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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Unknown Caller

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…


Almost American said...

"Hello, hello? Well, if there's anyone there I can't hear you!" CLICK

"Hello? Hello? I can't hear you! Mum, if you're using Skype out again, I'm going to hang up and login to Skype." CLICK (I've had genuine problems calling my mom using Skype Out - sometimes it works just fine, other times I can hear her when I call her but she can't hear me.)

Home improvements: "No thank you, we just had all our windows replaced last week."

Requests for charitable donations: "I never give in response to solicitations over the phone."

Requests for charitable donations for organizations that I support: "I can't afford to give any extra right now, but I assume I can go to your website and make a donation there when I'm ready to?"

With my best English accent: "That sounds like a great deal on a subscription, but unfortunately I'm leaving the country for good next week." (I actually had someone ask me one time "Oh, where are you going?" "None of your business!!")

I try to be reasonably polite, but get off the line quickly - they're doing a job and I don't really want to waste their time (or mine!)

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I just hang up immediately. I say nothing. No witty rejoinders.

Mike in Texas said...

I like the Seinfeld reply:

"I'm busy right now, but why don't you give me your number and I'll get back to you"

cbinsa said...

Before I chose to deal with middle schoolers on a daily basis I worked in non-profits (I really am a glutton for punishment!). My usual response to charity calls used to be "I'll make a donation to your organization if you will make one to mine." For some reason, I never did get a contribution that way.

Mister Teacher said...

Today, a telemarketer called and I answered in an Australian accent.
I said, "Have you seen the dingo?"
When she said, "WHAT?" I replied, "I think the dingo ate my baby."
And her response was, "Whatever..."

graycie said...

"I'm sorry, but I don't have a phone."

Anonymous said...

I usually wait for them to take a breath, explain firmly that I don't ever make charitable donations from phone solicitation, and then request that they remove me from their calling list. In Canada, they are required by law to remove you if you ask. It makes them peevish when I ask. This makes me happy.

On a side note, those jobs are generally horrible and poorly paid. Some of my students do telemarketing, and people are incredibly rude to them.

Anonymous said...

"Hang on a minute while I finish dinner."

"Hey, can I call you back?"

"No Ingles"

"No comprendo cuando tu hablas muy rapido. Lo siento. Adios."

Mrs. T said...

For a long time we got calls from people who wanted us to vacation in Branson, MO. My husband listenedn to the last spiel and then said, "That sounds great, but I wonder if you have accommodations for my wife and I. You see, we're nudists..."

Any time they want to come clean the carpets or demo some vacuum I tell them we have hardwood floors.
Siding? I ask if they can put that over brick.

Any type of monetary begging, my stock answer is that I never give money over the phone.

Usually, I pretend that I'm not me, that I'm the au pair or something, and tell them that "I" am not available.

I know it's heinously un-PC of us, but sometimes my husband says in his best Chinese accent, "No more phone call! We eating!"

Unknown said...

Hello everyone on here.... Well, I have a little bit of a problem if anyone know of a solution to solve my problem.

A few days ago I received a unknown caller phone call from a man with a heavy accent (Foreign Language) and stated he needed to speak with me. I kindly reply that I was her and he went on talking about he was call from some International Health Department. Before I he proceed I interrupted him and ask him to please remove me from his calling list and I was not interested in anything that he had to offer or selling. He rudely interrupted and demandingly said that I need to be quiet and I had to listen to what he has to offer. I immediately called him and "A-Hole" and he in return called me an A-Hole.

As u can imagine I was very angry at this point and told him not to call my phone anymore and hung up. Well, an hour later the same guy called again and I told him the same thing but he continued to make stupid comment over the phone. I hung up again.

He called about five times after that and did the same thing. Now I think this is pure harrassment. Isn't there anything anyone could do about this. And by the way he knows my home address too. There should be a law some how about this kind of situation. Does anyone have an idea of what I need to do????

I know I could change my phone number, but I really want to catch who this is and stop them from doing it to anyone else. Any helpful suggestions will be greatly appriciated.

Anonymous said...

Keep a whistle by the phone. When it is an unkwown caller on ID, answer and say nothing - only blow the whistle. Works great! Stopped all the unknowns from calling our home. They were calling 12 - 15 times a day!! Peace of phone is great!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Branson resort is an awesome place to visit. Look it up!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Have a Branson vacation. It is an awesome place to visit. Look it up!

permanent make up said...
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