Four Ways to Torment a Telemarketer
Now that I am in the working world, I understand that people sometimes do things they morally don’t agree with to put food on the table — especially now that jobs are scarce.
Not everybody is curing cancer or feeding the homeless. Boxers punch each other in the face, mobsters call hits, dealers sell drugs, and it’s all to get by. In everything there is a risk, but if any one of them ever calls my home trying to sell me something or give me a survey, then they’ve crossed the line and so help me god…
I was at home doing laundry and watching college basketball, when in the course of two hours I received four telemarketing calls. I am not used to such piercing interruption because at my apartment I only have my cell phone, but at home, telemarketing is a problem. No Shantae, I wouldn’t have been as comfortable and peaceful if I needed your damn insurance! I imagine everyone feels the same.
So the next day at home I was prepared with ways to screw with them, flip it on their ass. You wouldn’t come to my door and wreck my dinner if my attack dog was in the front yard, so don’t think you are safe over the phone. With the following methods you’ll have fun at their expense, and possibly get taken off their call list.
Get Their Hopes Up and Waste Their Time
What could the success rate be on a telemarketing call? It couldn’t be more than 5%, so in earnest, they are just calling to interrupt and waste time. So what could be more suiting than Hannibal’s “eye-for-an-eye” mantra.
Try This: Answer the phone and instead of saying, “I’m not interested” or “You’ve reached the wrong number,” do your best impression of somebody who is very excited. “Oh my God, I was just going to go online to look for insurance!” The foolish telemarketer will assume they’ve landed the big one and will immediately start to picture the size of their bonus check — diving into a rousing sales pitch. Just tune them out and continue watching television or reading a book, to each their own. And after a couple of minutes, when you hear the telemarketer round up their speech and run down your price options, you respond, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention, can you please tell me that again?” Repeat several times, until you’ve aggravated them enough to hang up on you.
The Good Ol’ Language Switcharoo
How could a telemarketer administer a survey when you don’t understand what they’re saying? And then when they transfer you to the Spanish-speaking telemarketer, how can they administer a survey when you don’t understand what they’re saying?
Try This: When the phone rings and your quality caller ID gives you the heads up that a stranger is coming for a visit, you answer with a slightly “Fez” inspired accent. “Hello?” Follow your greeting with an interrupting, “No habla Ingles.” Most companies will transfer you to a Spanish-speaking assistant. It is at this point, that you no longer speak Spanish, “Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish.” Usually you’ll get one more transfer back to the English-speaking time-wasting facilitator, so one more time, “No, habla Ingles.” If the Spanish-speaking telemarketer is bilingual, well then it’s time for either German or jibberish. That should do it.
The Invasion Okie-Doke
Inspired by Jerry Seinfeld, and basically a complete homage to the genius, you can switch up the conversation and ask if there is a better time you can reach them.
Try This: When you pick up the phone, be very polite, and let the telemarketer know that this isn’t the best time for you and ask them if there is a better time to get in touch. Whatever time they suggest you say, “I’m sorry, that won’t work for me. I’m very busy lately, is there a better time that I can reach you? Why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you when I’m free?” Of course the telemarketer doesn’t want to give you their number, but you can get aggressive in trying to obtain their sacred digits. It won’t work, but it will confuse the hell out of them, because what happens when a person poses as a telemarketer and calls up a telemarketer to be telemarketed to? Scary concept.
The Missing Ex
Most people believe in the “one who got away” theory. There was a woman or a man who was perfect, and then you screwed it up, and they left. Either that or everyone has an ex with whom they had a messy breakup. This one works.
Try This: Whoever calls, no matter what they are pitching, you are either pissed that they left or begging them to give you a second chance. When they call and say the fall is the best season to have your roof repaired, you take their name and say, “Melissa, it’s been too long… (deep breath).” The caller will pause and probably go back into their script, but cut them off and continue. “I’ve come to terms with why you left, and I’m sorry if I sent you my eyebrows in a Ziplock bag, but I’ve changed and I still need you.” The caller can’t do anything but say, I think you have the wrong person. And what you’ve done is taken them completely away from their sale goal and made them extremely uncomfortable. From there, it’s all ad-lib weird stuff illegal in most states. They’ll hang up, thoroughly confused as to the mistaken identity. And it’s absolutely hysterical. “