Fight the Power!
October 26, 2002 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Fight the Power! "Telemarketers make use of a telescript - a guideline for a telephone conversation. This script creates an imbalance in the conversation between the marketer and the consumer. It is this imbalance, most of all, that makes telemarketing successful. The EGBG Counterscript attempts to redress that balance." It's own medicine time!
posted by Carlos Quevedo (73 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fantastic link, Carlos! This will really come in handy... Mwahahaha...
posted by Stauf at 7:36 PM on October 26, 2002

I've always thought the scripted conversation was the biggest problem with telemarketing... without that, you might actually be able to determine if the product being offered is useful to you.

Of course, 90% of the time, it's not, so they'd waste your time either way, and the script is better than the "hard sell". But sometimes I'll tell people I'll listen to them if they drop the script. And once... I had a lady call me from BMG with an offer and she was so good at actually talking to me, determining my interests and matching them with available product that I gave her the sale.

Meet a need, and the world will beat a path to your door. But, most salesmen and marketers just focus on trying to manipulate you, which is how they've come by their rep for being dishonest.
posted by namespan at 7:37 PM on October 26, 2002

When a solicitor calls me, I can tell in seconds that it's a stranger. It's worse than door to door salesmen cuz by calling you on the phone, they already get past the door. They're inside your house. Screw counter-scripting. Hanging up on them rudely is the only solution. Outbound telemarketing is a low-tech equivalent to 'push' technology on the 'Net. Complete strangers using whatever knowledge they can glean about you to tell you what they think you want.

Personally I wish there were some way to make it illegal. But then you get people yelling about the first ammendment and free market and blah blah. I get as much junkmail now in my email as I do in my regular mailbox, and I don't like either. If I want something, I go out and buy it. I research it myself. I don't need strangers telling me why something is worth a chunk of my paycheck.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:48 PM on October 26, 2002

Hanging up on them rudely is the only solution.

I think you're kinda missing the point.

While this may be the solution that wastes the least of your time, the telemarketer could care less because they get to quickly move on to the next mark.

The counterscript looks to be more about retribution and wasting their time. they don't get paid much without selling and the longer you can keep them on the line, the less they sell.
posted by juv3nal at 7:54 PM on October 26, 2002

I have a friend here at college who works as a telemarketer, and the reason that teleprompting is used is so that the people stay within company guidelines. Also, there is a misconception out there that the prompting automatically makes it suck. Talking to my friend, there is a wide variety in the quality of telemarketers...think of it as an actor reading from a script. Some people suck at it and some don't (or, as some people think, all of them suck at it). Usually the prompting is just a few intro lines so that when/if they catch the customer, then the telemarketer has much more leeway to sell their product. Also, I dunno how other ones are done, but my friends' job has their phone automatically dial a number every 10 minutes, so they don't always get to just "move onto the next customer."
posted by jmd82 at 8:01 PM on October 26, 2002

Sadly, juv3nal, I'm a little more concerned about wasting my own time than I am about the fun of wasting theirs.

Also, these are just people trying to earn a pretty low-level living. The problem is with the companies that use telemarketing, not with the employees. Harassing them is like beating up the janitor at Phillip Morris; it doesn't bother anyone who can make a meaningful decision about this.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:16 PM on October 26, 2002

"Please take me off your list."
posted by callmejay at 8:23 PM on October 26, 2002

After high school, I worked as a telemarketer. We tried to sell agricultural magazines to farmers. The pay was $3.80 an hour. My friend got promoted to manager after a few months and got a raise to $5 dollars an hour. The script was illiterate and ridiculous, the subscription being sold was probably a rip-off, and the working conditions were ludicrous.

Those were very dark times, and whenever a telemarketer calls me now, which is about once a week, the hair on the back of my neck stands up. I couldn't string them along like this, I merely politely disengage as fast as possible.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:23 PM on October 26, 2002

Am I missing something, or hasn't this been posted/mentioned at least 3 times in the last couple weeks?
posted by Hildago at 8:28 PM on October 26, 2002

I mentioned it in this thread, and I found it on Penny Arcade...haven't seen it elsewhere on MeFi so I don't think it's technically a double post...
posted by furiousthought at 8:42 PM on October 26, 2002

I cannot help but wonder if anyone really sells anything this way.

