wedding mania

Somehow, the bridal industry has gotten hold of my name and location. I’ve been receiving wedding-related junk mail, telemarketing calls, and spam. I’ve “won” so many valuable prizes in the last few days that I must have single-handedly smashed the laws of probability all to bits. I just hung up on some woman who wanted to tell me I’d won…something, I couldn’t figure out exactly what, but apparently it was the result of “the survey” that I filled out at “the mall.” I’ve spent approximately two hours in a mall since last summer, and I don’t recall filling out any forms while I was there. “Maybe a friend filled it out for you?” the lady suggested. Now there’s a creepy thought.
Yes, I hang up on telemarketers. Usually before they say anything, because on those computer-dialed ones there’s that irritating pause between your first “hello” and when they get around to picking up the phone on their end. I don’t think this is disrespectful, first because I consider somebody calling me on the phone trying to sell me something to be nearly as intrusive as someone forcing their way into my home and making me listen to their sales pitch; and secondly because there is absolutely no chance I’m going to give any money to some anonymous voice on the phone, so the sooner I hang up the sooner they can move along to somebody that will. On the other hand, I don’t want to browbeat the telemarketer. I’m no good at browbeating people, for one thing, and more importantly they are probably just regular people who need the money. I myself have interviewed for two “telephone survey” type jobs. One was with Gallup, it was a telephone interview with lots of deep psychological questions like “Do you like the sound of your own voice?” and “Do you ever “get tough” with people?” I didn’t get the job.
I did make some calls of my own today for various wedding-related goods and services. I was reasonably polite on all of them, and so were the anonymous telephone voices. See how much better it is this way?

4 Responses to “wedding mania”

  1. alan says:

    I used to handle telemarketers much like you do. I would either hang up before they could speak, or politely but firmly terminate the call within the first 10 seconds, “I’m sorry, but I don’t do phone sales or surveys.” Nine times out of ten, the response will be, “Thank you. *click*.” That 10th stubborn person will still try to wheedle a sale, but I firmly state, “I’m not buying anything from you. Anything. You’d be better off calling the next person.” They get the point, and usually appreciate that I didn’t drag the call out.
    Then, when my phone would ring several times each night during the election season this past Fall, something in me snapped. I’m still polite and firm with most callers, but if they give me any trouble (and I mean ANY trouble) I launch into a diatribe on how low their life must have sunk for them to be staying in a job like this, earning not nearly enough pay while being the target of constant rejection and abuse.
    The strategy behind my switch is to make the job of telemarketers a miserable one. I know that the people staffing the phones don’t personally deserve my treatment of them, except that they can’t shed responsibility for participating in the continuation of an invasive and annoying business practice. When the job appeal of “telemarketer” rates just below “french fry cooker,” talented people will flee the industry for greener pastures and sales volumes should decline. Bottom line: when telemarketing ceases to provide a return on investment, it will stop.
    Thank God you didn’t get your phone jobs, Michele. Even though Gallup is a respected organization, the position would have been a rough one.

  2. pcg says:

    I have the three-second rule whereby if I answer the phone, say hello, and don’t hear anything by the time my phone timer reads 0:03, I hang up. I usually hear them saying, “Hello?”, just as I plunk the phone down. I think I might start keeping the phone off the hook and just ignore everything they’re saying. Or act completely mental and misunderstand their point.
    But I like the bit about sabotaging the entire industry, alan.

  3. michele says:

    I used to keep my phone disconnected, or ringer turned off, quite a bit of the time. Life was very peaceful that way. My dad says he doesn’t get a cell phone because the time he spends in transit from one place to another is the only time he has to himself, since nobody can get ahold of him, and he refuses to give that up.

  4. joel says:

    I solve the problem by only having a cell phone. I have never received a telemarketing call in the 2.5 years that I’ve had this phone number. There’s some urban legend floating around that it’s illegal to spam cellphones with telemarketing. All signs point to that being true.
    Not everyone can do that, I suppose – when there are families and such, cellphones are less viable. But my stars, when I was at tuuk & mark’s during election season, and all 7 of their answering machine messages were from candidates, I was quite glad for my lack of a landline. I also resolved to never vote for anyone that made unsolicited phone calls. Since everyone made them, it made my job on election day a lot easier…

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