Posts Tagged ‘phone solicitation’

Phone Solicitors

July 23, 2008

I try to keep up the appearance of a mild-mannered, easy-going guy.  You might think that someone like me, whose toughest daily assignment is to write and occasionally perform comedy, would be a real happy-go-lucky kind of person.  I mean, how upset can I get when I sleep late, work from my home in my boxers and have my entire pantry at my disposal all day long?  But there are evils lurking within the apparent paradise of my home-based business that threaten my sense of well-being.  I am talking about phone solicitors.

I get calls all day long!  I try to weed them out from actual business calls or the occasional social call which is usually for my wife.  For someone that meets thousands of people and makes them laugh, I have surprisingly few friends.  This is not to say I don’t know a lot of people, I do.  I just don’t know them well.  I meet people one time at a party or business event and their face is indelibly etched into my memory for life.  But the name attached to that face is often gone by the time I release the handshake.  I just meet too many people to remember names, so I have pretty much given up trying.  But, since I am probably the only magician they will ever personally meet, they all remember me although they seem to have the same problem with name retention that I do.  “Hey, aren’t you the magician?”  Or, “Hey, aren’t you the raccoon guy?”  Or, “Hey, don’t you owe me money?”  When my daughter was younger and would still go places with me, I would be stopped several times a day by someone who remembered me from somewhere.  “Hey, funny guy.  You remember me?”  I looked closely and said, “The face is familiar, but…”  “Shoot, I’m Booger.  You got me up and threw the handkerchief over my head at Cooter Brown’s party in Pearl River back in ’87.”  And the sad thing is, I DO remember him.  Of course, he is the only Booger I have ever personally met.

Oh yeah, phone solicitors.  So I get these calls that, for the first ten seconds, are just dead air while I am saying, “Hello…hello…buenos dias.”  Finally a voice comes on to say, “Please stay on the line for an important message.”  Excuse me but, if the message is all that important, why doesn’t a real person initiate a conversation from the beginning?  And what is the deal with AT&T?  I am not kidding when I say I get a call from AT&T every five days wanting to upgrade my DSL.  To start with, I pay WAY too much for DSL already.  In order to get a Yellow Page listing, I have to have a business line which costs about three times what it costs for a home line.  Then I have to pay for the Yellow Page ad on top of that.  Then, if I want DSL, it costs three times what it costs a private citizen because I am a business and am already paying three times too much for phone service.  Now excuse me but, if I were to count up the time I spend on-line and compare it to Mary Housewife who is downloading recipes, uploading pictures of the kids and playing blackjack at night, I should be the one getting the discount. 

“This is Jason from AT&T, please stay on the line for an important message about your DSL package.”  This time I DO stay on the line because I have just written a blog about the subject and I am losing my mild-mannered-ness.  (Real voice)  “This is Jason from AT&T.  I am happy to inform you that, if you sign up today to upgrade to our 6 mg service, you will receive free DSL.”  “Free?”  I ask.  “Yes,” Jason responds.  “For three months you will not be charged for our superior DSL service.”  “Three months, hmmmm.  How much is it after three months?”  I ask.  “After the third month you will receive our 6 mg service for the low price of $89.95 per month.”  “But Jason, if I’m paying $89.95/month, then IT’S NOT FREE, YOU MORON!” 

Even more aggravating is when I initiate the call and get a voice-mail type response system.  This actually happened about three months ago when I called Time-Life to order a wonderful looking DVD package on the Viet Nam War.  All I wanted to do is order the DVD, give them my credit card number and return to the show I was watching at the time their ad came on.  But this is what I got:

  • AUTO SYSTEM: Thank you for calling Time-Life to order our DVD entitled “Viet Nam: An American History.”  Please enter you credit card information now.
  • ME: enter number
  • AUTO SYSTEM: Because you have ordered “Viet Nam: An American History”, you also qualify to receive our DVD, “World War II: An American Legacy.”  Please press 1 to order, or press 2 to decline.
  • ME:  press 2
  • AUTO SYSTEM: Are you sure?  This offer will not be repeated.  Please press 1 to order, or press 2 to decline.
  • ME: press 2
  • AUTO SYSTEM: Okay.  You have declined our DVD, “World War II: An American Legacy.”  Maybe you would prefer our DVD, “The Civil War: America Divided.”  Press 1 to order, or press 2 to decline.
  • ME: press 2
  • AUTO SYSTEM: Are you sure?  This offer will not be repeated.  Press 1 to order, or press 2 to decline.
  • ME: press 2
  • AUTO SYSTEM: Okay.  You have declined our DVD, “The Civil War: America Divided.”  Maybe you would prefer our series of hard-bound books entitled, “An American Photo History.”  Press 1 to order, or press 2 to decline.
  • ME: press 2
  • AUTO SYSTEM: Are you sure?  This offer will not be repeated.  Please press 1 to order, or press 2 to decine.
  • ME: press 2
  • AUTO SYSTEM: Okay.  You have declined our series of hard-bound books entitled, “An American Photo History.”  Maybe you would prefer…”

I am not kidding, this went on for close to 10 minutes and, because I was on the line with an automated system, it was virtually impossible to get off the line since they never offered a “Press 3 to complete my order and leave me alone.”  Anyway, I hope you found today’s essay entertaining.  To read more of my essays, press 1 now, or just stay on the line and Jason will tell you how you can receive free DSL.

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