Also, I can always tell a telemarketer by the buzz of voices behind them when they call.

Nothing like rushing out of the bathroom to answer the phone (thinking it's your child or spouse) and having it be one of these folks. Not everybody has caller id....
posted by konolia at 8:43 PM on October 26, 2002

Telemarketers are fun(!) and getting more rare in my neighborhood. I mostly get pre-recorded messages.

In my area, when a human telemarketer calls he/she almost always responds to my "hello" with..."hello?" Or, I'll hear a faint beep when I pick up the phone. Usually I just hang up befor any interaction takes place.
posted by Modem Ovary at 8:50 PM on October 26, 2002

I saw this script on another site the other day, and actually used it on a telemarketer yesterday. He was really thrown by the "do you get paid time off to go to the dentist?" question...after that I got the feeling the poor guy was humoring me because he thought I was unbalanced or something.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:22 PM on October 26, 2002

I had a telemarketing job when I was eighteen, selling carpet and apholstery cleaning. It was miserable and awful. I honestly think people would have been less angry with me if I had just stolen their cars and burglarized their houses for a living.

I was in a very low-rent operation. We were given stacks of lists of phone numbers and told to cross out the numbers once the person at the number declined the offer. Once you had gone through a list, they went back in the pile so that other telemarketers in the office could take a shot at them. If the people at the numbers were dicks to the telemarketer, we'd often "forget" to cross out the numbers (and sometimes label them 'dick'), so they'd probably get another call from another telemarketer in a week or two. Then they'd probably be jerks again and the cycle would continue.

I believe the best thing you can do is say that you don't accept phone solicitation and request to be taken off of the calling list, all as politely as possible. Even at my low-rent and shady workplace we were told to take those requests very seriously because the telemarketing company could get in trouble for not honoring them.

Of course, we hated the company and we wanted it to burn in hell, so if people were jerks, we'd "forget" to do that as well.

I'm very pleasant to telemarketers, but that's mostly out of empathy and concern.

Hateful job.
posted by frenetic at 10:13 PM on October 26, 2002

Also, these are just people trying to earn a pretty low-level living.

Cry me a river. Fine them personally $250 for each complaint and lets see how long the companies can find willing employees.
posted by rushmc at 10:30 PM on October 26, 2002

My comprormise script:
What is your name? Could you please spell that for me?
What is the name of the company you're calling from?
What is the phone number there?
I'm keeping a log of unsolicited calls. Please don't call again.
posted by divrsional at 10:56 PM on October 26, 2002

The best way to get them to stop calling you and take you off their list is to counter strike. For example:if a telephone company calls tell them you can't "help them" cause you work for the competitor, same goes for any sales person selling anything... Or if you get a survey person just tell them you are in the marketing business and they will have to end the call right away. It works every time, and they take you off their lists immediately.
posted by Ladymerv at 11:21 PM on October 26, 2002

four words: compressed air boat horn.
posted by quonsar at 11:31 PM on October 26, 2002

Fine them personally $250 for each complaint and lets see how long the companies can find willing employees.

How does this relate to telemarketers being poor and not able to find better jobs?

I honestly think people would have been less angry with me if I had just stolen their cars and burglarized their houses for a living.

It's funny because it's true.

Personally, I hate them. All they do is sit in big comfortable chairs thinking of ways to screw us over. It's almost like they're less than human,and because of this they deserve any spite I have.

And you know they have to be paid well, because their companies are making money. The logic follows. Trickle-down economics.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 12:02 AM on October 27, 2002

The counter script is interesting, but it won't stop ANY of the calls.

FYI, saying "Take my name off your list" DOES NOT work. They have no "list" they will take you off of. The only legal and reliable way to reduce calls is to say the following:


(Exactly as above, nothing else works.) Sadly, this will not work for recorded phone spam (which is illegal, and is becoming extremely popular) - you'll have to pull the free TeleZapper trick for the prerecorded stuff.
posted by jca at 1:04 AM on October 27, 2002

My favorite response to phone-company telemarketers:

"We're not interested."

