Monday, April 23, 2007

Keen And Ambitious Children Up For Adoption...

Eldest child is speaking on his mobile in the kitchen.
Youngest child is speaking on the landline in the adjoining sitting room.

Eldest: So you would like to buy some car insurance?

Youngest: Yes please, that would be lovely.

Eldest: We have the standard insurance at £50 a month, or for a little more you can buy the deluxe insurance.

Youngest: Ooh, deluxe sounds good. What’s that?

Eldest: Well, it covers you for all eventualities apart from abduction by aliens or attack by giant gorillas. It’s a snip at £150 a month.

Youngest: I shall take the deluxe insurance please. Here is my credit card.

Eldest: Could I interest you in any of our other products whilst you are on the line? We have home owner loans, if you own your own property?

Youngest: Oh yes, I own my own property. I’ll take a loan while I’m here.

Eldest: Excellent. I’ll just take your credit card details.

Dismayed Mother: What are you two playing?

Eldest: Hastings Direct! (The word ‘stupid’ was implied, but omitted out of deference to his ageing mother.)

Youngest: 0800 00 10 66!

Dismayed Mother: And how long have you been playing?

Eldest: About half an hour. We’re getting bored now.

Dismayed Mother: And who has phoned whom?

Youngest: I phoned his mobile! (Great. Approximately £7.50 of phone call.)

For those of you who do not watch daytime TV – and I assume that is most of you – Hastings Direct is an insurance company who have an apparently thrilling and memorable advert showing regularly in between Yu-Gi-Oh and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It has obviously had a considerable impact on my children. Perhaps my punishment for forcing left wing politics and intelligent discussion at the dinner table is that they now appear to harbour ambitions to hard sell financial services. I am thinking of enrolling them in the Woodcraft Folk.


Caroline said...

I am fine with the concept, but the use of actual phones (and one being to a mobile) made me giggle. Clever kids! In my day it would be two tin cans tied with a piece of string.


Ms Melancholy said...

Yes, Caroline, exactly! And they could hear each other without using the phones. And we bought them walky talkies at Christmas for that exact reason. (They love to play games that involve them discussing serious things on the phone.)But what do I do about their penchant for selling financial services??

Caroline said...

Can't you get them work selling financial services and then make them pay their wages to you? It's better than making them sweep chimneys. I think children should earn their keep!
(oh my god. I have turned into my granddad!)

Janejill said...

Tell them to read "the moneysavingexpert" then put them to work (but only for you) on a commission basis, you could save many hundreds, and they would certainly know their way around the sharks in the money business; a great start in the world of consumerism... Second home in Venezuela could be on its way

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey, Caroline and Janejill, you may well be on to something here. I should exploit it, shouldn't I? (Apparently we have a shortage of chimney sweeps around here, too.)

Böbø said...

I'll be needing home insurance for my new home soon. Much rather keep it in the family.

Anyhow, how to do you expect the kids of an ex-puckette to rebel? They can hardly spike their hair and wear safety pins. Whereas high pressure financial services "advisers" is bound to set any hippy-dippy alternative parent's teeth on edge.

Don't worry. They'll grow out of it and become a synthesis of the two. So one will become a witch, but with a highly profitable fortune telling/fortune making website.

The other will go to rear sheep in the Falkland isles but develop a surprise seaweed factory farm as food for the displaced masses left by the advancing seas of global warming.

So nothing to worry about x ♥ x

Stray said...

Bobo! I didn't know you and Ms M were related?

She doesn't look at all monkey like, which is a very good thing.

Ms M, I am still threatened by my father with being put to work up a chimney. He is rather dismayed to have such an optimally sized child in the wrong century. He pointed out that as I spent my teen years smoking my lungs black any way it wouldn't even have been cruel!

I could do with some ad sales people. I think putting under 12s to work is just the gimmick I need! Just think how many badly made christmas biscuits get sold by kids each year - yes, this is genius! I can't imagine a soul who wouldn't make a car insurance purchase from a nine year old if offered. Also, mine is up for renewal, please get them to give me a ring. On a landline, obviously.


varske said...

I'm passing this on to my youngest. She always wanted to know who joins the Woodcraft Folk.

