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How to Torment Telemarketers with One Word

Here's how to torment telemarketers with one word - is it a gem? Yes! (Make sure you wait till the very end ...). Hit play or go to Link [YouTube] - via Grow-a-brain

Almost as good as this classic one, by Tom Mabe, previously on Neatorama: Plight of a Telemarketer


I used to take so much joy in messing with telemarketers. Unfortunately, now they all use dialing machines that call me, and then tell me that I should call them (like that's going to happen.)
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They are human beings just like everyone else.

There is no need to be rude to anyone.

Perhaps this is the only job they could find to avoid being homeless or getting public assistance.

You never know when you may be in a position when you may have to earn a living by approaching strangers.

Why be rude - just say 'no thanx' and hang up

Do you all get joy from being nasty. Does being rude make you feel good. Does your conscience not bother you.

If so then, you are the ones with the problems - deep problems
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While I realize that it can be fun to pull pranks I see no reason to torment someone for doing their job. If you're not interested just hang up. I somewhat think that messing with telemarketers is a sociopathic trait, it's not something people would do if the person was in front of them but because of the anonymity of the telephone many dare to act out.
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To Miss Universe & Mr. Pumpernickel: We all get enough advertising throughout the day - no one wants nor deserves to have their home lives interrupted. Just because I have a phone does not mean you have the right to annoy me with it. If you call to interrupt my life to try to sell me something, you deserve everything you get.
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For those of you trying to defend telemarketers - what they do is by and large illegal in most parts of the US. When they invade our privacy at home, we have every right to f*ck with their heads, because there is no other way to take action against their companies. They often have untraceable phone numbers and fake addresses, otherwise the police or BBB would have cracked down on them already. No matter how desperate you may think they are, they can always flip burgers or work as janitors.
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"I somewhat think that messing with telemarketers is a sociopathic trait, it’s not something people would do if the person was in front of them but because of the anonymity of the telephone many dare to act out."

And you wouldn't call this guy a sociopath outside the anonymity of the internets. And I wouldn't call you an uptight wanker.
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"because there is no other way to take action against their companies."

But...you're not taking any action against their companies. You're, to use the words of this neatorama post, tormenting an employee. It solves nothing, in the end it probably makes you feel worse than you would have if you had just said no thanks and moved on. Unless you get off from the prospect of ruining someone's day, in which case you're a far lower lowlife than the telemarketer.

Granted I'm not privvy to every law in the US, but here in Sweden telemarketing is perfectly legal. Regardless of legality I don't see a reason to be unreasonable with someone who hasn't deserved it. It's like yelling at a person in customer service for a decision that the company board made. Pointless, entirely and utterly.

"No matter how desperate you may think they are, they can always flip burgers or work as janitors."

Which shows exactly how little insight you have. I live in a small town, the local call center is the biggest private employer here. The job opportunities here stink, and that's an understatement. It's just not as simple as you make it out to be to be a picker and chooser when it comes to the job market. It depends on many variables.

"And you wouldn’t call this guy a sociopath outside the anonymity of the internets."

Firstly, I didn't call anyone a sociopath. I merely pointed out a sociopathic trait. One can have many traits without being anything. For instance, you're acting a bit like an idiot but that doesn't make you an idiot. See the difference?

Regardless, yes I would have voiced myself in pretty much the same way in real life. I've been brought up to stand for what I do and not be afraid to voice my thoughts. Honesty before silence.
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You've obviously never worked at a call center.

When the person on the other end of the phone is a tool, it doesn't ruin your day, it makes that call fun. Most reps get off the phone, go on break and tell everyone in their cube about the jackass they just talked to. It becomes office hilarity. They've heard everything before and unique pranks make their day.

So yeah, if you're witty enough, torment them, they'll get a kick out of it and tell all their friends. It's a lot more fun for the rep than calling them an asshole and hanging up.
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not that its illegal or not. Some people are already feeling bad when tehy get a call about there bills or credit in the first place.

Yes theyre humans too doing there jobs like everyone else. But its a job that people resent. Most people will handle these types of calls with sarcasm (like most of mine) or just deal with it to frustrate the caller on purpose. So you can get enjoyment out of whats normally a bad moment.
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"You’ve obviously never worked at a call center."

Hahaha, I was WAITING for that comment. Yeah, I've worked in a call center for almost six years and I love my job. Though I got into it because there were NO other jobs either avaliable or that I was able to get, trust me I applied to anything which showed a pulse.

I can mirror what you said though that that is often the case. However, there are people that can't take it, over the years I've seen more people than it's possible to keep count of come in, work a few days and then resign because they cannot take the incessant badmouthing they get. So to say that everyone can just brush off the insults is a serious generalisation that's far from true.

Pranks are one thing, tormenting is another. I can easily count 100 angry people who've called me various euphemisms for every one time I've had an actual fun call, prank-wise anyway.
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"Yeah, I’ve worked in a call center for almost six years and I love my job."

Ah, there we go. If that's the line of work you're in, you either need to roll with the abuse, or do something else. It's part of the job, and part of what you are being compensated for. Begging people to treat you with respect elicits no sympathy from me. Yeah, yeah, you're a human being, blah blah blah. So are panhandlers, spammers, payday lenders, etc. You're all in the same class of people: aggressive beggars looking for an inequitable economic exchange by preying on the weak and elderly.
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When I was a teen, I temped at a call center for a week and didnt go back because I did not want to be cursed out fifty times a day. If I needed the job I would have stayed.
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Whoa, you obviously have no insight in the business whatsoever. I've already said, or at least strongly hinted at, that I do "roll with the abuse" as you so eloquently put it.