- "May I ask why not?"

"Because we don't have a phone."

I like to get them into long surreal conversations. It actually brightens the day of the low-paid employee while costing the company time.
posted by mmoncur at 1:28 AM on October 27, 2002

I agree that you shouldn't abuse the $5/hr stooges on the other end of the line. Just get them to put you thru to the supervisor, then abuse him / her instead.

More satisfying, less harshness. Everybody wins.
posted by lambchops at 2:15 AM on October 27, 2002

I do feel sorry for people doing low-level jobs [I've never been mean to a parking warden] but this....

I was working in a control room for a live to air news program, during the broadcast the director's emergency phone rang..."Excuse me, I was wondering if I could have a few moments...." etc. Me a little urgently: "This is an on air news suite do not call here again". Following night same time another call, me a bit ruder "Do not call this number!"....about an hour later her boss called the number and asked why I had been so rude. Er, WTF?
posted by meech at 2:22 AM on October 27, 2002

My favorite telemarketer stories:

1. Right before my wedding, a telemarketer called my (future) wife, who was, at the time, cleaning her apartment while trying on her wedding day tiara. The telemarketer began his script, and when he got to the "callee's name" blank in the script, she interrupted him.
"That's Your Majesty."
"Excuse me?"
"I am a Princess. You must speak to me with the proper respect."
The telemarketer probably knew she was screwing with him, so he began again, this time inserting "Your Majesty" in the "callee's name" blank:
"Good afternoon Your Majesty. I'm calling in regards to a limited-time offer. Tell me, Your Majesty -- oh shit, I can't do this!"
And he hung up on her.

2. One called me while I was sitting on the toilet. I could see from the caller ID that it was a telemarketer. I was feeling like my inner asshole was ascendant, so I answered the phone.
"Hello. Is this Mr. Davis?"
"It is, but you'll have to hold on a second. I'm taking a really big shit."
"Umm, okay..."
I put the phone down on the floor and proceeded to make every middle-school farting noise I could, interspersing the sound effects with exclamations and grunts: "Aarrrgh!" "Oh God!" "Rrrrrrrrrrrrah!"
I got back on the phone.
"Whew! Have you ever had one like that? I hate that kind!"
And I was hung up on.

3. In college I had a telemarketer call me and read an amazingly long intro script. I couldn't get a word in edgewise. The script ended with a yes/no question. I picked up my roommate's USA Today and began reading the main article of the Business section in its entirety - probably a 2000 word article. I read the thing the whole way through, not responding to the telemarketer's attempts to break my flow. By the time I was done, she was laughing so hard she couldn't finish.

4. A telemarketer called me to sell me some fancy new computerized phone. I responded:
"Let me get this straight. You called me to try and sell me a telephone."
"Yes, that's correct," he said, immune, I guess, to the irony. He asked if I was dissatisfied with any of the features on my telephone.
"You know," I said, "this phone is perfect but it has one thing I'd change."
"What is that, Mr. Davis?"
"It needs to not have your voice coming through it."
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:32 AM on October 27, 2002

I discovered a great way to rid myself of door-to-door salespeople, which works on telemarketers as well if they are trying to sell you household stuff:

"I'm sorry, this place is rented."
close door/ put phone down
posted by anyanka at 3:53 AM on October 27, 2002

My favorite is: "Hold on please." Then walk away, go on with my business until they eventually hang-up, and my phone beeps to tell me they are gone. I saw this on some site or other, they claimed it would bring the telemarketing business to it's knees if enough people did it.
posted by gametone at 5:17 AM on October 27, 2002

How does this relate to telemarketers being poor and not able to find better jobs?

