Today I switched off my mobile phone. I took out the battery just in case it miraculously turns itself back on. I put it in my desk drawer and buried it under a pile of paper. I am officially at war with my mobile phone and my first offensive was to hide it from view. While I have never been crazy about mobile phones, I do appreciate being able to send a text message or make a call on the go, they definitely have their place. In Korea, phone shops are on every corner, in fact sometimes there are entire streets filled with them.Daegu has a terrifying brightly lit, neon street full to the brim of phone shops that look exactly the same and promote the same companies, models and offers.
Being on the Seoul Subway is how I always imagined the future to be when I was a child, everyone glued to screens with no need for face to face social interaction. People on the subway are usually busy checking emails and social networking sites, internet shopping, texting and reading comics, all on tiny little, mobile phones. Mobile phones are important here. They are also exceptionally irritating.
Today alone, I received six marketing text messages I didn’t understand due to my poor command of the Korean language, three recorded callers trying to sell me something else I didn’t understand and a real person who called to sell me something, then promptly freaked out and hung up everytime they heard English in response. They then proceeded to repeat the exercise, no less than five times. Marketing companies worldwide employ similar tactics and I am fully aware that Korea is not alone in it’s love for phone sales but the sheer volume of calls and messages is unheard of in the UK, at least in my experience. The most confusing part is that I only have about thirty contacts stored in my phone and I haven’t give my number to anyone who I don’t know, so where are the companies getting my details from?
My colleague kindly cleared the situation up. Apparently, companies guess the numbers. This would mean that employees of these companies dial numbers at random and hope it is in use. I suggested to him that it is the phone company who gives numbers away, but I was assured this was not the case because, of course the marketing companies are guessing numbers to call. I’m half way to believing him, it is after all, a great theory. What ever way these people are getting my number, my phone is staying locked up until the end of the day. I cannot answer one more lucky guess.