I think I’m the only person in the world who looks forward to calls from telemarketers. Rather than find them obtrusive, I see them as opportunities for entertainment.
Because I love screwing with these people.
Somehow, I wound up on an online pharmacy’s call list. They have been phoning me repeatedly for a couple of years now, usually trying to sell me Viagra. (Hey! Do they know something I don’t?). I looked these guys up and there are complaints a mile long from other people being harassed in a similar manner; a typical comment reads, I’ve gotten repeated calls for prescriptions. I even got ugly with the gal after repeatedly telling her not to call again. Now I’m really ticked, that don’t stop no matter how angry I get with them. So it’s not just me. They blatantly ignore the Do Not Call registry and are very sneaky, calling from multiple phone numbers with ever-changing area codes. Blocking one number doesn’t help. It is beyond annoying.
Or used to be, anyway. In the past, I tried kindly asking them to remove me from their list. And then demanding it. Then I just ignored the calls, but they happen at least once, every single day, without fail. Short of changing my number (which I refuse to do – I like my phone #!), there is nothing I can do to stop them. So I decided, instead, to have fun with them.
Take today, for instance. They called with their usual spiel. I feigned interest. They asked me for my billing address, and I told them I was homeless. They asked for my shipping address next, so I said, “I suppose you can reach me c/o the 12th Street underpass – because that’s where I’m sleeping tonight!”
Still, they persisted. “Sir, I sympathize with your position and am prepared to offer you a generous discount on this order.”
“How kind of you,” I replied. “But seeing as how I have no roof over my head and am panhandling for change and digging through garbage cans for maggot-infested scraps of food, I think I’ll pass!”
In the background, my coworkers were having conniption fits. I don’t even know what a “conniption fit” is, but they were having ‘em.
Finally, the lady on the phone got the hint, wished me well, and hung up. But you know what? They’ll call tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. I’d bet my life on it.
So, I’ll just continue to come up with increasingly outlandish tales.
Yesterday when they called to offer me Viagra, I said I’d pass, but – dropping my voice to a conspiratorial tone – asked if they might be able to set me up with some marijuana instead.
“Sir, we only deal in legal drugs.”
“But I wanna get high!” I persisted.
“I’m sure you can buy that stuff anywhere,” they responded.
At least that guy had a sense of humor.
I’ve tried many other tactics. Acted like I was going deaf (“What’s that? You want to sell me a trip to NIAGARA Falls? Oh. Pillows. Sorry. What kind of pillows?”). Spoke in an invented language, responding to every sentence with nonsense gibberish. Pretended I was gay once and asked the “sexy sounding beefcake” on the line if he’d take me on a date if I bought some Viagra, promising I’d cuddle with him afterwards. I was overly enthusiastic once, asking if they sold these pills by the case (“I’m quite the player, my friend!”) and could they just back a semi truck up to my driveway and unload them that way. But my favorite conversation of all time happened when I decided to play it straight…right up until the very end.
Yes, I told them, I would like to order some pills. We discussed different options. Went over billing and shipping addresses (fake ones, of course) and delivery details. And then, it came time to pay for my order.
“What is your credit card number, sir?”
“OK, it’s a VISA. Are you ready?”
“Yes, go right ahead.”
Long pause. “Please continue, sir.”
“I’m sorry, continue?”
“I’ll need the full credit card number.”
“I just gave it to you.”
“I’m sorry, I only caught 7.”
“That’s right. When can I expect this order?”
“Sir, the credit card number should be sixteen digits long.”
“I’m holding the card right here in my hand. The number is 7.”
“No, it isn’t. I remember when I signed up, they told me I was the seventh person to ever receive this VISA card!”
A much longer pause, followed by a very exasperated, “Have you enjoyed wasting my time?”
“Quite a bit! Have you enjoyed wasting mine?!” And hung up triumphantly.
I felt giddy afterwards.
Is this a mean thing to do? Absolutely not. I have given these people every opportunity to remove me from their database. Asking, pleading, demanding, and threatening have done nothing. They all speak in difficult-to-understand foreign accents and are often rude and unprofessional. Turnabout is fair play. So, keep on calling. I’m a Taurus, which means I’m stubborn. Plus, I’m creative. That’s a deadly combination. In the words of Dirty Harry, go ahead. Make my day.
What is your strategy for dealing with telemarketers?
- Increase in telemarketer call complaints (cinewsnow.com)