Prank #33: “How many ways to say ‘No'”

#33. How many ways to say ‘NO’ – ΩΩ 

Prop:   Have a list of Noes in other languages prepared.[1]

TELEMARKETER: “Hello, is that Mr. Lats speaking?”

ME: “Mr Lats yeh.”

TELEMARKETER: “Mr. Lats we’ve chosen you to enjoy our …”

ME: “Nein.”          German (Central Europe)

TELEMARKETER: [Ignores me], “new promotion of $50 worth of…”

ME: “Hapana.”     Swahili (Africa)

TELEMARKETER: “Sorry, what did you say?”

ME: “Dah.”           Apache (Arizona USA)

TELEMARKETER: “I am sorry. Do you speak English Mr. Lats?”

ME: “English yeh.”

TELEMARKETER: “Mr. Lats we want to give you free, $50 worth of men’s quality bathroom products —”

ME: “Sega.”          Fijian (Fiji)

TELEMARKETER: “Mr. Lats are you understanding me? Do you speak English Mr. Lats?”

ME: “English yeh.”

TELEMARKETER: “That’s fine. Mr. Lats these quality toiletries are made only from natural plant extracts. They contain no animal byproducts Mr Lats…”

ME: “Cha.”           Zulu (South Africa)

TELEMARKETER: “I’m sorry what did you say Mr. Lats?”

ME: “Tidak.”        Indonesian (Indonesia)

TELEMARKETER: “Arr…, Mr. Lats I have to go now. Have a nice day,” clunk.

Thirteen of Clubs: flickr

ME: “Waka.”        Manchu (China)
“Bu shi.”       Mandarin (China)
“Nyet.”          Russian (Russia)
“Naw.”          Scots (Scotland)
“Me sheik.” Sherpa (Nepal, Tibet)
“Meyin.”       Tibetan (Tibet, China)
“KhÔng.”      Vietnamese (Vietnam)

Key:    There are two points at which I diverge from the cryptic No response, but then only temporarily. Firstly, each and every time they ask “Am I speaking with Mr. Lats,” I repeat “Mr. Lats yeh.” This keeps them engaged. Secondly, I always confirm that I speak English each and every time they ask with, “English yeh,” but I immediately return to foreign language responses of ‘No.’ If I were them, such replies would do my head in and that’s why I do it.

Extra: Do not worry that the telepest may recognize one of the languages. It might be the case that the telemarketer is also a well-traveled backpacker who knows a little of two or three languages, but they will not be fluent in eight or nine and there are over five hundred to pick from. Ask yourself, why would an accomplished linguist be working as a telemarketer? My hunch is that a polyglot (speaker of more than one language) would be either a language teacher, or a second language educator, or even a UN interpreter—not a telemarketer. Keep up the replies and enjoy their frustration.

Backup plan:       If you run out of foreign No words, you can go through the list again or merely finish with the English bye and hang up.

I know my work is done when I hear the telemarketer turn to his supervisor or colleague and say in a vexed tone, “I can’t understand a word he’s saying.”

Let me know if you have fun with this one.

Cheers Jimmy

[1] For other languages try

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