Would you apply the same argument to muggers? Crack whores?
posted by rushmc at 5:22 AM on October 27, 2002

I am a student and work part time as a pseudo telemarketer for my university trying to get alumni donations.
Being on the other side of all this is.. interesting. I usually find it rather amusing when people get so upset about the phone call. I've had people scream bloody murder at me several times before. I'm pretty used to it, and I'm very cynical anyway, so it really doesn't phase me. So really, they're the one that's losing out from getting all upset.
There is a huge variety in the quality of the people doing telemarketing. We have about 35 or so people working at my job, and some people are very very good, while others probably would do poorly if we were giving out free money.
For us, the person saying anything about us not ever calling them back is a big thing and if that's what they want, we will not call them back. It's a pretty big issue.
Telemarketers have crappy jobs. A lot of them are students with few other options. Don't yell at them, and if you don't want to talk to them, say something at least entertaining and then hang up. Brighten their day.
posted by sinical at 5:41 AM on October 27, 2002

yes sinical, but you are like a mugger or a crack whore!

A crack whore!

Can you believe how stupid and reactionary that comment was? I hate telemarketing calls, but am rational enough to not categorize the poor working stiffs who can´t find better work as, oh you get the point you damn crack whore.

Funny post eustacescrubb. But let me get this straight, your wife wore a tiara on her wedding day? What did you where? I laughed almost as much as that as at the rest of the post.

anyway, I live in a country where I only get about one of these calls every other month, so I really don´t care.
posted by sic at 6:29 AM on October 27, 2002

I never answer my phone.

But with this script in hand, I might have to start.
posted by at 7:10 AM on October 27, 2002

sinical -- I don't think you understand what an intrusion it is to the person you're calling. And how much of one. Before I stopped telling them to call, I was getting 15-20 calls a night.
Yes, it is a crappy job, and I really do feel sorry for people who have no other means to make a living, but if enough people quit the companies who do this, maybe the companies will learn?
And please don't say:
- "don't answer the phone" (I used to do that, they just keep calling back every 15-30 mins until they get an answer)
- "get caller ID" (I do -- it's 1/3 of my bill now! it used to be $3 here! AND you still have to get up and look at the ID)
- "turn off the ringer" (hey, it's my house and there are some calls which I would LIKE to not miss)
That being said, I refuse to yell -- this is my technique which was working REALLY well (until the pre-recorded msgs which you can't tell to stop calling!!!) --
TeleMarketer: Is ms. J there?/ Is this ms. J?
me: Who may I say is calling?
TM: [random person from random company]
me: I don't accept TM calls - please take me off your list. [click]
They have no way to get in more questions to keep you on the line.
posted by j at 7:12 AM on October 27, 2002

Upon receiving solicitations for newspapers / magazines I respond cheerfully and interestedly, then I inquire if they have a braille edition as I am blind. I've actually gotten apologies from them (some just hang up on me).
posted by DBAPaul at 7:16 AM on October 27, 2002

I don't get quite how they argue the script and the "imbalance" makes telemarketing successful... the canned speech always makes me more likely to cut them off with the "Sorry, not interested, don't call again" line.

I worked for a bit as a caller -- not doing pure telemarketing -- it was calling college alumni for donations. While it's a slightly different deal in that situation, they basically told us to avoid sounding as scripted as possible and to encourage conversation about anything in general, the idea being the longer you can keep them on the phone, the more likely they'll give in, or at least, think kindly on you the next time they are sollicited. And on the occassions where someone did string me along with a bunch of questions, I was more amused than upset -- helps to break up the monotony.

I don't really see the point in harassing telemarketers -- it's a crappy job and I'm sure they hate it as much as you hate getting the call. It's not like you're going to single-handedly win a war on obnoxious marketing schemes by harassing the poor 17 year old kid trying to get you to go in on time shares on Florida for his summer job.
posted by cedly at 7:20 AM on October 27, 2002

I actually am a HUGE crack whore. In fact, the only reason I have the strength to type this right now is because I just smoked a big honking rock of crack. It's weird that I'm an actual crack whore, and a telemarketing crack whore. What poignant irony.

you got 15-20 per night?? You wouldn't have had time to do anything, that's insane.
Your method will/does work very well, and is among the more frustrating people do because, like you say, there is no chance to say anything further to the person.

All this said, the 'telemarketing' I am doing is somewhat different from typical. I call alumni of a university and try to get them to give back to the school, not random phone numbers trying to sell life insurance or whatever.
posted by sinical at 7:22 AM on October 27, 2002

To throw them off script from the start I've used the following.

