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We have a number of hotly contested primary races going on in Texas, and my phone won't stop ringing.  As a politics junkie, I suppose I ought to appreciate it, but I hate the noise -- especially the phone, even though I've almost completely squelched the ringer.  I'm tired of seeing "Unknown Name" and "Wireless Caller" on the caller ID, and I'm tired of hearing my own voice on the answering machine.  Between my cell phone and land line I've made a dozen complaints to the Do Not Call registry.  The election is a week from tomorrow.  I hope things will quiet down then.
Tonight I got the second call in 3 days from a company that at least lets its name come up on caller ID.  It turned out to be someone trying to get a contribution to a nonprofit group I actually support, which I'd rather not name.  To help me let go of my anger, I often send complaints by email or letter.  Here's what I wrote tonight:

Tonight I got the second phone call since February 22 from SD&A Teleservice, at 310-693-2715.  For a switch, I answered the call instead of ignoring it.  After the irritating delay, caused by the robot dialer taking time to realize a real person is on the phone, it connected me with what I think was another real person (though I could believe he was a zombie from how he spoke).  He started out thanking me for my past contributions to the [nonprofit organization].  I cut him off, saying to take me off the calling list.  I assume he was going to launch a spiel asking for more money.

You don’t endear your organization to supporters by hiring telemarketers to hustle them.  I resent the interruption, the noise the phone makes, and the thought that you’ve wasted some of my last contribution hiring some lost soul to pester me for more.

I am also opposed to telemarketing, even for charities and non-profit organizations, because of what I see as the psychological effects on the people on both ends of the conversation.  Telemarketing trades on the general unwillingness of the targets to be impolite.  I don’t like being impolite to people, even people whom I don’t know calling me on the phone.  But I used to be much more hesitant to be impolite to telemarketers.  I now get a bit of nasty satisfaction out of telling them to take me off the calling list and hanging up quickly – and I don’t like that change in my own personality.  

The poor schmoe who spoke to me didn’t sound as if his soul was thriving on bothering people, either.  I’ve known people who needed work and tried a telemarketing job, only to quit within the first week.  They realized they were trading on other people’s unwillingness to be impolite, and couldn’t stand it.  I believe the majority of people who take a telemarketing job promptly quit.  And the ones who aren’t at all bothered by taking advantage of someone else’s good manners are worse.  I consider them sociopaths, and don’t want to be on the phone with them at all.  You are welcome to continue sending me appeals at my e-mail address above.  I don’t worry about the souls of the electrons you’ll be pushing around.

Golda Meir once said the one thing she could not forgive the Arabs for was “making our sons kill their sons”.  She was referring to the dehumanizing effect of war.  In civilian life, I think sending people out to do telemarketing is one of the most dehumanizing things you can legally do.  Stop doing it, and don’t EVER use my money to do it.

I sometimes think that if we can ever abolish war, telemarketing should be next on the list.  Or maybe we should start by abolishing telemarketing, and work up.
Poll

How do you feel about telemarketing?

0%0 votes
10%3 votes
25%7 votes
32%9 votes
32%9 votes

| 28 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Tailfish, Powell

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:11:42 PM PST

  •  Have They Necessarily Been Hired? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    david78209, Powell

    I've had several calls here in OH from telemarketers representing at least 2 agencies I know do their own fund raising.

    It may be an outright fraud, or it might be that they do pass money along to the named organization after taking a big % cut.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:15:39 PM PST

  •  You've a point.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    david78209, Powell

    but you're overreacting. Telemarketing is an attempt to add a "human voice" to the cries for money. Some of these organizations need money desperately and are willing to try anything legal (and sometimes illegal) to get it. They justify it by saying that the extra revenues allow for them to do more good in the world. That can sometimes be true.

    Needless to say I don't support telemarketing, but I don't believe that it's the 'crime against humanity' to which you allude.

    TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D)

    by Le Champignon on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:23:32 PM PST

  •  I believe politics, charities, and companies with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Powell, david78209

    whom you've done business with in the past are exempt from the DNC list. Unfortunately, there are then the myriad boiler room scam outfits who spoof caller IDs and buy dead numbers that are out of service should you unadvisedly choose to call them back.

    The DNC still helps filter non-reputable organizations: it just doesn't prevent them from calling and bothering you.

    It was in the run-up to the 2004 generals that I finally disconnected my landline and never looked back. It was relentless. Every day I'd come home to a voicemail machine filled with robocalls and surveys and, late in the cycle, GOTV. It's effectively a daily Denial Of Service attack, and I'm surprised more people weren't / aren't ending up in court over it.

    I now have a second, no-frills cell line which acts as a "home" number as well as a spam trap when used in conjunction with Google's free Voice service.

    If a caller isn't on my "white" list they have to jump through an extra hoop -- and few are willing to do that.

    Those who are willing either get through or leave a voicemail that gets transcribed and sent to my phone and email in mere moments.

    Signature (this will be attached to your comments)

    by here4tehbeer on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:02:32 PM PST

  •  Why can't "Do NOT Call" be Do Not Call? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Powell, david78209

    I really wish it was all-encompassing. I just hate all the political and charity calls. But then, even with Do Not Call, I still frequently get to hear the cheery voice of Kathy from Cardholder Services who let's me know that everything is ok with my account, but if I don't press "1" immediately, I'll miss out on a great new interest rate!

  •  My standard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Powell, david78209

    "Before you continue, I'd like to inform you that if you ask for money, I will cease giving to your organization forever." Only ever had one telemarketer continue.

  •  Wait... they are telemarketing your CELL PHONE? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Powell, david78209

    There is an app called PrivacyStar that will allow you to make FTC Complaints with a quick click.

    I can not believe we have not found a way to put these people out of business yet.  ....I think the same thing about junk mail.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 07:22:28 AM PST

    •  I'm getting calls from "Unknown" and "No Name" (0+ / 0-)

      on my cell phone.  So far nobody's nor any robot has left a name, so I don't know if they're commercial telemarketing or political or nonprofits.  I got a bunch of similar calls a few months ago, over a period of a week or so, then they about stopped, then they started up again about five days ago.

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 02:47:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately, it's like that every day in Ohio. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Powell, david78209

    It just gets worse at election time.  On my land line, I get more robocalls than I get from people who want to talk with me (people who know me).

    If a person is on the other end of the line, they hang up before I can get the words "national do-not-call registry" or "take me off you call list" get out of my mouth.

    Even people like my dentist appointment reminder or the drug store informing me that my prescription is ready to pick up are robocalls.  Of course, if a machine can do it, you don't have to pay a person to make that call, reducing the demand for labor, which in a republican-forced austerity crams down the cost of labor.

    I get 4 or 5 robocalls a day, and of course near election time, it becomes 10 to 20.  Push polls, support me, stop the republicans, stop the Democrats, support this reactionary radical right ballot initiative, etc.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 07:59:28 AM PST

  •  Not even close to what it's like in Ohio -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    david78209

    -- where you have the added pleasure of being blocked, delayed, or detoured on a daily basis for a 1) Presidential aircraft arriving/departing; 2) a motorcade headed hither or yon; 3) an authentic man-of-the-heartland's ginormous RV headed to the VFW fish fry down the road; 4) a crowd of media vehicles blocking the road waiting for a rally to get rowdy.

    Toledo's just the worst! When it's not the actual destination, they're still screwing things up by driving through.

    •  Yeah, that's just what would lead the evening news (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Powell
      ... a crowd of media vehicles blocking the road waiting for a rally to get rowdy.

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 02:51:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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