Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Please Leave A Message

Probably one of the best ways to deal with telemarketers is to buy an old-style answering machine and, using the best DJ voice you can muster, shout into the contraption something like, "WCFY -YOU'RE ON THE AIR!" The number of stunned responses I've gotten from that gag was surprising. I once set up such a greeting and then motored over to Taco Bell for lunch. When I got home approximately half of an hour later, I listened to assorted "Uhh's, "Hi. Um's", and two responses from my mom, neither of which reflected the joy of a woman calling to ask if I was coming over for Dinner on Sunday night.

Telemarketing is out of control. One cannot change channels on TV without hearing some hyperventilating twit yelling "this offer won't last long!" or "our flimsy product is not sold in stores!" Apparently, not enough people feel any urge to "call now!" these days. I say that in the context of telemarketers taking the initiative to place an increased number of cold calls lately. These calls are beginning to make me feel a bit paranoid. No matter what time of morning I take my shower, "Fred's Anti-Inflationary House Flipping Emporium" leaves a message. Almost without fail those calls come in just as I'm soaping up my left armpit. As I don't recall placing an order for micro security cameras to be installed on the other side of American Standard's finest porcelain product in my bathroom, I'm a bit unnerved by the knowing timing of the calls.

Then there are the political surveys. One winner was "stand by to answer an important questionnaire regarding the economy. As a reward for completing the survey, you'll receive a two week vacation in the Bahamas". It was as though the entire reason I sought an education was so I could use it as a weapon against such rabble-rousers. A woman on the other end informed me that I would only need to answer five questions. (Turns out that my address and where I bank were two of them.) In answering her questions, I informed her that Federal Witness Protection laws preclude me from answering her queries. "But I can refer you to Captain Bercolmb of the Federal Bureau of Investigation if you'd like. Hello? Hello?" The hesitation at the other end gave me the green light to proceed. "I need to inform you that this call is being monitored", I mentioned to the woman while adjusting the volume control on the phone. "That beeping you hear is only the machine which is recording your call. Shall we bring your supervisor online and discuss your offer further?" Dead silence reigned supreme at the other end as I hung up laughing.

I've also been plagued by some rather risqué calls from, appropriately enough, the D.C. (202) area code. "Hi, I'm Melanie. I've been checking you out on the Internet. You're cute. Blah blah" is the type of call I've been getting only when I'm not home. It's bad enough having to deal with unwanted solicitations. It's downright creepy when Adult Entertainment Inc. stalks people in the hopes of drumming up business. I'm not quite sure how those calls originated. I suspect that they latched onto the G-rated dating sites like Match or Zoosk. I've tried both in the past, which is the single biggest reason I've developed a complex.

In all, the calls don't bother me much. In fact, they bring out a side of me which I hope never grows up. Telemarketing provides a never-ending source of amusement. I'm ready for their calls.

I'm dialed in.