Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Underestimate the Power of Your Telemarketer

I don't know about you but in the past few weeks I have been deluged with unsolicited sales calls.  Did I miss something?  Did the DO NOT CALL registry expire?  Because literally one day my phone started ringing off the hook with sales pitches of all kinds.  If you scroll down the "calls received" on my handset, there are at least twenty to thirty in one day.  Not only do I receive mostly junk mail now but most of my phone calls are junk too.

When this began, I answered the calls as I always have. 

I didn't. 

Well, most of the time.  If I did bother to pick up the phone, I would only do so long enough for the obnoxious intruder to hear me hang up on them.  My husband, who is away most of the day, and doesn't have the pleasure of these telecommunication gnats constantly gnawing at his ear, has fun with them. 

He morphs into varying characters:  pretending he's hard of hearing, fluent in another (gibberish) language, a gun-toting conservative, a hippie dippie liberal, whatever is in direct conflict with what the person is selling.  The  hired employee desperate to make a sale, repeats their pitch over and over, keeping my possessed husband on the line long enough to have me and my kids rolling on the floor in hysterics.  Which is when they get a clue and hang up.  My husband has even gone so far as to ask them for their phone number so he can call THEM back during THEIR dinner.  (Funny guy, this is why I love him.)

But me?  I'm not so generous.  When I do bother to talk to these intruders it is not a conversation. 

"Please take us off your list," I order and then hang up on them as they attempt to change my mind. 

This is what I continued to do when this recent flood of phone calls began.  This time, the man on the other end yelled back, "Can you please let me say something?"

"No!" I said.  "I cannot."  And with that I hung up.

That very day and for every day since, I've been getting calls minute after minute, hour after hour, from salespeople asking for someone named Muhammed.  Or Ali.  Or Cassius. 

Do you see a pattern here?  Me, too.

I think that guy I yelled at put my phone number on every list imaginable.  Revenge is sweet.

Well it kind of is.  Because the telemarketer gnat  taught me a lesson.

If I ignored the dozens of calls I was getting a day, the same numbers would pop up on my phone 2, even 3, times in a 24 hour period.  The interruptions just kept multiplying.  It was like a horror movie, INVASION OF THE TELEMARKETERS.

So, I tried a different tact.  I did answer the phone.  And I politely listened to them asking for Muhammed.  Or Ali. Or Cassius.  Or sometimes, lo and behold, my real name.  And then I would, even more politely, in my sweetest, yet tele-weary voice, tell them they had the wrong number or I was not interested, and would they mind please taking me off their list. 

Well, you definitely get more bees with honey, or less bees, (whatever!)  because I have never spoken with such a lovely group of telemarketers.  Luck of the draw?  I think not.

Though I still do get many calls a day, the same numbers are not repeating themselves as they once were.  These are all new, unsuspecting sales grunts.

And one by one, I'm going to kill them all with kindness.


Andrea's Sweet Life said...

Oooooh, he got you GOOD.

My brother-in-law, the jerk, put OUR phone number down as his, because he's not paying his bills and doesn't want them calling him. Guess who gets eleventy-billion collections calls, every damn day? At first I just fumed over the phone, but now I answer it, explain kindly that he doesn't live here, and then... THEN... I give them his cell phone number.


Manic Mommy said...

I keep getting voicemails for Clarissa (or something like that) that are obviously debt collectors. These calls, I'd really like to answer so I can get rid of at least one annoyance call.

I find that our charity calls increase almost immediately after I pledge to NPR. Not cool.

AmyAnne said...

I'm exploring religion. I went to a local Chabbad and got to know them. I went to several friend's churches. I went to a Reform Temple. I like the Chabbad best. No, I'm not Jewish. Not even close. Yes they are orthodox so I'll never really be a part of the club. But they are so nice and joyful and giving. I like them. So I gave. I donated a couple bucks here and there. And then the mailings started. And then the phone calls started. Not some phone bank of people in a far away land asking for something, no. The Rabbi, himself, calling asking for help with the rent for that month. Then his wife. Then the lady I sat next to in one of the classes. I can't take it when it's this personal! I usually take the same tactic as your husband, but I can't seem to muster it when I KNOW the people. Yikes!

Maylily18 said...

ooohhhhh i feel your pain! we get all kinds of collection calls for whoever previously had our number. they call about 200 times a day, and on weekends. the best part is that it is an automatted message system, so when i press thenumbers to reach the "if so and so is not reachable at this number," the department is freakin closed!!!!!! so come monday morning, they got an earful from me.

and the do not call registry does expire. we always do really well and then when it expires, we order something online and it throws our info back out there. :(

therextras said...


Actually I do the same thing, but usually cut them off with the takemeoffyourlist before they finish their spiel.

I have occasionally and politely informed them that our number is on the no call list. They usually hang up immediately - I mean no goodbye, nothing - I think out of fear of being reported.


phd in yogurtry said...

kindness definately leaves me feeling better when I hang up. it's not their fault they're stuck in such a dead end, sucky job.

and I employ the line "I do not respond to phone solicitations. please take me off the list"

e.v.e.r.y. t.i.m.e

bernthis said...

my favorite is when they ask for me using my old last name. I tell them she died but she did. Jessica old last name no longer exists. thank God

The Lady's Lounge said...

OOOOh! The morphs into varying characters game! That's my favorite!
I usually pretend I'm mentally challenged or a 3 year old with a mouth full of cheerios. Once I was interrupted so many times while working on a song, I told the guy on the phone that I would only complete his on-line survey about baked goods if he listened to my new song first.
He was a good sport.

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