This happened to me the other week.
background: I work for an energy supplier that calls people off the back of surveys taken either in person or online. Details include marital status, the number of people in the household etc.
My screen displays: Mrs Karen Anderson (not her real name), living with partner, 3 bedroom, 2 people, semi-detatched house.
Me: “Hi, is that Karen?”
Karen: “Who is it?”
Me: “It’s John smith calling from Energy Co in regards to the survey you completed. It’s just a call to see if we could save you money by switching. Is it yourself that deals with the gas and electricity bills?”
Karen: “No, it’s not.”
no follow up, just a second or so of silence – she’s just trying to get me off the phone
Me: “Ah, sorry my mistake. Is it the other half that deals with it? Would I be able to speak…”
Karen: “EXCUSE ME!?” “I can’t believe you just said that! That is so sexist! It’s not the 1950’s anymore!”
Karen: “oh my god! How can you think that’s acceptable to say to a woman! What- you think I’m half a person!?”
Me: “No, that’s something I say to everyone, men and women, you know, like my wife is my other half…”
Karen: “- So your wife exists to serve your needs! I hope for her sake she wakes up and sees what a sexist piece of sh…”
Me: “Karen. Stop.” “I understand where you’re coming from, but you’re putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say those things and I don’t agree with them. I’m sorry you feel like I’ve been rude, I swear to you that was not my intention. Thanks very much for your time”
I ended the call just as I heard “fu@* off” from Karen.
Seriously, I hate people like this. They try and read something into what you said instead of just talking it as well intended and at surface level. It’s the age old “so, what your saying is….”
I got told off by my manager for being rude but he didn’t think it warranted any real writing up.
Edited for crappy mobile formatting