Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Magical Thinking?

About a month ago, I started finding "missed calls" on my cell phone from a mysterious 800 number. After several of these, I tried calling the number back, but got only a recording that revealed nothing and would let me go no further until I "entered my account number". When the calls persisted, I finally answered the phone. A woman named "Kim" asked to speak with "Maria Stone". I told Kim that she had the wrong number, and asked that she please stop calling me.

But she/they did not. After seeing the number come up a couple more times, I answered again, this time encountering a woman named "Gina" who also wished to speak with "Maria Stone". I asked what it was regarding-- she said "A personal financial matter". I explained to Gina that I do not know Maria Stone, that my telephone number has no connection to her, remarked that I had already asked for the calls to stop ("Well, it wasn't me you asked", she said), and stated in no uncertain terms that they needed stop calling me.

The next day, more calls. Finally I answered again, speaking with "Alicia", also (no surprise) looking for Maria. I asked where she was calling from. She replied by asking me if I was Maria's husband. I asked again where she was calling from. She replied by stating it was a "personal matter" and asking again if Maria was my wife. I told her I do not have a wife, I do not know Maria, stated that I had already requested twice not to be harassed from this number, and asked where she was calling from. She replied that she had never spoken to me before, and was not harassing me. I pretty much screamed at her to ask, again, what company she was calling from. Barely audibly, she said "HSBC", and told me to calm down. Never having heard of "HSBC" before I asked where her agency was located-- she replied "We are not an agency, sir", and hung up.

HSBC stands for Hong Kong - Shanghai Banking Corporation. A little Google research revealed that my experience with HSBC is not unusual. Based on the vitriol of complaints from people harassed by HSBC who don't owe them money, I hate to think what they do to people who actually do owe them money. Needless to say, I starting wishing ill on this bank.

So I cannot say I was unpleased, this week, to read the news that HSBC may lose a billion dollars from investing in Bernard Madoff's pyramid scheme swindle. Ha! Ha! Why don't you guys call Bernard's house-- maybe you can get his wife on the phone and pressure her for your billion back! I entertained a fantasy that my cursing of HSBC had led to this pox upon their house (or at least, that it was karmic retribution for their evildoings).

But if I have that effect, I really need to be more careful, because it is equally possible that my rantings against the bell-ringers caused this. Which I would feel really, really bad about.


Blogger The MSILF said...

Hmm, as far as I know, HSBC is this HUGE bank in Asia, London, etc, it's like Bank of America or something...not a sleazy thing at all...

12/16/08, 11:02 AM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

"Huge bank" and "sleazy thing" are not mutually exclusive.

Try Googling the phone number they call from: 800-684-8429. Some of the harassment complaints are from people who do owe them money... but many are from people who have no connection with the person HSBC wants to find.

12/16/08, 11:10 AM  

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