Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Telemarketers beware

In spite of listing with the Do Not Call registry, I still get a few annoying solicitations. I've read the funny lines that can be delivered to telemarketers and often wish I could think on my feet fast enough to deliver them smoothly. One of the funniest was delivered by my own mother. A number of years ago, MCI and AT&T were competing for customers. An MCI representative called and delivered his opening line. Mom said, "I'm sorry, but we don't have a phone." The flustered caller said, "Oh, okay," and hung up.
My latest calls have been from the local newspaper. I used to subscribe, so I suppose I'm in their database, and once in a while they decide to call.
"I'm calling from the News & Record, and we wanted to be sure you received your paper today."
I used to fall for the line, responding that I don't receive it, to which the caller then wanted me to subscribe. They have called often enough that I now have a pat response which I deliver eloquently: "No, I did not receive a paper this morning because I don't subscribe. But you already know that since you are calling to coerce me into subscribing. I'm not interested, thank you." Then, I hang up. Sometimes, I have to add, "And I told this to a representative last week." After two or three calls, I'll remind them they are harassing me, they remove my number, and I won't hear anything for six months or so.
I can't bring myself to be too aggressive because they are trying to earn a living. Yet, I have reconditioned my early childhood lessons when I was taught to be polite and never hang up on anyone. My mother, like many older adults, has become more tolerant with age. This woman who used to keep a police whistle by the phone to discourage obscene callers by blowing out their eardrums, will now complain that a telemarketer kept her on the line, and "I couldn't just hang up on him."
Instead of being a slave to the phone, it's much easier to remember:
  • When the phone rings, I do not have to stop what I am doing and run.
  • Walk, do not run, to the phone because Murphy's Law guarantees the call is not that important, I will trip, or I will stub my toe.
  • If I don't get to the phone in time, the caller can leave a message.
  • I have caller ID, so I have the option to not answer at all.
  • If I do answer, and I do not want to hear what the person has to say, I can say "No thank you," and hang up.
The caller chooses to dial my number which makes him the risk-taker. If a voice enters my home without permission, I can blow out the person's ears without remorse.

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