Thursday, September 06, 2007


My phone was ringing. The tiny letters within the orange glow on the face of the receiver informed me that it was my cable service provider. They had also called me about two hours earlier, hoping to trick me into getting the Showtime movie network. I had not been interested.

I answered and acknowledged that I was me when the guy asked.

"You guys just called me," I said.

"Oh, well, that was probably an offer about Showtime?"

"Yeah, I wasn't interested in that offer either." I hoped he would catch the implication that I was also disinclined to take advantage of his offer.

He did not pause. I have had jobs like his. They train you not to pause.

"We are calling you today to talk to you about your telephone service."

"Oh, well, I'm definitely not interested in that." I was already aware that they offer a competitive service to the landline, had weighed the pros and cons and decided I was not interested. Two years ago. The addition of the slogan "Comcastic" had not swayed me.

"Sir, you aren't interested in saving money?"

"Seriously? That's your sales pitch?"

"Well, you may not be aware..."

"You're pinning your hopes on the assumption that I am stupid and easily bullied?"

"Sir, I..."

"Sorry, bub. I am not even remotely interested. And I asked you people quite some time ago to never contact me by telephone again. Think you could write it down this time?"

I pressed the little button to terminate the call soon afterward. As I mentioned, I have had this sort of job in the past, and I am nice to people who call me about half of the time. The other half of the time it seems to be my intention to get the caller to hang up on me.

One constant through all of this is that I almost never buy something from someone who has called me on the phone. Please, telemarketers, make a note of this. If you would like further data on my shopping habits, I will also never buy anything from (or click on) a pop-up ad, and I am incredibly unlikely to get excited after seeing a commercial on television.

Hope this provides an acceptable balance to yesterday's post, in which I was nice to a stranger. Didn't want y'all to think I'd grown soft.


Nikki Neurotic said...

The best time they should call is right before or right after a family crisis...last year Comcast offered up a sample of HBO and then a discounted price for six months...we went for it, thinking we'd cancel after the sample or at least the six months...then my dad got sick and we just never got around to canceling. Ah well, I do like the movies...

thailandchani said...

So far I've been lucky. This is no thanks to the "No Call List", I might add.

As much as I feel badly for people having to do that kind of work, I just find getting calls from strangers trying to sell me something particularly offensive.



Unknown said...

Phew! Just for a minute there.....

Pants said...

Good for you Maht

I'm never rude because I don't want to shunt the low paid person who's calling me any further towards the brink of suicide than is strictly necessary. It's her/his arsehole boss I'm after. I have a general policy of non-cooperation. Like you I insist on never being called. I also challenge the 'don't you want to save money' line. How pathetic is that? I have a dozen one liners for that one including a variation on your own excellent rebuff. I refuse to answer any questions (the nerve!) and keep them struggling to get back on script for as long as possible. The only way they'll abandon this approach is if it proves to be not cost effective.

Let's all keep on toying with them in the meantime.



Unknown said...

i got caller ID, fantastic, I just don't answer the phone. Of course this means that I get irate text messages from friends sometimes asking me why I'm not answering the phone!

Anonymous said...

I've had nothing but bad experiences with Comcast. They aren't into the whole "customer service" thing. They don't really need "customer service", though, because they pretty much have a monopoly in my area.

Taffiny said...

I use caller ID, if I don't know who it is, or if I don't want to talk to that person (with the exception of my husand and my mother) I don't pick up. I tend to get angry and hang up anyway, so it is better for us both if I just don't bother.

I have a great dislike of the pushy sales pitch, I do not respond favorably to being badgered. And I hate hate hate, the high and mighty "don't you want to save money?!" got that at macys once, trying to get me to open a credit card account, on and on she went, and she got all pissy with me. It felt like she was calling me a stupid idiot to my face. Open an account? I'd sooner open a can on her! (and I consider myself to be a pacifist)

We are not currently on a calling loop. It seems to come in waves, and thank goodness the tide is presently out.

Lane Mathias said...

I know there are people who can answer these intrusions with a modicum of respect...but I'm ashamed to say I'm not one of them:((

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

One of my friends has a message on her machine that goes something like:

"If this is a telemarketer, please leave your home phone number and the most inconvenient time to call you back and I'll get to your sales pitch on my time"...

First time I heard it, I couldn't even leave her a message I was laughing so much.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Liz Dwyer said...

You perfectly captured how you tell them you're not interested and they act like you've said, "Please, tell me more excrutiating details."

The Moon Topples said...

SilverN: I prefer to believe that they have no way of knowing when I might be having a crisis. Otherwise, I'd have to admit the possibility that they are watching me through either my television or internet connection.

Thailand: Yeah, the "no-call" list seems a bit flawed over here as well.

Minx: Sorry to have worried you.

TSP: I am hopeful that the ones closest to suicide might not be so quick to adopt the bully approach to sales. This is typically what makes me jump from merely bemused to openly hostile.

Ver: With Comcast in particular, they simply never stop calling until you actually refuse the deal. (Gets mad all over again...)

Struggles: A monopoly here as well, unless I wanted to get a satellite dish and rely on the far slower phone company DSL. And, well, I don't.

Taffiny: I feel your pain. I, too, don't normally answer without knowing who will be on the other end, but with this company, they just never stop, so sooner or later I end up answering just to clear me from their damn computer lists for that promotion.

Lane: Well, I suppose my post proves that you are not alone.

Scarlett: It feels even worse from my standpoint, since I generally sleep during the day, and they seem to enjoy waking me up. I think I'd be less annoyed if they called me in the middle of the night, but this is illegal.

Liz: Thanks. I sure hope I was never as overtly rude as either party in the conversation I have related back when I used to call people for a living. Of course, in my day, we actually had to dial the numbers ourselves, rather than relying on a computer bank. I suppose I should feel lucky that I did not answer the phone to find myself on hold.