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Telemarketers

(and what to do against them)

There are those times when your phone rings, you answer, unsuspecting, and are greeted with "Hi, this is XY from the FOO company, I just want to knock you over the head with our sooper-dooper-prices for various artifacts you will never need but should just want anyway because their... (cue 5 minutes sales pitch - without breathing)

I call those folks CCS and thought they were the lowest scum to wander on this very earth (or below, I am not sure of this). Nevertheless, they can be turned away easily or even highly entertaining:

Leave me alone

There are times when you do not want to be disturbed or even pulled into a time consuming debate of dubious merit. In this cases, just shut them up. Say calm, but loudly: "Leave me alone." (You can add "Now." if you feel like it) and hang up.

The law is on your side

In most countries unsolicited phone calls are forbidden (Note that some countries may have an opt-out solution like a Robinson list, where you need to register to make sure you may not be legally disturbed). Telemarketing operations willfully risk lawsuits by giving lists they buy from other sources (remember when you got this "customer card", you had to sign away your right of restricting what they can do with your personal data including your phone number? Now you know why) to their CCS. The CCS may not carry the responsibility for this offense, their employers do.

You can turn this knowledge to your advantage by requesting the name and location of the company and telling the CCS politely that he calling you is illegal and you will sue the company.

Retaliate for fun and profit

Even without invoking the power of law, there are methods to silence even the most bothersome specimen.
  • From Andy Hunt comes the "I like cheese" defense.
  • Andrea Harner adds the "Nemesis" defense.
  • My own "Ad nauseam" defense - adopt a position and stay with it until the specimen gives (in this case: hangs) up. An example that I pulled with a real nag (this can probably be used on almost any specimen):
    Me:
    You are stealing my time!
    CCS:
    What? You are stealing my time!
    Me:
    Oh, so sorry, won't happen again. (hang up)
    (he actually had the gall to call again.)
    Me:
    Your time can't be that valuable then. Try to get a job that pays, man. (hang up again)
  • Let them wait - just say: "Please wait a second..." and talk to someone (even funnier if you talk to yourself). For fun you can keep high scores of how long you made them wait before they hung up.
  • Ask them if they object to you recording the exchange "for educational purposes".
  • Just say no: No matter how unreasonable, no matter how funny, keep your cool and just say no. If the CCS wants to sell you an extension for your phone, tell him that no, you have no phone. Argue ad nauseam. Like I do:
    CCS:
    Hi there, [name withheld] from XY phone company. Did you know that you are paying to much for your phone?
    Me:
    I don't have no phone.
    CCS:
    That's impossible. How can I be calling you then?
    Me:
    You aren't calling me.
    CCS:
    Is this some sort of joke?
    Me:
    No, I'm absolutely serious.
    CCS:
    (hangs up)
    (You may or may not be so wordy. A simple "No" can work wonders, too, especially if the specimen will not hear anything else from you for some time...)
  • Haggle with them, try to sell them a half-eaten imaginary donut or whatever you like.
  • Try your acting skills. In the middle of the call, shout loudly "Oh my god!", then hang up. As a bonus, you can add the obligatory "They have found me!", "They're everywhere!", "They're coming for me!" or "He shot me" or even a long, loud "NOOOOO!" (accompanied by suitable noise)...(Note that this is probably not legal in many countries)

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