I have lost count of the SMS messages I get everyday. Honest. In the recent past, I have been bombarded by messages asking for my business in numerous sectors, many of which I have no interest whatsoever. I am offered pointers for attractive education loans, when I am through with my formal education years ago; sites/land plots. villas by the score when I have no money to invest in them and already have my own house: attractive offers for massaging, yes massaging and not messaging  and offers to join assorted social groups and holiday home schemes. I really need none of these. The problem is that I know this, the telemarketer doesn’t. For him/her I am a small statistic amongst millions of others in their data base.

When the database is sold at ridiculously cheap prices, we are at the receiving end of a barrage of calls and messages.  It was widely reported in the media that Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was not spared. When he was in Parliament ( and had presumably not switched off his phone as we lesser mortals are expected to do) he received a call asking if he wanted a housing loan. A school of thought holds that perhaps this one incident did more than anything else to bring down the number of telemarketing calls. Industry sources say however it wasn’t because of Pranab da’s annoyance that the number of calls (thank God!)  have fallen.

Apparently, economies now dictate that telemarketing calls are no longer as attractive as before. The new mantra seems to be telemessaging! As a result you and I have benefitted somewhat by getting fewer random calls than before but this has been off set by getting more messages than before! To cap it off, these messages also urge you to add to the chaos by signing up for schemes where you too can dash off lakhs of SMS messages for a pittance. Which is the worse of the two, calls or messages, is a matter of personal disposition. I am still trying to control that urge to see every text message as soon as it hits my phone, hoping it will be the message I am waiting for. To some extent admittedly text messages are less intrusive than phone calls. A recent article in the Economic Times highlights the shift in trend.

Be ready to face a ceaseless barrage of SMS messages in the future as SMEs gear themselves up to exploit this potential market. Their conversion rates must be terribly low but what the heck, there is no harm in trying, they say. I have often wondered if the brains behind these schemes get a taste of their own medicine. Do they too receive text messages offering them every conceivable kind of loan, all kinds of dwelling options and a new variety of leisure pursuits?

Do they read these messages themselves or like me, do they delete them unread?