You know, I’ve ranted about unsolicited advertising before. There are people that I would never do business with, and those include people who stoop to doing things like putting ads under my windshield wiper in a parking lot, stuffing my mailbox with junk mail – or worse, door to door salesmen who, when I don’t answer the door, tag my door or dump their brochures or business cards on my doorstep, prompting a sign like this:
and unsolicited bulk email, AKA “SPAM”. Worse than all of these though, is the telemarketer.
Telemarketers, in my opinion, are those seedy people who can’t get a real job anywhere else, and sit around annoying people while they’re at the dinner table with their family. They know that many, if not most people are going to be rude, hang up on them, or just not answer the call. Of course, there are always the elderly, the naive, and/or the mentally challenged that might fall for their sales pitch, and get sucked in to buying the magazine subscription, the duct cleaning service, or the “free” vacation they’ve “won”. That’s what they’re counting on, and it’s really sad that clearly enough people do fall for it that they’re willing to still do it. These people are unscrupulous. They’re the lowest of the low. Predators.
Now, I’ve been on the “Do Not Call” registry for years. Since it was introduced, in fact. The problem though, is that it doesn’t work.
It’s really hard for a government to crack down on people who ignore the DNC database, especially considering that most of them aren’t even in the country. I can’t tell you how many duct cleaning calls I’ve received from India over the past several months. I’ve also received dozens of calls from people who are clearly, by their tell-tale accents, from the southern US. I’m sure that folks in the US probably get calls from idiots here in Canada, for the same reason. The DNC registry is a good idea in theory, but it’s so easy to get around that it’s largely a big joke.
Unlisted number? Irrelevant! If you’ve ever used your home number to sign up for a service, register a piece of equipment, join a club, or enter a contest (don’t DO that, people!), you’re likely to be in dozens if not hundreds of databases within a very short period of time. Don’t do any of that? Good for you – but it won’t stop calls from coming. In the US, phone companies like AT&T provide new phone numbers as a matter of course. There are
scumbags services like http://www.555-1212.com/services/new-mover/ offering, for a fee, databases of newly registered numbers, including names and addresses. It’s possible that Canadian phone companies do the same, but I haven’t found anything to substantiate that yet. There have been instances of phone company employees making a tidy profit selling unlisted or highly desirable (celebrity, etc.) phone numbers to companies and individuals on the sly.
Then there are the so-called “legitimate” telemarketers. The ones that are allowed to call you. Newspapers. Political parties and politicians looking for votes. Registered charities. I read my news online, I won’t vote for anyone just because they call me, and I donate to specific charities when and where I choose to. Annoying me at home is a great way to lose my support.
So what do you do about these calls, then?
Most of the time I pick up/hang up. If they’re persistent, I have a few fun things that I do;
1. Pick up, answer, and then leave the phone on the counter as I go about my business. Eventually they hang up. I figure if they want to waste my time, it’s only fair that I waste theirs too.
2. Pick up, say “Can I have your home number so I can call you later, when you’re having dinner with your family?”
3. Say “wow, well, I don’t have windows, ducts, or doors” and then listen as they try to figure out what to say next.
4. Pick up, say “hang on a sec”, and then put Sadie on the phone so they can listen to her pant or lick the phone. This used to be fun, but Sadie just rolls her eyes now and goes back to sleep at my feet.
5. Pick up and demand “WHAT?” which usually has them hang up immediately. I can be a little scary sometimes.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get any calls, I’m jealous! But don’t get too complacent. They’ll find you eventually.