Modern life truly is rubbish. It's so bad it has even spawned its very own brand of double-speak. The fightback starts here. The battle ground? The "courtesy call".

What an expression! If ever a pair of words have been utterly twisted beyond meaning, that phrase is it.

I've been enduring a host of these courtesy calls in recent weeks, despite signing my phone number up to the telephone preferences service.

I've been receiving courtesy calls from electricity suppliers, gas suppliers, banks, insurance companies, telephone service providers, cable companies...

I've been courtesied beyond an inch of life by ISPs, online shops, wannabe start-ups, local businesses, charities, mobile phone providers...

These people are essentially the digital lifestyle equivalent of the dark and murky Middle Ages market. Of course, rather than selling anything you actually need, they sell rubbish badly with the added affront of describing their shadowy business as a "courtesy call".

These people call you up, ask to speak to someone and are clearly trained to deny they are on a sales mission, the modern equivalent of Jack Spratt and his portable pie shop, except with a lot less self-respect.

They don't take no for an answer.

I've tried being polite and reasonable, remembering they are human beings and politely asking them to remove my number from the list.

I've tried being extremely rude and slamming the phone down. Once I put the phone aside, and let them talk away until they realised I'd gone away.

Most recently I responded to one of these unwanted calls by talking to some nice man from some call centre about being pursued by imaginary animals as I climbed the stairs, and asked if it was the wrath of god. He then asked me how I accessed the internet. There's nothing like the warmth of human contact, after all.

This morning I fielded a courtesy call on my doorstep - now even door-to-door salesmen attempting to sign you up to some dodgy electricity supplier aren't on a sales mission, but a courtesy call. I was quite rude.

I'm losing patience with this modern arrogance toward the needs of the consumer. We all exist as target demographics on some flip chart somewhere, and appear to be regarded as little more than cattle to milk mendaciously for money. There's something up with that.

I'm relieved that - at least at present - Apple hasn't succumbed to such nefarious courtesy call practices. I'd urge any company to avoid them.

If there's one way to destroy your brand, despatching teams of semi-articulate humans to speak from a script to people who just aren't interested is a sure-fire way to lose all credibility.