TM: "Hello, is Mr. Paul there?"
me: "Which Mr. Paul do you want?"

This obviously leads to several scenarios, my favorite was when the TM giggled as she responded "I don't know" and I asked "Gee, if you don't know, how would I know? Good bye."
posted by DBAPaul at 7:33 AM on October 27, 2002

Some states -- Pennsylvania is a good example -- have adopted "Do Not Call List" laws. It actually works, too... for all but the most odious of automated callers.

Unfortunetly, the political campaigns are excluded, so Bill Clinton has been calling... and calling...
posted by ph00dz at 7:44 AM on October 27, 2002

Here in Colorado, in fact, we have a "no call list". I must say that it has been quite effective and I get no calls at all anymore. The funny thing is that the Telemarketers have a hard time fighting the adoption of the no call law since they have to grudgingly admit they don't want to waste their time calling people that won't buy anything. I don't understand the whole free speech thing either, but there is no fundamental right to privacy...

I don't feel sorry at all for Telemarketers, it's their choice to take the job, and the abuse that comes with it.
posted by Eekacat at 8:09 AM on October 27, 2002

Would you apply the same argument to muggers? Crack whores?

Mugging : illegal

Crack : illegal

Telemarketers: legal

So no, I wouldn't apply the same argument. It's faulty, and a logics class would do you well.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 8:21 AM on October 27, 2002

I've discovered a therapeutic and highly productive way to deal with telemarkerters: as soon as I realize it's a scripted call, I say "can you hold on for a second," and put down the handset. I don't mean I hang up; I mean I just put the handset on the counter, then go back to doing whatever I had been doing before. Usually it takes the caller several minutes to realize I'm not coming back. And during that time, I figure I'm saving at least five or six other citizens from telephonic harassment.
posted by thomascrown at 8:22 AM on October 27, 2002

Yes, rushmc, annoying you is exactly like being a mugger or a crack whore.

I really love this logic that if you are rude enough to the guy making $5 an hour, no one will want to do the job, so the companies will stop telemarketing.

It must be nice to live in the world where no one takes unpleasant jobs because they've got to do something. Or where a big company gives a shit about how their lowest-level employees are treated.

God. Just hang up.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:30 AM on October 27, 2002

"sorry, I don't accept unsolicited calls." (hang up)

no more, no less.

but you guys really have me laughing with your "best of" stories, so script on!
posted by dharmamaya at 8:58 AM on October 27, 2002

When I get a call that starts, "May I speak to the person who is in charge of the phone bill?" I reply, "I'm sorry, I don't have a telephone," and hang up. Great fun (and good for a laugh for the telemarketer, too, if s/he has a sense of humor).
posted by UKnowForKids at 9:36 AM on October 27, 2002

I usually just say "Oops, can you hang on for a second?" and then set the phone down and walk away.

By occupying their time, at least we can hopefully spare a few other innocent victims. :-)
posted by oissubke at 9:41 AM on October 27, 2002

My sure-fire response: "No! No Eengleesh! Lei parla Italiano?" Works like a charm.
posted by vraxoin at 10:29 AM on October 27, 2002

I know it's not as much fun as fucking with the underpaid, but have any of you registered with the DMA's telephone preference service?

We signed up with the British version and we've had maybe three calls in two years (before we registered, we'd get 2 or 3 a week).
posted by ceiriog at 10:38 AM on October 27, 2002 "I never answer my phone."

May I add, at dinner time.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:40 AM on October 27, 2002

Here's a good one:

"Hello, is Mr. X there?"
"Oh, sorry, Mr. X passed away... a few days ago actually..."
"Oh, I'm very sorry."
"Eh, no loss" [hang up]
posted by Stauf at 10:54 AM on October 27, 2002

Here's a good one:
"fuck you, you leeching, intrusive, obnoxious, moronic piece of shit!"

