Since I am not teaching summer school, I have been home a lot during the day, and so I have had to deal with those annoying telemarketers more than usual. Sure, I could just ignore them (as I usually do), but sometimes I do pick the phone up and answer the call.
So I thought I'd do a little informal poll here and find out what your favorite ways to mess with telemarketers are.
Here are a few ideas I have had or seen put into practice:
1) I have a buddy who would always hand the phone off to his two-year-old daughter, who was just at that stage where she was able to speak continuously, though not quite coherently, for long stretches at a time. Many a telemarketer got an earful of disjointed facts about Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, and gymnastics class.
2) Before the caller can launch into their script, interrupt with one of your own. For instance, if you are initially assailed with, "Hello, Mr. Smith, I have an exciting offer to tell you about!" immediately break in with something like, "That's great, I have something exciting to tell you about too! I was watching this TV show, and it's all about this lovely lady, who is living with three very lovely girls! All of them had hair of gold, you see, like their mother, and the youngest one was in curls!”
3) See how long you can keep the telemarketer on the line while you recount to him the twisting plot points of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Bonus points if you can get him or her to listen while you read your favorite chapter aloud.
4) Pretend you can hear the person on the other end of the line. This is the simplest prank to play on the telemarketer, but it can have great rewards sometimes. One evening, I picked up the phone and said, "Hello?" and the girl on the other end launched into her spiel. The whole speech must have lasted for over a minute, but it seemed like she hardly took a breath. When she finished with a request to confirm my address, I simply repeated, "Hello?" The girl launched into her whole spiel again! When she finished, I once again said, "Hello?" And she started her monologue again, I hung up on her. It would've been interesting to see how long I could have held her in the repeating loop, but I was getting tired of it already.
Any other tips or tricks you've had success with? Feel free to share them here…