IJMC The Telemarketer Tango

                    IJMC - The Telemarketer Tango

There is one simple goal to this game. Win. You'll never reach the point 
where telemarketers will no longer call, but, so long as you have more 
fun then they do, you win.

BTW, I notice that Netcom decided to deliver most of last week's mail 
finally. So, for all of you who received half a dozen IJMC's at once, 
well, sorry. A few weeks until I get the server on my end...then when it 
happens...it will be my fault. 

Lastly, I'm out of town this weekend...so, two posts tonight. Two posts 
Sunday night. Let's rock.                                          -dave

        How to Handle Telemarketers (long but very good)
                     by Michael Owen

If you're like most people, and most people are, you 
resent telemarketers calling you at home trying to sell 
you something.

And it probably irritates you that they seem invariably to 
call at dinner time. I used to wonder why they would do that, 
knowing they were only irritating people who would then be less 
likely to buy what they're selling.

A friend of mine who once worked as a telemarketer explained 
it to me.

"When do you expect us to call?" he said. "At 2 in the 
afternoon, when nobody's home?"

That would be nice. But I guess it wouldn't be too profitable.

Anyway, since they seem to be a fact of life these days, I thought 
I'd make the best of it and try to have a little fun with them.

At first, I would just let them go through their entire spiel, then 

"I'm sorry, I'm hard of hearing. Would you repeat that?" I'd do that
several times until they finally caught on and hung up. One of them 
got really irritated after repeating his pitch three times and snapped,
"You're just wasting my time."

"I guess that makes us even," I said.

But that got old after a while. Besides, it took too long.

And in addition to that, my telemarketer friend told me that a lot of
the folks who do this for a living can't do anything else. So I felt
kind of bad for wasting their time.

(OK, I didn't feel REAL bad, but I stopped doing it.)

So that's how I stumbled upon a new hobby. It's fun, entertaining, and
it's an exercise in thinking quickly. Here's what you do. Whenever a
telemarketer calls, try to come up, on the spot, with a spiel of your
own that will disarm the caller and, if possible, maybe even entertain
him or her a bit.

The following are genuine examples. (And, as Dave Barry says, I swear
I am not making these up.)

The phone rings.

"Hello, is this Michael Owen?"


"Hello, Mr. Owen, my name is Brenda and I'm with MCI. How are you 

Fine, and you?

"I'm fine, Mr. Owen. Does anyone in your home make long-distance
telephone calls?"


"No one?"


"Well, do you receive a lot of collect calls?"


"Not many?"

Nope. None.

"You don't make ANY long distance calls or receive ANY collect calls?"

No, m'am. You see, I belong to the Seventh-Day B'nai Antioch church,
and my religion strictly forbids me from using the telephone at all.


"Uh, Mr. Owen, you're using the phone right now."




You get the idea?

"Hello, this is Christi with Rollin' Hills photography studio. Would
you be interested in a free family portrait?"

No, thank you.

"Not even for free?"

No, ma'am. You see, my brother is a staff photographer for National
Geographic, and he does all our portraits for us for free.

"Really? That's nice."

Yes m'am, it is. Of course, we have to take off all our clothes and
squat naked around a camp fire for him to do it -- so you can imagine
what our Christmas cards look like -- but hey, they're free.


"Hello, is this Mike Owen?"


"Mr. Owen, I am authorized to offer you a week's stay at a fabulous
resort if you and your fami ..."

Not interested, thank you.

"Mr. Owen, it's free, if you and your ..."

'Scuse me, sir, but you see, my Uncle Horatio Hilton owns all the Hilton
Hotels in the United States.

(I swear to God he then said:)

"So ... uh, I guess you get a discount, huh?"



"Hello, is this Mr. Owen?"


"How would you like to make big bucks in your spare time?"

No thanks, I'm rich as hell.


IJMC November 1997 Archives