One thing you can say about winter in a summer seasonal business like ours is that there are plenty of hours in the day for mindless diversion. Winter is the prime time for our high school and college students to bone up on their homework. Come mid-terms, they should all be taking home As. It’s a great season to while your day away on Facebook or power shop on Upromise. I like to stick my nose into a bright and cheery seed catalog and dream about spring while shivering in my parka with a space heater blowing full blast under my desk while I wait for my Microsoft keyboard to thaw enough so that I can successfully type an “@” sign.
I have recently embarked on a new pursuit, one that keeps me hilariously entertained and occupied for a good part of the day. This activity, my fellow Americans, is giving telemarketers a hard time.
Telemarketing blitzes come and go. Sometimes every other call is a telemarketer, and other times we can go a few days without a pitch for web hosting or to check out some rival company’s phone service. We seemed to get a lot of calls during the last two weeks of December, mostly from so-called police and fire departments looking for a handout. Yes, I check every one. (Maybe it just seems that way because business sucked those two weeks. Calls from bona fide customers were down 50%.) I’m quite telemarketer-savvy. I can tell by the ring when a call is a customer or an annoyance. Caller ID helps too. I have sharp enough hearing that I can determine the size of the boiler room by the number of key clicks I hear in the background.
“No” is a mainstay word in my vocabulary. It’s likely the first word I uttered, and I used it to no end with my children. It will no doubt be the last word I’ll say. My “nos” reverberate when I pronounce them and rarely am I challenged. I am the Terminatrix in the realm of slick and persistent salesmen. If I want to buy something, I know how and where to find you. Until then, don’t bug me.
I don’t fault telemarketers for having a sleazy job just one rung up from politician. A person has to work at something for a living. Back in my days as a University of Minnesota college student, I once applied at the Minneapolis Time-Life office for the purpose of pitching cookbooks. I was informed that I didn’t have what it takes to be a telemarketer. That was fine by me, because the workers there didn’t look very happy.
I don’t know if any of you have noticed this, but these days many telemarketers have heavy accents. They are named Sally or Joe, but have a difficult time speaking coherent English sentences. This intrigued me, so I set out on a mission to learn who these people were and where they were calling from.
“So, Sally. What city are you calling from?” “What time is it there?” “Do you have any brothers or sisters?” “What company are you working for?” “Where’s your company located?” “What are you wearing?” “What did you have for dinner?” “What’s your weather like there?”
What I learned was that many telemarketers will hang up on you without answering. (Note to AT&T and HP: that is so rude!) A “Joe” actually stayed on the line with me for a couple of minutes. He informed me that he was calling from Asia (Duh? Do you think so?) and gave me the local time before we were disconnected.
It is alarming to me that the oft-scorned telemarketing biz has followed manufacturing to the far reaches of Asia. What next? No wonder unemployment here in Michigan is an astounding 15%!
The people of this country must unite! The only way to bring back these jobs to the USA is to continue to grill foreign telemarketers like chopped meat on a spit! We must then turn them over and grill them again.
Maybe if their annoyance brings no payback, these companies will bring telemarketing back to our shores where it belongs.