April 10, 2000
7:20 AM   Subscribe

I hate telemarketing calls. I've done a number of things to amuse myself in the process of dealing with such calls but that doesn't stop them. Here's how to cut down the calls you receive.
posted by plinth (19 comments total)
I'm starting to worry about telemarketing calls more because I'm gradually weening myself off my land line, and using my cell phone for everything. An annoying call when you're trying to eat dinner at home is one thing, but it's a lot more annoying when your cell phone interrupts a conversation and it's a pointless call. Oh and you're paying 10-35 cents a minute to hear it.
posted by mathowie at 8:59 AM on April 10, 2000

I always just tell them he doesn't live here anymore and that stops them in their tracks
posted by crawdad at 12:31 PM on April 10, 2000

I have found that nothing gets a telemarketer to hang up on you faster than singing "Oklahoma!" at the tops of your lungs. Before you even get to the waving wheat smelling sweet, you'll hear a click.
posted by Awol at 2:42 PM on April 10, 2000

there's a lot of telemarketer-taunting and telemarketer-hate online [real audio] -- but i think that the goal of "torturing telemarketers" is wrong and evil. the people who take these rotten minimum wage jobs do so because they must. the job sucks enough without some rich asshole intentionally fucking with them. just be polite, get on their do-not-call list, and hang up. telemarketing doesn't ruin your life. no need to "torture" anyone.
posted by palegirl at 3:49 PM on April 10, 2000

p.s: how weird is the phone butler?!
posted by palegirl at 3:54 PM on April 10, 2000

Don't pick on telemarketers, they are people too.
posted by corpse at 4:03 PM on April 10, 2000

The phone butler is nuts! How hard is it to say (politely) "No, thank you" and hang up?

posted by sperare at 4:15 PM on April 10, 2000

While I agree that telemarketers are people - not all of us getting called are "rich assholes" - some of us are poor assholes who don't want their lives constantly interrupted. Telemarketing itself is wrong and evil, and the people who take those suck jobs (and I've been one of those people) either know it already, need to learn it, or are assholes who don't care. The third group is the only one that makes any money (and I mean *any* - since most of them are "straight commission", "salary then commission after the first week", or "salary plus commission but if you don't make enough sales your ass is out pretty damn quick") in those boiler rooms, so I don't mind fucking with them - and the previous two groups... call it tough love. *YES* it's a suck job. Yes, the job market can be a little tough. *NO* that doesn't make callingmeat9pmandthenpushingthrougha5minutescriptwithnobreathstopsandawholeseriesof'nomeansyes'responses right. I've been trying to get on everyone's do-not-call list, and I've had about as much luck as I've had with the spammers opt-out lists. ie: none. I try not to let it get me, and these days my telemarketing conversations usually go like this:    "Mr. Utsler, this is Jeff with the Los Angeles Times and  "    "Hi Jeff, we get the Sunday paper which is all we want, thank you."<click> For the ones that won't stop long enough to tell them no, I don't feel bad about hanging up in the middle of their sentence. For the ones whoCALL BACK after I hang up, they fucking deserve whatever anybody throws at them. At that point they are in the process of ruining my mood and my evening, and I don't *care* if I hurt their feelings. I apologize if either pg or corpse are currently telemarketers, but if they are I suggest they GET NEW JOBS.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 4:24 PM on April 10, 2000

Two comments on the above:

1. It is a violation of federal law to make a marketing call to any phone where the owner of the phone has to pay for its use (which includes cell phones).

2. During the first 30 seconds of any telephone solicitation they are required to give you an opportunity to speak so that you have a chance to say that you're not interested. That's why they ask "How are you?"; it's your chance to tell them to go to hell. If they do not do so, they are also violating federal law.

I recognize their style, needless to say, and when I hear "Hi, I'm Jerry calling on behalf of the SD Union Tribune, how are you today?" I answer "I'm fine and I'd like you to put me on your do-not-call-list" and let it go at that.

I have noticed that as time has gone on I've been getting fewer and fewer calls; I think partly that's because I really am landing on some do not call lists, but more importantly the databases at the boiler rooms are showing that I never buy and always request removal, which means that calling me is pointless. I might mention that I have vowed never to purchase anything from a telemarketer under any circumstance.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:43 PM on April 10, 2000

besides, I really doubt it ruins their lives when we have a little fun with them :)
posted by premiumpolar at 4:45 PM on April 10, 2000

i never said it runis their life. but it may ruin their day. why bother? anyway...
posted by palegirl at 5:07 PM on April 10, 2000

I just hang up on them! ;-)
posted by FAB4GIRL at 6:08 PM on April 10, 2000

This guy bit back at telemarketers by playing with them, trying to get them to go off their script. For instance, in response to "I'm calling on behalf of your local Sheriff's association," he replied, "Oh, darn, I'm just trying to put this pipe bomb together ... Oooppps ..." The stuff they played on NPR was pretty funny.

I don't feel I need to go out of my way to be MEAN to telemarketers, but neither do I feel any need to be particularly nice to them, either. I guess I should take that extra moment to get on the don't-call list; usually I just mumble "not interested" and hang up. Sometimes if I'm bored, though ...

When you're home during the day (as I have been due to work schedules) you get more of these. Besides, the hang-ups put my phone on voicemail-stutter and stop me from getting online ... until I empty that "click" voicemail!
posted by dhartung at 7:53 PM on April 10, 2000

When I was a telemarketer we had this huge script to read, but I shorted it to 3 lines, because i hate reading to people. I called alumni for nc state and asked for donations, no one ever donated, but I didn't care, i got paid regardless.
posted by corpse at 9:24 PM on April 10, 2000

That kind of telemarketing isn't so bad... it's probably slightly less pressure and slightly more friendly customers. The only telemarketing job I ever enjoyed and stayed at for more than a few weeks (and I had a few of 'em when I was young and unemployable) was with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. We called former season ticket holders and asked if they wanted to renew. It was good because the commission was high and almost everyone was polite and nice to us, and even said things like "I've been _waiting_ for you to call!"

The other nice thing about it was that we were working in the evenings, in the old school building where all the dancers practiced, so we got to hang out and watch them. There were dancers everywhere, sort of like _Fame_.

I think I was making about $8/hr (part-time) at that gig, which was prett good for an 18 year-old in 1983.

Every other telemarketing job I had was demeaning, depressing, and wrong. But I wasn't qualified for much else.
posted by litlnemo at 11:09 PM on April 10, 2000

well,...everybody like show tunes.
posted by Awol at 12:05 AM on April 11, 2000

I hate when they call you by your first name, as we should know each other.

I always start out politely saying we're not interested. However, some are zealots and continue regardless. Then, and only then, do I raise my voice.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:34 AM on April 11, 2000


Federal law again: IF you say that you're not interested, they're required to terminate the call. They are not permitted to continue trying to sell to you.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:36 AM on April 11, 2000

I like to play phone pranks on them. It's the only time you can do it and it's not wrong, because they called you, right? I get out a really loud or obnoxious song and play it at full volume into the phone. This either deafens them or startles them, and alternatively you can play something filthy and creep them out.
posted by andy at 2:25 PM on April 11, 2000

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