Or -

"I'd love that! Let me get my credit card..." and then check back every half hour or so, say you can't find it, will keep looking, etc. Big fun.
posted by ac at 12:36 PM on October 27, 2002

Co-worker: Damn, she just hung up on me.
Me: Oh, well.
Co-worker: Oh, well nothing. I'm tired of this shit. I'm gonna call her and hang up on her.
*Proceeds to do so*
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:06 PM on October 27, 2002

"Oh, cemetery plots? Really? Well, thank you, but we eat our dead."

For a long time I politely said, "Please put this number on your do not call list. We do not accept telephone solicitations." It didn't seem to make any difference. Am I going to stay on the line with them long enough to find out which company is calling, and whether they're the same one I said the same thing to yesterday? No. Now I have this nifty service from the phone company called Privacy Director. Costs a bloomin' fortune. Worth every penny.
posted by Alylex at 1:22 PM on October 27, 2002

Privacy Director. Costs a bloomin' fortune. Worth every penny.
you DO realize that telephone companies allow the harrassment, even encourage it by marketing lists of numbers, recent movers, etc, and by not objecting over the years to the massive automated use of thier networks (remember when they were crying about all those modems tying things up?), and now turn around and profit again by ripping you off to allegedly protect you from this harrassment? bastards have the best of both worlds.

the telephone is a portal into my home. you are not welcome unless you have been invited. period.

of course, the REAL culprits are the 2% or so who allegedly ACTUALLY BUY SHIT from these leeches. i say allegedly because while everybody i know bitches about telemarketing, nobody i know has ever bought anything from them. who ARE these people? do they even exist? aren't they too busy eating cheesecake and ordering george foreman grills from QVC to accept random telemarketing calls?
posted by quonsar at 1:48 PM on October 27, 2002

Registering online with the DMA's Telephone Preference Service (to take you off telemarketer call lists) costs $5, payable with a credit card.
posted by faustessa at 2:03 PM on October 27, 2002


what "free TeleZapper trick?"
posted by billsaysthis at 3:31 PM on October 27, 2002

Hey buddy, the George Foreman grill is my favourite kitchen appliance. It really works!
posted by Jimbob at 4:22 PM on October 27, 2002

disconnected dial tones work well
posted by sadie01221975 at 5:03 PM on October 27, 2002

One of the greatest phone company features added was "Reveal"... you must state who you are before you can ring my phone. So that means any of those calls from internal places on autodialers and phone systems whose phones don't show the identity of the person/business won't get through.

If a call is out of state, I just don't answer it. I know where people I want to talk to live... caller ID is great for that. Most people I know out of state instant message me or talk online anyways, because who wants the extra long distance bills.

I used to work as a telemarketer selling long distance services when I first got out of high school. Terrible job, really. Now I generally just say to add my name and number to the do not call list for their client as well as their entire marketing firm, and I hang up. Questions I do ask them... "Are you employed by the firm you are representing, or are you part of a 3rd party marketing or telemarketing firm hired by a client company?" and if the answer is yes, "where are you based you based out of?" and then, "Great. Well, just add me to the do not call list for your entire company. Not just this one client, but I do not want your client, or your company, calling me. Thanks so much."
posted by benjh at 5:25 PM on October 27, 2002

Mugging : illegal
Crack : illegal
Telemarketers: legal

Not all unethical behavior has been outlawed in this country.

Some of you really amuse me with the way you cling to your victim attitudes. You are entitled not to be harrassed in your home. Grow some balls and defend that right.

Fax solicitations are illegal because they waste one's paper and tie up one's phone line; email solicitations are illegal (in my state) because they are intrusive and waste bandwidth and disk space. Well, telephone sales calls are far more annoying than either of the above, and my TIME is something I value much more highly than paper or disk space--of the lot, it's the only non-renewable resource.

No one has to work a telemarketing job. If things are that desperate, there are always fast food and equivalent jobs, where one actually provides a service. Applying for a telemarketing job is a choice. Someday it will not be a choice, as technology completely eliminates the process or it becomes criminalized. Given my druthers, I'd throw all telemarketers in jail. THIS is the type of solicitation that should be illegal. And I worked a brief stint as a toner bandit, so I do know what the job entails and the types who do the work.
posted by rushmc at 6:43 PM on October 27, 2002

Someday rushmc, someone is going to call you and offer you a hug.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 7:12 PM on October 27, 2002

And he'll be too busy calling them a "crack whore" to notice.
posted by Vidiot at 7:57 PM on October 27, 2002

No one has to work a telemarketing job.

