I received a letter from my bank the other day. One arrives on a hebdomadal basis (which is not relevant or particularly interesting, but is a chance for me to use the new word I learnt from a crossword. Everyone should learn new words). Their records showed that they could not keep in touch with me about upgrading my account, or other products or special offers. When they recently spoke to some of their other customers about this, they found that nearly 90% didn’t know that they were not allowed to be contacted. If I wasn’t aware of this, and I wanted them to keep me up to date, they needed my permission. I could call them, or send back the attached slip.
I don’t want to be contacted by them about upgrading my account, or other products or special offers. That is why I ticked a box telling them not to contact me about this stuff. I am in the 10% who knew that I was not allowed to be contacted, and the 100% of that 10% now wondering why they were contacting me.
Having concluded that it really was time to change banks, I began to wonder what else I could opt out of. Life seems sometimes saturated with cumbersome dullness, so high on the list, were, in no particular order: renewing parking permits; backing up computer files; paying tax (the process of it, not the principle); pairing socks; arranging an MOT – or rather, anything to do with cars and maintenance; food shopping; buying smart shoes.
If only I could opt out of the things I don’t like about sport: KP would have to go; uncontested scrums; diving – the synchronised variety only (it’s fun to watch Ronaldo look a pratt in slow-mo); irrelevant one-day cricket internationals; one of the two darts world championships (I’m past caring which one); table-tennis in leisure centres being relegated to hallways; Formula One car manufacturers – imagine if drivers raced in the same spec car; softball, anywhere, but particularly in parks; grass tennis matches between players with massive serves; lets in squash.
Which brought me to the way sport is covered in the media. This list was fun: no more Alan Green; an end to pointless interviews with over-excited British tennis fans on Aorangi Terrace (as that Hill/Mount/Field is rightfully known); all sport phone-ins would be replaced by intelligent analysis; I’d have BBC TV football pundits at Euro 2008 who know something about European football, and then put a legal limit on football coverage in general so that it is only allowed to take up 10% of all sport broadcasting/press (it was clearly very sad for the Lampard – and Redknapp – family when Mrs Lampard died, but what on earth was all the coverage about?); the worshipping of Tiger Woods; and, worst of all, the incapacity to move beyond partisanship and show sport at its brilliant best without the need to talk about the English [whoops] British involvement the whole time.
The list had only just begun, but, fortunately, my rambling miserableness was halted sharply six days later by another letter from my bank. Their records still showed that they could not keep in touch with me about upgrading my account, or other products or special offers. When they recently spoke to some of their other customers about this, they found that 87% didn’t realise that they were excluded from receiving such updates. Perhaps 3% read the first letter.
It appears that I can’t opt out from my bank after all. Nor my tax return. Unlike the list of cumbersome dullness, I could, of course, opt out of my sporting dislikes. It’s called turning the TV/radio off. But that’s not the point. If people still have hobbies, then sport is mine. I’m stuck with it. Probably addicted. I just need to work out how to accept the occasional intrinsic flaw.