Good Bye and Get Lost
On the drive back from San Diego last Sunday night after an exhausting day of moving our son from one college dorm to another for summer school, I heard a woman being interviewed on the radio about how she deals with the growing problem of unwanted telemarketing calls. She discussed her investigative skills in digging up details about the company making the call, like their CEO’s name, address and even personal telephone number. Once she has this information, she then posts it on her own blog and invites readers to call the CEO, preferably during the dinner hour. Oh, my. And well done, ma’am!
This woman also has the tenacity to send invoices to the offending companies for the amount of time they usurp from her day at a rate of $500 an hour. (I’m assuming she is an attorney by profession.) Surprisingly, during her radio interview, she claimed to have been paid many thousands of dollars over the course of the last five or so years.
While I can‘t imagine having the cojones to do either of the above, I applaud her efforts to fight against this contemporary plague of menacing marketers. Last year I wrote about daily the calls I had been getting on our home phone from various people representing this or that home improvement contractor. Every call begins with an almost identical pitch: “Is this James Chase? James, I talked with you back in January about projects that you might be considering around your house. You asked me to call you back after several months and you might be ready to talk.”
If I don’t simply hang up on the offending caller as soon as I hear my given name, I ask the person why they think I would ever do business with someone who lies to me with his very first call? Buh-bye.
A year later, these fine folks are still calling at least a half dozen times a week. And they’re not alone. Our home phone (with its supposedly unlisted number for which I pay AT&T extra every month) has been receiving an increasing number of unsolicited calls every day. And yes, I’m on the national “No Call” list. Big whoop. That worthless legislation has more loopholes in it than Bill and Hillary’s wedding vows. Case in point: I’m answering endless calls from “marketing partners” who have obviously been given my private contact information by either So Cal Edison or the Gas Company and who try to sell me some sort of energy efficient, green-this-or-that program to help lower my utility bills each month. The delicious irony here is that I already know of a surefire way to lower my utilities – cancel my home phone. That alone would cut more than $50 off my monthly overhead.
The latest almost daily annoyance is from an irritating robo-recording whose first words are, “Do not hang up!” I have no idea what the pitch is going to be for because, of course, I immediately hang up.
But the telemarketer who wins the mirror ball prize for demonstrating the ultimate in chutzpa is the firm who called me just yesterday. I answered our landline like I always do and – after a few second pause – heard the following recording, “This is an important offer from XYZ Company. All of our representatives are busy helping other customers right now, but please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly.”
I kid you not. I almost didn’t hang up so I could learn what company had taken the art of interruption and irritation to unprecedented new lows. I say almost because after listening to music-on-hold and a second and third message reminding me to hold on for an important message, my attitude flipped from curious to furious and I banged the handset down.
Next time they call, however, I’m going to stay on hold and invoice them for my time.
I’ll see you ’round town.