Befriending Stupidity for a Legitimate Reason

Unavoidable stupidity often turns up at the other end of the telephone line in the guise (or voice) of telemarketers. I’ve posted about these pestilent stupers (short for radically stupid persons) before.  I’ve since conveniently devised a new tactic, protocol even, for getting rid of them without raising our blood pressure or eyebrows (for those of you like myself, concerned about pesky forehead wrinkles, yet cautious about Botox). However, be forewarned, this method requires a bit of deviousness. Those who are puritanical at heart need read no further.

I do not promote deceit or trickery unless it’s a last resort for maintaining one’s sanity, as was the case here. Perhaps readers should not try this at home, as it does require some training and expertise.

 For the past six months on a timetable as regular as that of my rooster who crows at 1:45 am, 3:09 am, 4:55 am and again every four minutes commencing at 5:21 am until I roll out of bed for the morning feeding, I’ve been receiving a recorded telephone call from the same party. It’s an eerily calm female voice with a slightly sinister tone that warns,

“Don’t be alarmed, but this is your last chance to lower your interest rate on your credit card. Push 1 if you are interested and a representative will come on the line.”

 I do periodically suffer from a mild case of gullibility so I pressed 1 the very first time. I then asked the representative,

 “What precisely is the name of your company and what exact course of action do you take to lower rates?”

The line went dead.

The next few times they called, I merely hung up. But after being told not to be alarmed for months on end, I needed closure. I pressed 1 again and asked the timid representative,

“Would you like my social security number? How about my mother’s maiden name? Will my savings account number do?”

This time the rep hesitated a moment, then hung up.

I did some research. I learned that, short of adding caller ID for a small, but persistent monthly fee, (which is no deterrent to these types of calls, but does provides fair warning  to the recipient of the nature of the call), I needed to gather details and report these telephonic intruders to the proper agency in order to stop the calls once and for all. To do this, I needed to act as willing bait, which as my astute readers know, I’ve done many times in the past to promote understanding and rapid resolution of stupidity.

Unfortunately, I received no further communication from these alarmists despite lying in wait next to the phone for weeks on end (I exaggerate just a tad for emphasis here).

Although they never called again, other equally annoying telemarketers did, including one “Entertainment Company” rep searching for Husband (H) at home, of all places; they called in reference to his business, certain that he was a prime candidate for buying $25 coupon books for his employees. I didn’t have the heart to tell them he only had one employee: himself.

I talked to the rep with great animation, and used the charm I typically reserve for those who will potentially pay me with enormous checks for my perfectly legal and above the table services (which are, naturally, the only kind of services I offer). Anyhow, I got tons of information – name of caller, name of company, physical location, favorite restaurant, shoe size and so on, all of which I reported immediately (so fast that my telephone receiver was still hot from my, if not sweaty, at least glistening palm) to the Do Not Call Registry. I have not heard from them again.

I wish I could tell you that my strategy is foolproof, but it is not. It wasn’t fifteen minutes ago, as I sat behind this very screen providing my dearest readers with valuable information, that my phone rang. It was Wells Fargo bank in which I hold an account. The rep informed me that she was about to send a $25 gas gift card if I would only spend some time perusing their pamphlet on their extremely inexpensive auto insurance that would accompany the gift card. I could keep the gas card no matter what; they would just bill me monthly and assume I agreed to their terms if I did not call and cancel the auto insurance within 48 hours of receipt.

I gathered the necessary information once more, which the rep gave readily and cheerfully. She also provided a Universal Do No Call Number, which I speedily dialed, only to hang up minutes later. The voice at the other end asked for one of my most closely guarded secrets. No, not my true identity or where I keep my fake necklace that strongly resembles the Hope Diamond and in fact, was once briefly confiscated by museum authorities as being the real thing, but my precious social security number. I was foiled. I hung up the telephone without completing my purpose of entering them on the Never Again Call Me list.

Not to worry; I will formulate a new plan and regroup.  I am not one to give up easily; sometimes not at all. In the meantime,

Use your mind.


8 Responses to “Befriending Stupidity for a Legitimate Reason”

  1. Ferd says:

    Oh no, I will not be trying this at home. I will leave that up to stuper experts like you, Kel. Once you perfect the technique, I’ll attend your eConference or buy your eBook so I can learn to foil the shit out of those irritating jerks! Sorry about the profanity (not really), but I really do despise those calls!
    Fun post!

  2. Mad Woman says:

    Ugh…telemarketers are the bane of my very existence. They always seem to call during dinner at my house so I’ve taken to asking for their phone numbers so that I can call them back. It’s strange, they hang up fairly quickly after that.

    I like the charities that call and won’t take no for an answer. Very annoying.

  3. Jessica Bern says:

    I never answer my land line b/c of these people. I only keep the land line b/c I have DSL and I want quick access to 911 which you don’t get here in CA with a cell phone. Yes, I’ve called 911 on my cell and been put on hold, nice huh? Anyway, I won’t pay for caller ID so I just don’t answer. On the few times that I have I just say that she, me, doesn’t live here anymore and if they call me by my old married name I just say that she is dead b/c that person with that name no longer legally exists. Good luck.

  4. Elaine says:

    I don’t get too many of these calls but usually I hang up or ask them to put me on the do not call list. One of these days for the pure enjoyment of messing with them I think I will try your approach 🙂

  5. Jenny says:

    Oh girl, you are so funny. I need to catch up on all your blog posts I’ve missed in this frenzy of work I’ve had (not over yet, but at least I’m caught up).

    The other day I had some fun with a telemarketer. The first thing he did wrong was call me. I picked up — even though caller ID revealed the caller’s identity as a telemarketer — because I was bored. He asked for my husband, but woefully mispronounced our last name (second mistake). “No one by that name resides here,” I told him. Long silence. “Isn’t this the home of …” he asked, this time pronouning our name CORRECTLY. “You didn’t ask for him!” I pointed out. “You asked for some other guy!” I must have been kind of loud because then he said, “I’m sorry to have upsetted you.”


    “Sir,” I said. “UPSETTED is not even a WORD.”

    He hung up. Was I too mean?

  6. Keli says:

    I shall perfect!! You too will ably foil. And you are now first on my list to attend any conference I may appear at and/or receive my book when finally published.
    Mad Woman:
    Mine have a tendency to call between 8:30 and 9 pm. They must have me on their night owl list. One had the nerve to call at 9:15 pm. Stupidity knows no bounds.
    I never tried the “dead” approach. But somehow, I don’t think that would deter them.
    I think you would enjoy it!
    No, you were not too mean. Anyone who cannot pronounce a simple last name like yours deserves far worse! But on the bright side – I never heard of a dreaded telemarketer apologizing.

  7. Agnes Mildew says:

    On occasion, I have allowed telemarketers to give me their spiel – particularly if they want to sell me double glazing. I let them bull me up, agree to meet with them and then they ask approximately how many windows need glazing. I reply: None. It was only done two years ago. My windows are great but I thought it might be nice to have a bit of company since I get bored from time to time.

    They never see the funny side of it, but I do!

  8. Keli says:

    How wonderful that you have the gift of turning stupidity on its empty head! It’s lovely to laugh at the expense of stupers.

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