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{Saturday, June 28, 2003}

My Rhythm Is Off

Something's wrong with my circadian rhythm. Everybody else seems to sleep about eight hours, get up, then get tired again in about sixteen hours. I, left to my own devices, would sleep about 12 hours, get up, then get tired again in about thirty hours.

What's up with that?
posted by Celia 10:04 PM

{Wednesday, June 25, 2003}

All Keyed Up

I know it's a problem for most people, but for me it's become a personal vendetta.

I'm talking about telemarketers. You know, the people who call when you're expecting another, important, call, so you, like a great big sucker, actually pick up the phone, instead of screening it through the answering machine, like the rest of the free world.

Now, I know no one would do that job, given the choice ("Hey, Toneless Wonder-Voice, here's a winning lottery ticket! Will you take the ticket, or hang onto your meaningful, life-expanding, and monetarily rewarding career as a professional meal interrupter?" Toneless: "Why, Bob, that's just no choice at all---I'll stay with my job!" Sure.) So I never can just hang up on them. Besides, they have you on those auto-dialers anyway, and when you hang up, Toneless will just click his mouse on the multiple choices of his computer screen, and choose, "Dial up an even dozen times per day." So although it's counter-intuitive, not hanging up immediately is really the wiser option.

I've gotten all sorts of cutesy email advice lists on how to drive a telemarketer insane, but, while amusing, they do not work. Here's what all telemarketers are told in their (2 hour) training classes, regardless of which product/service/adventure vacation package ("And you can Bring The Kids!") they may be selling:

1) Talk reallyreallyfast, and, if possible, mumble a lot.
2) Read everything on your "Sales Pitch" form EXACTLY as written. Do not improvise. Do not allow relevant questions to distract you. If interrupted by the P.C. (potential customer), pause, then go back to the beginning and start over.
3) Ignore background noises in the P.C.'s home environment. This includes loud televisions, radios, screaming children and/or gunshots. See #2.
4) Once you have read your (3-page) pitch, you may answer P.C.'s questions. All P.C. questions can be answered satisfactorily with the following:
a) Why do you say that?
b) But this is a free trial period. (Follow with disclaimer. See #1.)
c) Is there any reason why you wouldn't want to try our __________?
d) We offer financing and 1,328 easy payments of only $99.99.
e) I can put it on your credit card today!
5) Find out what product/service/adventure vacation package the P.C. is using now.

Now, as I said, I have nothing against the telemarketers themselves. Well, most of them....the ones who are obviously miserable and have clearly been praying that their autodialer would just ring all day long with no-answers, hang-ups, and answering machines, so that they could put in their eight hours and please god, punch out and get the hell out of there and to the nearest happy hour. (The 1% or so who really enjoy irritating the shit out of perfectly innocent strangers are a different story. There's a special circle of hell reserved for them, and after they've lived a long, happy life of nasty drive-by phonings---then punched out each day to go home and kick the dog and pull the wings off butterflies---I've no doubt they'll go there, where they'll be strapped down, have headphones surgically attached to their ears, and be forced for all eternity to listen to a ringing phone.....that's NEVER PICKED UP! Ahem. Anyway...)

No, my gripe is with the telmarketing companies. Oh, I've sent in all the letters ("Please submit your request to be removed from telemarketing lists in triplicate to the following twenty-eight government and non-profit agencies. Please allow seven years to be completely removed from all lists, as the process may take this long to complete. Please resubmit your request in seven years, as your current request will expire at the end of this period......" Etc.), made the calls, blah, blah, blah. I still get an average of four calls a day.

Here's what will stop them cold. You have to suspend your disbelief here--- a little like reading "Harry Potter and Whatever the Hell Talismanic Object It is This Time." Never mind that it makes no sense, no one who could afford it would be answering her own phone, or any of that other stuff. Listen to me now, you'll thank me, I promise. An example might serve best:

TELEMARKETER: Hi! babblebabblebabblebabble....New Swimming Pool! You and your family can enjoy the coolness....

YOU: I just built a second one. I own a pool-building company.

TELEMARKETER: A second pool?

YOU: Yes, I have two, one in front, one in back.

Another example:

TELEMARKETER: Hi! babblebabblebabblebabble......lowest mortgage rates EVER!!! You can pay off your house.....

YOU: I own a bank.

Another example:

TELEMARKETER: Hi! babblebabblebabblebabble........Wonder Windows! They repel UV rays, moon rays, death rays....

YOU: I own a window installation company.

Another example:

TELEMARKETER: Hi! babblebabblebabblebabble.....Vacation to Disney World!!! It's a fun-filled adventure for the whole....

YOU: I own Disney World. I can go free any time I want. Thanks anyway. (No, no, don't hang up yet.)

TELEMARKETER: (Long silence while he searches in vain for this in the written spiel.) But, but...but. (Decides to hell with it.) You OWN Disney World?

YOU: Yep. (Don't get sucked into elaborating here. Simplicity and brevity are key.)

TELEMARKETER: Well, I...but, you....whaaaa... Oh. Okay. Thanks anyway. I'll remove your name from our list.

posted by Celia 1:36 AM


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