May I Ask Who’s Calling?

So we are getting settled in here at our new house.  Still unpacking, not a single picture hung on the walls, but we will get to that eventually I am sure.  One thing that is different in this new house is that we have a land-line again.  We have spent the last 7 or so years without one.

Of course, with a new land-line comes….telemarketers! I am so tired of telemarketers.  I don’t want what you are selling. Leave me alone.  I say all that knowing what the people on the other end are going through.  Once in college, desperate for money and to avoid waiting tables, I answered an ad in the college paper classified.  All I knew was that it paid $12 an hour.  As long as it wasn’t illegal or immoral, I thought I could do anything for $12 an hour.  I was wrong.  I lasted two days.  First day was training, second day I hit the computer running.  Four hours of non-stop talking from a computer screen script, getting hung up on, cussed out, and knowing I was bothering people.  I would have told them I was sorry for bothering them if my every syllable wasn’t being recorded by the “manager”, a.k.a older college guy that managed to make it two weeks without going insane.  The only people that ever agreed to whatever it was I was selling, or signing them up for were people who didn’t understand English and just kept saying “Yes, uh um,” or the elderly.  Needless to say that I left after my first real night and couldn’t go back.  It was back to waiting tables.

Or there is the time I sold life insurance and was forced to make “cold calls at least one hour a day.  For those of you who have never experienced cold calls, it is what the devil must make you do if there really is a purgatory.  It is right up there with trying to get children’s toys out of their box on Christmas day.  You know the ones that are tied down with 95 plastic coated wires.  Every limb looks like the doll went insane right before they packaged it and had to be restrained for its own protection.  Its painful, embarrassing, humiliating, and you always have someone over your shoulder thinking you are not moving fast enough.

Needless to say, I understand what the person on the other end of the line is going through.  I have been in their shoes.  And this is one time I don’t sympathizes with them at all.  Been there, done that, and still don’t care what you are selling. Leave me alone.

But tomorrow is a new day.  That is why I am changing the game up on them.  I just put us on the “Do not call” list, but as stated in the fine print I may still get calls for up to 30 days.  That is why I have set out to take a different approach.  I figure we will still get plenty of calls because we seem to somehow fit every demographic for everything someone is still trying to sell via telemarketing.  So here are some goals I have:

1. See how many telemarketers I can get to hang up on me, again without being rude or crude. I figure, and from my short experience, they aren’t really allowed to hangup on me as long as I am engaging them to some extent. I want to see if I can wear them down. How many times will they repeat their script, the name of their company, or tell me again how this is going to change mt life.

2. See how many training sessions I can make it onto. They always tell you that calls are being monitored for training purposes.  I want to be that guy that helps train the next generations of telemarketers by being the go-to test case like, “This is what you don’t/do do if ____________ happens when you are on the phone”.  I am not sure yet how we can track this, so I will just have to go with my gut when a call is just that good.

3. See how many people I can evangelize while I am on the phone with them. I figure that this is a great opportunity.  I have a captive audience of sorts, so why not try it?  Maybe one day I will meet someone in heaven with an ear piece in and a jewel in their crown.

4. See how many people I can get to agree to buy something I am selling, like say Girl Scout cookies or school coupon books, without ever agreeing to buy what they are selling.  This might be the ultimate game changer.

5.  What are your suggestions? Get them to sing “Happy Birthday” to me, play password where I have a “secret” word I try to get them to say, etc?  Let me know if you come up with something better.  I’ll try it out and see how it goes.


About Todd Van Dyke

Father, Husband, Son, and most of all lover of Christ.
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8 Responses to May I Ask Who’s Calling?

  1. Mark says:

    You do know that some telemarketers are still allowed to call you even if you are on the “Do Not Call” list. It’s true. :)

  2. stephanye says:

    2 words

    “caller id”

  3. One time my dad put on a full fledged Indian accent and let his imagination run wild on the phone with a telemarketer. The telemarketer fianlly asked, “Is this a prank call?” But she had called him! Maybe you should try accents : )

  4. Keri Sutton says:

    Todd! You are so funny! I sure hope Gideon and the others will learn your tricks! Try the “secret word” and when he/she says it, start making horn noises and celebrating! I’m sure that’ll get them off the phone rather quickly.

  5. Mark says:

    Saw this somewhere: pretend you are an investigator and they just called a crime scene. You need info about them because they are now a suspect, since they are calling the home of the recently deceased. Lots of questions.

    Or just pretent you can’t hear well, and intentionally misunderstand everything they say, then repeat back what you think you heard, very loudly. “You said I won the LOTTO?” or “Do I want you to rake my LEAVES?” You can yell away from the phone at someone else in the house now and then, like “He says he knows JULIAN, and they’re having a PARTY on SATURDAY. Did you tell him about that? It was SUPPOSED TO BE A SURPRISE!!”

  6. stephanye says:

    yesterday, i had a bizarre phone call. since we inherited the number that went with the house, much, like you did, we get calls for people who used to live here.

    usually it’s creditors looking for kids that used to live here but are adults, now.

    so, i answer the phone.
    “may i speak with ____ ____”. he says the person’s name backwards– last as first, etc.
    i reply, “i’m sorry none by that name lives here”.
    male voice says, “i’m a recruiter, is there anyone at your home that i might could talk with about enlisting?”
    i reply, “no, i don’t think my 15 yr. old daughter is interested (kind of being funny)”.
    to which he replies, “what about you?”.
    I quickly respond, “sir, i have 9 kids”.
    His reply, “well i guess you have a lot on your plate”.

    then, i ended the conversation with, “please take this number off your calling list”.

  7. reply with only one word answers until (except the word “yes”) until they hang up. See how long you can keep them going.

    “Is Mr. Van Dyke there”…”Wow!”

    “Mr. Van Dyke?” “Howdy”

    “Can I interest you in blah blah blah?” …”Neato”

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