Most of friends and family have gotten the message – if the answering machine picks up, just start talking. If we’re home, we’ll answer. (which means, we occasionally get a vm that goes like this: “hey guys, it’s me…[pause]…hello?…[longer pause]…hello? Are you not home or you just avoiding me?”). We don’t have call display so this has become our passive-aggressive way to avoid tireless telemarketers.
They are a tenacious bunch, calling at odd hours or meal times. That stony silence when you first pick it up until a tiny voice asks “how are you today, ma’am?” Um..I was great until you interrupted my dinner AND called me Ma’am! Do I sound like a Ma’am!?!
Usually, if I was dumb enough to answer in the first place, I hang up before they can start talking. Only once, did they call right back…for the next 5 days at 6 p.m. precisely just to swear at me and hang up. Talk about tenacious!
But in the event that my reflexes are slow that day and I do get a live person, I’ve compiled a list of 22 tips to test telemarketers. Maybe they’ll get the message!
- keep repeating “what?”
- ask personal questions like, “does my voice make my butt look fat?”
- put them on hold, and don’t come back
- stay silent and see who hangs up first
- keep interrupting them (especially if they’re determined to stay on script)
- ask dumb questions – they may be unrelated to the product/service being promoted
- ask them what they’re wearing
- try out a new accent…or two…or three…
- break out your cheesiest pick up lines
- interrupt them and try to sell them something instead
- ask them to marry you
- pretend to be your voicemail box, even if they catch on
- say you’d like to join/donate/buy, but…and then “spin a yarn” like a hurtin’ country song!
- speak only in ig-pay atin-lay
- play along – keep them on the line as long as possible
- practice that new language you’ve been learning
- feign multiple personalities
- tell them you have to check with your leader, Megatron
- scream and then apologize for not using your indoor voice
- phrase everything in the form of a question
- interrupt them to explain your terms and fees for listening
And last but not least, take a hint from Jerry Seinfeld (Season 4, Episode 3):
Telemarketer: Hi, would you be interested in switching over to TMI long distance service?
Jerry: Oh, gee, I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you later?
Telemarketer: Uh, well I’m sorry, we’re not allowed to do that.
Jerry: Oh, I guess you don’t want people calling you at home.
Jerry: Well, now you know how I feel.
(Jerry hangs up)
I had a friend who had to work as a telemarketer. She hated her job as much as people hated hearing from her. So try a little humour -and always…
p.s. Sometime I’ll share my sure-fire way to avoid slimy sales reps soliciting at my front door!