Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I know a sweet person who, not wanting to be rude, will listen to a telemarketer’s sales pitch all the way through to the bitter end, even though she has no intention of buying. At the very end, feeling bad, she will apologize.

While she means to be polite, I wonder if this drives telemarketers (who I’ve heard are timed) crazy.

Other people (I’m talking to you, Dad) will try to talk sense to telemarketers, about why the caller shouldn’t be a telemarketer at all.

Maybe a lot of people do what I do, but since some seem to struggle, I’d thought I’d put my strategy out there:

Yes, I did register all our phones with the donotcall registry. But we still get some.

I do not answer the phone if I don’t recognize the number, period. If you’re a real caller, you will leave a message.

If I do pick up the phone and there isn’t instantly a real person, I hang up. I don’t say a second hello into the void. If you say that second “hello” or wait too long, you will be routed to the next available telemarketer or to a recording.

If it’s a recording, I hang up. Duh.

If I do end up with a live telemarketer, I say “No, thank you” and hang up. Yes, I cut them off. Yes, I hear them continuing to speak. I do it anyway.

Rude? Yes. The “No, thank you” I say is just a sop, a recognition that there is a person on the other end, someone who has possibly the worst job ever.

But telemarketers are one of those groups who “don’t take no for an answer.” They are taking advantage of people’s niceness.

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