Sunday, November 09, 2008

When the Telemarketer Calls . . .

When my daughter was a baby, I remember having her on the changing table when the phone rang.  In that instant, as I debated leaving the baby on the table to answer the phone, it occurred to me that I PAY for that ringing annoyance.  So why should I risk my child's life in order to answer a ringing phone? 

And that was the day I stopped answering the phone--and that was before called ID was invented.  Ever since then, especially since the advent of caller ID, I think of the phone as something expendable, like a blender.  It's nice to have when I need it, but it's certainly not a necessity.  

I'm sure this philosophy has spared me from many a conversation with telemarketers.  But sometimes one of those calls will still slip through, usually when I answer because I'm expecting a call from someone else, or because I thought I recognized the number in the caller ID window. 

Some brilliant European folks have come up with an answer:  the telemarketer counterscript.  You can find it here.    It's simple to use:  the minute you realize you have a telemarketer on the line, start asking questions and filling in blanks.  Turn the tables. 

I find the idea so intriguing that I might actually pick up the phone one of these days . . . 



SmilingSally said...

lol I'd like to have a copy of that right by my phone!

sara said...

you are right, that is very intriguing! I am really curious what the person would do! I may just have to try that....this time of year, we seem to get a whole lot more of those calls!!

Mocha with Linda said...


And I'm glad the election is over. Those constant calls made me crazy!

Suzanne said...

I used to sing to telemarketers. I'd start singing the A-B-C's and they'd stop talking and listen. I'd get to l,m--and then say N-O really loud and then hang up.

Then I'd laugh myself silly.

Mike + Stacey Duncan said...

i have to admit, one of the great things about only having a cell phone is no telemarketing calls. because we don't have a landline and only our cell phones, we absolutely never get telemarketing (or election!) calls!

But for those who are interested, search do not call list, and you can call the national do not call registry and take your phone number off the call list.

Anonymous said...

now i know why my phone isn't ringing off the wall! the elections are over!
love the idea of responses! may have to try this if i accidently get caught.
question: what do you do when the telemarketer is a computer? (we get a lot of these)

Anonymous said...

What fun! I do that spontaneously with telemarketers. We've discussed pets, accents (Canadians often say /spoos/ for spouse, for example), jobs, children, and weather. It's a lot of fun!

Though I'll admit my finest responses go to the poor people working off a database the computer researched when I refinanced my house. For some reason, my long-time ex-husband's name shows up there. So, when a telemarketer asks for him, I say sweetly, "I'm so sorry! He doesn't live here. In fact, he's never lived here. I believe he and his new wife live in Loveland. I'm sure you can find them in the directory." And then listen to the poor schmuck stammer apologies ... ;-D