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How To Get Rid Of Telemarketers

By Michael - 04-04-02

Note: This article is based on an old PowerPoint presentation I wrote for school. I posted it to the site for grins. It's not necessarily funny, but it's over 1000 words, and I need as much content as I can get.

I'm sure this scenario applies to most of you: You come home from a hard day's work. You've been looking forward to this moment all day, where you can finally sit down and relax. There's no class tonight because the instructor called in sick. So, you get to spend some time with your family, or in my case, you get to eat ravioli from the can and cry. The image I'm trying to generate here, though, is one of peace and relaxation. For a moment, this moment, you have no worries or responsibilities. Then the phone rings. At first, you think perhaps it's a friend or a relative, calling just to say hi, or to make plans for the evening. It's not. A nasally voice from the other end of the phone line asks you if you're the person responsible for your long distance bill. You begin to stammer fearfully, "Umm, yes...". 

You already know what you're in for. Our homes are invaded by these voices every day. They are nearly impossible to get rid of, and they cannot always we trusted to tell the entire truth. They are telemarketers, and more of them are hired every day. According to the One Stop Career Center (I'd leave a hyperlink, but their site is hosed), "employment of interviewing telemarketers is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2005." This means that we will get more unwanted calls than ever.

Today I will discuss telemarketers from my point of view, and I will also discuss several ways to avoid them.

I have answered my phone and waited "for an important message" before. I was so naive. I thought the message was important! They said so right there! Perhaps there was something wrong with my bill, or my area code was being changed? No. When a representative finally picked up the line, he started trying to talk me into changing long-distance companies. Now, some people are actually concerned with having the best price - but...

In this connected, electronic society, what is to stop us from choosing a phone company, a credit card, or a cable service on our own? If I were really that concerned about the price of my phone bill, I would find another service myself. If my credit card was really that bad, I would compare the interest rates from the 10 pounds of fucking JUNK MAIL I get in my mailbox every day, and get a new card. We're not so helpless that somebody needs to call our homes and interrupt our lives. Has anybody here actually bought anything that these people were offering?

Back to the call. If you try to be polite and say "no, I'm not interested", they'll say, "How do you know you're not interested? You haven't heard everything I have to say." You mumble and try to hang up, but your hand won't let you. We've been conditioned since childhood to be polite, and it is rude to hang up on somebody, so, this caller breaks your peace, harasses you in your home, and YOU turn out being the one who feels rude and guilty. This is not fair.

We're not going to be able to ban telemarketing. We won't even get close, since telemarketing is advertising, and advertising is good for the economy, blah blah blah. There are some steps we can take to limit its effects in our lives, however:

1. The first, and most drastic way to avoid phone solicitors is to never answer the phone again for the rest of your life, because you have trouble saying no to a stranger. Spend the rest of your life shivering and cowering in a corner.

2. The second way, the one I use, is to let the answering machine get the phone. If somebody really wants to talk to you, they'll leave a message, and then you can pick up the phone if you want to talk. This technique has its drawbacks. Some people will still hang up on an answering machine, and you get those little "If you'd like to make a call" messages.

3. The next, and possibly the best way, would be to invest in caller ID, so you can actually see who's calling. If you don't know them, don't pick up the phone, it's as simple as that. The disadvantage would be if a friend or relative had caller ID blocked, you would not know who they were if they called. 

4. According to the Telephone Solicitor's Nightmare Home Page, the quickest way to have a telemarketer hang up on you without being rude or offensive is to tell him you are not the homeowner. 

5. There are also devices like the Phone Butler, which when connected to your telephone, can interrupt your unwanted calls with a message like this: "Pardon me, this is the Phone Butler, and I have been directed to inform you that this household must respectfully decline your inquiry. Kindly place this number on your do-not-call list. Good Day." 

The disadvantage: This little device costs $47.99. If I ever bought one, I'd want it to have a Mr. T voice.

6. If you want to have a little fun, and you have some free time, you can use some of these lines: (From various internet sources) 

"The police photographer is still here, and the county medical examiner hasn't released the body to the coroner yet. Can you call back a little later?"

"What's that you say? Speak up, please, will you? The battery has run down on my hearing aid. Louder, please, louder. Is that the best you can do? I'm afraid we're just not communicating."

"I'm gonna have to put you on hold. The baby is due any minute now. Quick someone, get some hot water. Lots of it. Sorry, gotta hurry now, don't go away."

"Oh, it's you again. I was hoping you'd call back. The better business people said I need more positive identification to file my complaint. Now first let me have your name and telephone number..."

These days, getting unwanted phone calls is a part of everyday life. Using these evasion techniques may help you deal with phone solicitors more effectively, so you can spend less time on the telephone, and more time with your lives. So, in order to live life to the fullest, we must avoid these manipulative masters of persuasion (Say that 10 times fast).






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