And I can say that as a result of being brought up discussing the merits of closing unsafe nuclear power plants for breakfast, the eldest is now going to save the world by going to work for Shell or BP. Still her earlier ambition was to be a princess so it's maybe a more realistic ambition.

What ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Apotheosis said...

Touching on day-time tv, some years ago I was unfortunate enough to be out of work for 3-4 months. During this period, I realised just how depressing and mind numbingly soul destroying day time tv actually is.

It should be banned. Seriously. Hands down the biggest cause of stupidity and mental suicide.

Kostas (

Böbø said...

Stray, therapising people is part profession, part cult. Ms Mmmmm is of course a minor deity, whereas I'm still an acolyte, but working on early sainthood.

PS: I am quite big, but I can provide references to my gentleness, so you needn't fear being crushed by my crush. Though if you wanted to hulk up with a bit of a work-up down the gym, that might take prevent any accidental breakages.


the end of motherhood said...

Well if that really is the telephone number of Hastings Direct, I think they deserves props for a level of cleverness that is perhaps unimaginable here in the USA. The date of the Battle of Hastings is the only date I remember from my 9th grade history class, lo, those many, many years ago.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey BoBo, yes, how will they rebel? My son's father rebelled against his parents by joining Militant: his parents were both communists and they were appalled at his conservatism. Becoming a financial advisor would work nicely, I think.

Hi there Stray, you can have them. Minimum wage for now and I'll send a food parcel once a week.

Hi Varske, oh god, you mean they might go and work for an oil company? Hastings Direct suddenly looks appealing!

Hi ap, yes, it that is true. The children are watching children's tv programmes which are only marginally better. (Although I am secretly quite fond of Sabrina The Teenage Witch .)

Hey again BoBo, quit the idealising transference, OK? I might start to get used to it and that would be no good at all.

Hi TEOM, yes, that really is the number. Clever advertising, huh? And the kids sing it sometimes. It scares me. Thanks for visiting x

The Moon Topples said...

Makes me nostalgic for those warm, Dickensian times when all English children were trained as pickpockets. Same job, more or less, but so much more polite, and less chatty.

Oh, wait...I'm American, which means I've obviously never read any Dickens.

Anyway, I say go the pickpocket route. More thrilling, no phone charges.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey Mahty Moon, thank you for making me laugh this morning. 'Same job, just more polite..' - that is so funny. Yes, pickpockets it is and they can do chimneys in their spare time. I shall be rich before you know it.

Political Umpire said...

Why would the policy have an exception clause for 'Giant Gorillas'? Is this only of the King Kong fantasy variety, or is it mountain Gorillas from Rwanda? I would like to think that if one of the latter trashed my car, it would be covered. No sale to me, if otherwise.

That's so pants said...

I do not watch daytime television but I do happen to know that Sabrina's aunts once gave her a typewriter for her birthday when she announced her aspiration to become a writer. One of the aunts said,

'Now you have all you need to become a real writer.

Salem (the warlock who was turned into a cat - long story) said,

'What, chronic alcoholism and a bad marriage?'

It can be very educational.

Atyllah said...

A game about insurance... OMG! What is childhood coming to?

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey Pumpy, yes, I wasn't sure about that bit either. On checking it seems he was talking about the King Kong variety. Always important to consider when one is buying car insurance. The Yorkshire Moors are plagued with them.

Hey Pants, great line! Actually, I love Sabrina. It is smart and funny. Me and eldest used to watch it regularly.

Hi there Atyllah, I know, I know! Frightening isn't it? There was a famous case a few years ago of a GP - Harold Shipman - who was found guilty of killing many of his elderly patients. I was working in Manchester at the time, quite close to where he had had his surgery. A few days after the story broke local children were found to be playing 'Dr Shipman' in the playground. So it could always be worse.

Boris said...

Very amusing exect for the use of real phones, of course the silver lining was no sales calls for half an hour :)

By the way it really is possible to take out insurance against being abducted by aliens - only in america!


Ms Melancholy said...

No Boris! You are winding me up? Just wait til I tell the kids that one. They will be most tickled.

rivergirlie said...

at woodcraft folk, they teach them to whittle their own functioning mobile phones. remarkable, really
maybe they'll grow up to be hedgefund managers (remotely connected to woodcraft, maybe?), and earn enough to pay your phone bill