instead, he drew her gently back to his desire to have his parents’ phone fitted with call filtering technology. “The thing is, mum, these people who ring you up can be really persistent and can sort of trick you into parting with money. And once they’ve done it, they’ll keep on doing it. Older people are more vulnerable to this kind of thing.”

Without realising it, he’d touched a nerve. Lorna was indeed retired, and getting older, and didn’t much care for it. “Just because I’ve been alive a long time doesn’t make me vulnerable,” she said. “I’m far from being a soft touch. There’s a phrase you ought to think about: ‘older and wiser’. I’m both of those things, and because I’m not trying to do lots of things at once, like work for a living and look after a young family, like you do, I have time to think about things, and I’ve developed a call filter of my own.”

Ollie was impressed and told her so. “How does it work?” he asked.

“It’s simple. The best ideas always are. When someone rings with anything that sounds like a sales call, I put on my old lady voice and say ‘Oh, I’m sorry dear, I’m only the cleaner. The householder isn’t in’. Works every time; they end the call faster than you can say Jack Robinson. They know I have no spending power, do you see? That’s all they’re after, so instantly I become useless to them. Would you like a piece of cake,” she asked, a twinkle in her eye.