Stupidity of the Telemarketer Variety

I’m surprised I haven’t been asked to donate my telephone to the Museum of Local Artifacts. It’s hardly antiquated, but it lacks a vital, modern day feature that’s become a staple of most American households: Caller ID.

I do not cherish the element of surprise. It’s just that our main callers at home are close friends and relatives. Not the stuper (short, as you know, for a distinctively stupid person) variety, but people to whom we’ve willingly provided our number. Then there are the others, consisting of (and this is what makes caller ID priceless) telemarketers of the most terrifyingly annoying kind.

In the beginning, I was tolerant, patient, even mildly pleasant to such intrusive, irritating tele-terrorists. Then things changed.

I began receiving a pre-recorded message advising me, in tones reserved for the IRS and the Pentagon, that this was my final chance to lower the interest rate on my credit card. The words “final” and “last chance” were threateningly repeated. I received this same message several times over the next six months. Then early one morning, at the pre, pre-dawn hour of 1:37 am, the telephone rang, causing my heart to pound with great ferocity. I expected the worst. I groggily picked up the phone only to hear the same damn pre-recorded message. I hung up. Did someone forget to shut off the freaking auto-dial?

I tracked down that caller and made sure they didn’t call again, by using a few choice words. But thereafter, I became intolerant, belligerent…whenever the phone rang, I found myself hunching my shoulders so that my tee shirt ripped vertically down my back as it rapidly shrunk in size. My skin turned an unappealing shade of asparagus green and my usually shiny locks became dry and brittle.

Here’s an actual transcript (I swear these were the callous caller’s exact words) from my communication with yet another dreaded telemarketer:

Me: Hello?

TM: Ms. Kimmy Carson? (Never, never have they gotten my name right) This is Toby Elias calling on behalf of Blind and Disabled Firefighters who want to build a children’s hospital…

Me: Please. Remove. Me. From. Your List. Now!

TM: Don’t you care about burnt children?

Me: (hollering) No!

TM: I will only be too HAPPY to remove some one like YOU from our list.

America is the land of the free and home of the brave, but did you know it’s also the place where there’s enough telemarketing power to place 560 calls per second? I’ve briefly considered moving to Germany where telemarketing is illegal and businesses may not call on customers without prior consent.

I treated these agents of telephone torment as Class A stupers… until I read an article profiling the life of a random telemarketer. A sensitive chord resounded from somewhere deep, really deep, inside of me. This caller was no stuper. He suffered from Down’s Syndrome and was unable to maintain any other kind of job. Moreover, calling people on the phone and getting people to talk to him made him very happy whether they sent money or not. In fact, he looked forward to doing his job.

This may well have been telemarketing propaganda and me all the more a sucker for falling for it, but still. How difficult was it for me to politely say, “No, thank you,” simultaneously promoting peace and tranquility and not permitting stupidity into my life? Or how about not answering the phone and waiting to find out whom was calling?

This very morning, I received a typical telemarketer call. Two seconds of dead silence, then:

“This is Destiny Adams. I’m calling on behalf of Verizon,” and so on, in the most robotic, monotone, unhappy of voices. I heard between her words and recognized a reluctant, miserable marketer who likely felt enslaved in her job and who’d rather be anywhere than where she was.

I listened and said as kindly as I could muster, “No, thank you,” and was none the worse for it.

Registering on the National Do-Not-Call Registry did me about as much good as asking my dog to answer the phone. Telemarketers still call, only a little less. I rely solely on courtesy when I answer the phone. I do sometimes say my “No, thanks” a little more abruptly than I should, but it’s better than losing my sanity.

Keep thinking.


5 Responses to “Stupidity of the Telemarketer Variety”

  1. Jillian says:

    Oh man, do I HATE telemarketers! I was shocked to find that now they call on Sundays! I thought that day was sacred or something. Bah.

  2. Jennifer says:

    The fact that one of my children was forced to take a job as a telemarketer for awhile in college has done nothing to mitigate my loathing for these bottom-feeders. I rely on caller ID to tell me when not to answer the phone, but sometimes when they’ve called sixteen times a day for five days straight, I will pick up just to say “STOP CALLING THIS NUMBER OR I WILL REPORT YOU TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.” They love to tell you (if you will listen long enough) that if you are a previous customer of whatever bloodsucking entity they are calling for, the presence of your number on the Do-Not-Call Registry does not mean a thing. I hang up on them at that point. AAAARRRRGGGGHHH!

  3. Sarah says:

    Wow! I really hate telemarketers. I’ve tried being nice, I’ve tried being a bitch, but they keep on calling. I felt sorry for them for a short time, then realized they must have really thick skins to keep on telemarketing. Now they just take their chances when they call.

  4. Agreed wholeheartedly. Telemarketing is the spam of yesteryear, but since it’s on such a personal level, it is exponentially more annoying. You can’t just casually click “delete” on a telemarketer. Well I guess if you got some addresses and a rifle, you could, but it would be pretty far from “casual”.

  5. Keli says:

    Nothing is sacred in the telemarketing industry.
    I’m afraid I’ve never listened long enough to gather that valuable info about the previous customer business. That explains the repeat callers. AAAARRRGGG! is right!
    Yes, it’s quite a challenge to feel sorry for them. And it’s the same with me; my reaction depends on my mood, the time of day….
    You’re right about the personal level bit. Intelligent people around the globe have figured out ways to erase problems. I’m certain there’s a way to “delete” a telemarketer. Imagine the thanks we’d get! Possibly even a Nobel Peace Prize!

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