I'll take this to the farthest logical conclusion: nobody has to have a telephone.
posted by jmd82 at 8:05 PM on October 27, 2002

It's amazing how much effort and money we spend on offensive and defensive measures to thwart telemarketers from using a service we pay for.

The telcos sell defensive measures (caller-id, e.g.) and use telemarketing to sell it! What????

The chances of the low-life telemarketing firms buying a no-call list, much less using it are slim.

Some "charity" groups are calling from a home number, that show a name and number on caller-id. I pick up thinking it's for one of the kids.
posted by hockeyman at 8:28 PM on October 27, 2002

You are entitled not to be harrassed in your home. Grow some balls and defend that right.

Jesus. If you call telemarketing "harassment," I have to wonder what you'd call actual harassment. "Thermonuclear war" maybe?
posted by kindall at 8:52 PM on October 27, 2002

Someday rushmc, someone is going to call you and offer you a hug.

Isn't that EXTRA special??

If you call telemarketing "harassment," I have to wonder what you'd call actual harassment.

The fact that you are an apologist for your harassers is deeply disturbing. You may choose to allow strangers to come into your home all the time, whenever they want, interrupting all sorts of activities and wasting your time (which apparently you don't value), in order to try to take your money from you, but that places you in the distinct minority.
posted by rushmc at 11:50 PM on October 27, 2002

One thing: I've been a telemarketer. But it wasn't until the third day of training that I figured out what the company actually did. And it wasn't until my second day on the job that I found out how shady it all was. Keep in mind that the person working the job might have been tricked into it themselves. I quit after a month, and only stayed so long out of desperation. The people on the other end of the actual intrusive phone call are not the source of the problem, please do not berate them. Even in the event of a successful sale, they don't see your money, anyway.
posted by kevspace at 12:02 AM on October 28, 2002

You may choose to allow strangers to come into your home all the time,

Wow! You've had telemarketers come to your house and force their way inside? No wonder you're upset. Fortunately, they only call me on the phone. If you call a phone call "coming into your home," what do you call actual trespassing -- genocide?

interrupting all sorts of activities

Oh, you must have one of those special phones that picks itself up and Velcros itself to your ear and sends electric shocks into your larynx to make you talk. What I do is something like this. If, when the phone rings, I don't want to interrupt what I'm doing, I don't answer it.

wasting your time (which apparently you don't value),

I value my time just fine, thanks. By which I mean, I'm not so full of myself that I think that every moment of my time is so monumentally valuable that spending five seconds hanging up the phone every once in a while is a tragedy beyond mortal comprehension, and I'm not so hypocritical that I waste time on MetaFilter pontificating about how monumentally valuable the time I could be wasting on MetaFilter is if only those damn telemarketers weren't forcing me to answer their calls and hang up on them.

Sheesh. I mean, come on, it's just telemarketing. It's not even worth the energy required to bend yourself out of shape over. When you get a mailbox full of junk mail, you throw it in the recycle bin and forget about it. When you get a telemarketing call, you hang up and forget about it. Obviously you're having some difficulty with the whole "forget about it" part. But that's what advertising is for: to be ignored.

"I don't like telemarketing and think it should be banned" is a perfectly fine line to take. Nobody could disagree. "I think telemarketers are literally harassers and trespassers, and anyone who disagrees is obviously testicularly deficient and may also be in league with the telemarketer axis of evil" is just begging to be mocked, though, and I have obliged.

Please do notify us immediately should telemarketers ever kill the family pet, that would truly be a shame.
posted by kindall at 1:18 AM on October 28, 2002

Oh my god, rushmc, a little perspective. Seriously, people should go to jail because they annoy you? Please.

Your life must be pretty trouble-free for telemarketing to inspire this much vitriol. If this is the biggest problem you have, you're a lucky person.

Also, everything that kindall said.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:18 AM on October 28, 2002

I have to agree with rushmc..

