Caller: Can I speak to Charon please?
Caller: You are Charon of The Staterooms, Battersea?
Charon: Yes…and you are?
Caller: We are doing conservatories in your area and wondered if you would be interested in hearing about the opportunity we can give you.
Charon: Yes, but you do realise that I am a lawyer and I charge everyone for my time? I've just started the time clock running. Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?
Caller: Sorry? I'm not with you.
Charon: It is perfectly straightforward. I am a lawyer. I charge for my time. Nothing in this world I live in is free. You called me up to ask if you could speak to me — ergo, you want to buy some of my time. Time is money. I take money. In fact, I have a most useful device from Barclays which allows me to take money from your account and put it straight into my account. Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?
Caller: I'm not sure I understand…you want to charge me money to listen to what I have to tell you?
Charon: Bingo!…yes, you have understood the position perfectly. Can you provide your credit card or AMEX card details, please?
Caller: This is ridiculous…..
Charon: What is ridiculous?
Caller: That you want to charge me for calling you.
Charon: I don't see what is ridiculous about it. I have to make a living, as you do. I didn't call you. You called me to ask if I would listen to you tell me about conservatories. I said that I was happy to do this, warned you that I am a lawyer and charge for my time, and then asked you for your card details so that you can pay my fees for listening to you.
Caller: This is mad.
Charon: Mad? Fortunately this call is not being broadcast for you have just slandered me by calling me mad and as I've just finished writing a chapter on the law of defamation for my new Tort book, I'm fairly well up on libel.
Caller: I haven't libelled you.
Charon: Technically, because there is no publication to a third party in this instance, you have not libelled, but calling me 'mad' when I am not, could found an action in defamation, had I been broadcasting this conversation; one which even in these anti-libel days we live in I may well have won.
Caller: This is now getting more ridiculous…. I am terminating the call.
Charon: Did I tell you that I am on the third floor of a block of flats? I assumed, given your thorough market research, you were aware of this. In the circumstances, I was fascinated to hear how you were going to build a conservatory for me. I haven't seen many conservatories hanging off the side of mansion block buildings. I was genuinely keen to learn….
Of course, by quoting the whole wonderful thing I have probably exceeded fair use, and can now expect a writ the next time I visit London…