The vast majority of call centres are located in distant outposts of the former British Empire, such as Mumbai and Swansea, and this history of isolation and dependence helps explain why they are so eager to make contact with anyone in the UK.
The average pensioner will receive 612 calls in a typical month and spend 14.7 hours responding to queries about their energy use, credit card insurance, fruit consumption and wallpaper preferences. In 2012, the latest year for which figures are available, 17 pensioners died of earache while answering these calls.
Most phone companies offer a service to block calls from call centres, but this inevitably means you’ll have to talk to people you know much more frequently than may be desirable. Probably the only effective course of action is to attack all phones with a claw hammer.