You see, I have kids. And I have a wife. And I have family that lives in a variety of places. And I have friends.

Now, when the phone rings, and maybe the wife isn't home - do I just let the phone ring, even if I'm in the middle of a diaper change? Well, hmm.. it could be the wife calling about something.

And see, if I had Caller ID, I'd have to stop what I was doing, anyway and check the caller ID box.

More times than not, kids have been screaming, somethings burning, dog's barking, and I've been polite.. "not interested, put me on your do not call list, thanks.." and I get "Can I ask why?" back.

And this 9pm cut-off.. hey - I have kids going to be at 7:30. When was 9 pm ever a decent time to call someone?

Junk mail bothers me a bit, sifting through it. But no big deal. Spam is annoying as hell. Probably because of the shear volume it can be. But telemarketing - well, now the people who run those companies should have their own plane of hell assigned to them.
posted by rich at 7:22 AM on October 28, 2002

Even in the event of a successful sale, they don't see your money, anyway.

They DO profit from their activity (in the form of a paycheck) or they wouldn't do it. The fact that the lion's share goes to the company does not negate the fact that they are preying upon strangers for a living.
posted by rushmc at 8:02 AM on October 28, 2002

I have to wonder what you'd call actual harassment. "Thermonuclear war" maybe?

what do you call actual trespassing -- genocide?

Fortunately I feel no need to indulge in such hyperbole and am quite content to simply call things what they are. Your silliness does not detract from my point. A telephone call DOES represent an intrusion into the home. I never claimed in any way that it was an intrusion equal to B&E. Somehow the fact that it is an offense less than "genocide" does not motivate me to dismiss it cavalierly as you are so quick to do.

Sheesh. I mean, come on, it's just telemarketing.

Ah, yes, the lazy man's easy way out: take a dismissive pose toward everything, then pat yourself on the back for having found a solution to problems that requires no effort or action on your part. I don't subscribe to that line of thinking, sorry.

But that's what advertising is for: to be ignored.

That may be your response to it, but it is certainly not what it is "for," purpose necessarily having to be determined by the intent of the creators. What it is "for" is to intrude into your awareness and modify your behavior by making you buy a product. There are times and places where this may be appropriate and acceptable: my home, at random times beyond my control, does not qualify as one of them.
posted by rushmc at 8:11 AM on October 28, 2002

Some of you really amuse me with the way you cling to your victim attitudes. You are entitled not to be harrassed in your home. Grow some balls and defend that right.

So I have to equate telemarketers with crackwhores and muggers to have, as you so elequently put it, balls?

Look, I'm all for making it illegal, I just don't think putting people making 5 bucks an hour in jail is the answer. It's like going after the dealer at the corner instead of the druglord (since you like such analogies). It does nothing (and you think the jails are crowded now) which I think is pretty obvious when you look at the 'war on drugs'.

I know a girl with 2 kids who got pregnant. She has to work. She WAS serving tables and working at a fastfood joint, but once she started to show she had to leave both jobs. She took a job at telemarketing for a few months to make ends meet. Yes, she had a hand in putting herself in that situation, but bottom line is she has to make money now.

Fact is, the turnover rate in such jobs is huge, and most employees hate their job. They're merely there until something better comes along.

Your argument comparing them to crackwhores and muggers is laughable at best. It's the type of argument that would be quickly thrown out in 'debate 101' at your local community college.

Since they have so much in common, I'm guessing you wouldn't find a difference in a friend or relative being mugged or having a call tonight from a telemarketer.

Fanatical views get us nowhere, and only makes a backlash for those who believe in an issue without such tripe.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 5:14 PM on October 28, 2002

Since they have so much in common, I'm guessing you wouldn't find a difference in a friend or relative being mugged or having a call tonight from a telemarketer.

I've already addressed that logical fallacy. Do try to read all the posts before responding.
posted by rushmc at 6:46 PM on October 28, 2002

I've read everything you've written, all with a good laugh, while you havn't even acknowledged several solid points in opposition to your position.

I'm am kicking myself, however, for not realizing your post for what it was, a troll.

Good job.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 7:05 PM on October 28, 2002

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