Have you placed your phone number on the “Do Not Call” list more than once? How’s that working out for you? We have and it’s continual nuisance calls. Not content with calls from the USA, we get them from other countries too. Is this more of a problem with land lines or are cell phones bombarded too? I have gotten a few on my cell, but the land line teems with them.
When I began my career as a reference librarian I had a request for books on cold calls. “What in the world were they?” I wondered. I didn’t realize there were whole books on telemarketing—titles like Maximizing Your Annoyance Score or Invite Yourself to Dinner. If these books had fallen into my selection area I would have gladly weeded the whole section! Now I think I just might don my ninja disguise, sneak into the library overnight, and nuke them into oblivion. Fortunately for the annoying person now dialing my phone number I am a law abiding person who would never dream of doing such a thing…
So what’s a pussycat like me to do? You can let the calls go into voice mail, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying nor does it discourage the callers. My husband and I utilize a number of methods to discourage the bloodsucking, meal interrupting, take-advantage-of-a-senior-today telemarketer. Actually few of these have worked, but it makes us feel good to try. Most techniques will have little effect on robotic calling machines, but I do like to press non-approved numbers, like “7” or “8” on the keypad when directed to press “1” (or “2”) now. Have a little fun with them!
There is the possibility of gratification when a real person is on the other end of line though. We have begun to answer the phone in foreign tongues, even—no especially—in ones we do not speak. Hubby favors German; I like French which I have a passing acquaintance with; sometimes I get wild and crazy, using a made up language. Chances are the telemarketer won’t have a clue what you’re saying and will hang up. I learned this from my literacy students who said that their calls were often cut short when the caller learned that they did not speak English. Rude yes, but we are talking about telemarketers. One caveat however, once hubby kept saying “nein” and the caller thought that he wanted nine of whatever they were selling so be careful with the German.
A friend’s husband tried to reason with a caller. Reason? He engaged the telemarketer in a prolonged conversation, about twenty minutes. At the end of the friendly chat, he explained that calling him only wasted their marketing time and, since it would not profit the caller, why didn’t they take his phone number off their call list. It worked, but he is a very patient, rational, religious person. I am not. This past Sunday someone called at dinner time. We were having a special dinner for my brother-in-law. I really tore into him, asking how he dared call a family on a Sunday at the dinner hour. I do believe that gentleman might be reading the want ads afresh.
I can also be whimsical. One caller was both highly amused and got the message after I acted like a not-quite-right-in-the-head childlike respondent. I asked her name and when she answered I said, “Oh, I’m so happy for you (whatever it was)” in an idiotic happy way. I just kept giving her gee-whiz feedback every time she said anything. She got the hint.
Whenever we get opinion poll calls, I immediately ask what they will pay me. I explain that I am a librarian and know just how costly those polls are to purchase, so I give no free answers. “What’s my cut of the action?” I ask. This is guaranteed to flummox the caller, guaranteed.
For the past several months we have been beleaguered by calls purporting to be from WINDOWS, wanting to fix a non-existent problem. The male callers are from India and don’t give up. However, I can have my fun too. In the beginning I tried reason, “Why would Microsoft be calling? Oh, you’re not from there?” The last time he called I said that I had just had lunch with Bill Gates and I asked him to check out my computer. He said everything was fine.
Should they call again, I plan to launch my latest response. In an official voice, I will read from a pre-printed card: This call is being monitored and recorded in accordance with a Federal Communications "Committee" investigation. Please state your full name, social security number, exact location and telephone number now…
I can hardly wait for their next call. Go ahead, make my day. “Scumbags get off my telephone! I pay for it. It is for my safety and convenience. It is NOT a marketing opportunity for you or any other organization.”