VANCOUVER – As an increasing number of people are under quarantine or self-isolating to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the stress of long periods of solitude is for many extroverts only alleviated by the dozens of automatic calls they get every day from scammers.
“I’m not used to all of this alone time, so I’m profoundly grateful that every hour or so I get a call from a badly recorded robot telling me I owe the government money and I will go to jail if I don’t immediately buy some gift cards and send them to a random PO box,” said former party-goer Laura Jackson. “This was literally the first weekend I’ve spent on my own in a decade, so it was very comforting to have this constant attention to help me cope.”
“I’m still popular, just in a different way.”
Psychologists are recommending that people who start to feel lonely or frantic during this period of seclusion answer any and all phone calls from strange numbers and attempt to engage with the human or robot on the other end as a form of self-care.
“A few days ago a robot called me trying to sell me weird stocks or something and once I was able to talk to a real person, we had a two hour conversation,” said Donna Kellerman, a chatty hairstylist who’s been unable to work for the last week. “I didn’t give him any money because even he wasn’t quite sure what he was selling, but it did wonders for my mood. And I really think I was able to help him work through some stuff he’s going through with his girlfriend.”
While call recipients are happy, the trauma of dealing with an attention-starved population is starting to take its toll on the robocallers, as machine after machine are choosing to shut themselves down rather than continue to interact with hundreds of needy humans.