Who is begging anyone to treat anyone with respect? I'm saying it's idiotic to treat someone like garbage by the bases of someone being (sort of) anonymous on the other end of a phone line. I'm not begging anyone to do anything. Get off your high horse and read what's written instead of what you read into it.

I'm an aggressive beggar? I'm praying on the weak and elderly? Wow. Thanks for telling me, I've never looked at it like that. You mean that I'm being polite and curteous, informing people about their pension insurances at the company I'm calling for and asking if they're happy with what they got (and if I can do anything to change what they have for the better) is praying on the weak? I'm calling people who are at their oldest 60 years old and I'm praying on the elderly? Wow. Heck, I gotta revaluate my entire existance here.

Also, how many "panhandlers, spammers, etc" do you know who have a decent wage, collective bargaining agreement (i.e. strong union presence in the workplace), paid vacation and an array of other things which you have in a normal job? Guess what, I do and I honestly do take offense when you attribute traits to me that aren't fitting, by far.

Now, if that's because you're from the states and your view on telemarketing is somewhat tainted from the wide array of unserious and unscrouplous companies doing it over there and lack insight in how the Swedish telemarketing world looks like, that's a question I'll leave for you to answer. Is it too much however to ask that you open your eyes that there may be more to the whole picture than your narrowmindedness believes? Or are you content in living inside your own constructed world which doesn't bear any resemblance to the real one?
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I like to speak English to French telemarketers as much as I liked speaking French to the American ones ;)

I like the "Allo? Hello? Who's there? Helloooo? hello?" too.

I like the 'quick lock in the bathroom echoing and flushing' "Hey, I'm in the bathromm right now, I'm having a litttle problem there, uh, can you call back later?"

I like the little voice "my mommy is not here" and further developments.

Telemarketers are nerdy fun. I was sad when my wife put us on the do-not-cal registry...
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I usually ignore telemarketers because if I see a number on my cellphone that I do not recognize I don't pick up. However, sometimes when I do accidentally pick up a call from a telemarketer I just go with the flow and say," I'm sorry but I'm busy, however, I would like to know how your day went." That usually catches them off guard and sometimes they will tell me they had a rotten day or such. Afterward, they actually THANK ME for asking and making their day a little more better. :)
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regarding "just hang up on them", I recently did that, and the guy called me right back and said "My turn!" then shot a loud static-filled sound burst into my ear. These guys deserve a place in hell with spammers. It's low, and yes I tried it once because I needed a job. I quit a few nights later, it was just too effed up. Get another job or get out of a town that only has that one career opportunity!
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"Now, if that’s because you’re from the states and your view on telemarketing is somewhat tainted from the wide array of unserious and unscrouplous companies doing it over there and lack insight in how the Swedish telemarketing world looks like, that’s a question I’ll leave for you to answer."

I think you can pretty much assume 99.99% of people on earth have no insight into the Swedish telemarketing world. Let that assumption guide your responses.
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Who knew that telemarketing could cause so much wank? Well, this is the internet.

It's a miserable job, but I doubt it's anyone's "only choice" for employment. It's not as if the guy in the video was calling him names or being abusive, he just wasted a minute of his time and probably made the telemarketer chuckle a bit. Harmless?

Yes.
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"Let that assumption guide your responses."

I did, which is what I tried to show in the argument that one should open up ones eyes and see the whole picture. Actually recognize that there are different views than ones own and that they hold merit as well.

At least I speak from experience, I've worked in the business for quite a long time. Most people here speak about a business they know little else about than from what they hear through the phone.

Liz, you can doubt it's someone's only job for employment all you want. I live in a town with 25000 inhabitans. In the six months after I got out of 12th grade (our school system is different than yours, not going to go in and explain it) I applied for any job I could, both those I were qualified to and those which I didn't. I heard back from three or four jobs, saying that they didn't want me. Without the callcenter I would not have had a job in who knows how much longer time. So doubt it all you want, it doesn't change reality.

"Get another job"

I love it, seriously, that attitude amazes me. Yes, you can get another job, but have you been young, uneducated and trying to make a name for yourself on the job market? It doesn't matter where you go, you'll be flipping burgers, bagging groceries, running errands or working in a callcenter. I wouldn't call either a "carreer opportunity", they're pretty much all dead end jobs.

Frankly, I find those guys bagging groceries far more annoying than being called by telemarketers. If I want my groceries fondled by a perfect stranger who each and every time manages to put fragile things under heavy things then I can ask for it myself.

Or if you want to talk sales industry those guys working out in malls and so forth trying to sell cellphone plans and so forth are about a million times more annoying, they try by any desperate means to talk to you. I sat and studied one guy not long ago who had this whole routine where he tripped in front of a customer and as they were helping him up on his feet he started the pitch.

I quite like Ali S.'s method to tell the truth :)
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Good grief, MrP; get over yourself. It's a job, doing something that annoys the heck out of 99% of the populace, so it's natural that people are going to lash out at the only representation of the irritation available -- the guy on the other end of the line. And you apparently don't know telemarketing in the US. Most of the calls we get on our home line are from outfits that are raising money for charitable organizations. Organizations that I would ordinarily be happy to give money to, but these outfits pass only a small percentage of the take on to the charity. And the callers know it, so they know they deserve any crap they get from their intended victims.

My favorite trick is this; when I figure out it's a telemarketer, I tell them I'm quite busy at the moment, but I'd be happy to call them back, and I ask for the caller's home phone number. Most respond with something like, "I'm not going to give you my home number!" And I say, "Well you called me at home, so don't you think I should be able to do the same to you?" And I then politely ask them to remove my number from their call list.
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My favorite trick is to say "can you hold on a moment?" They always say YES (heh) and when I come back to the phone a few minutes later, they're gone.
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"And you apparently don’t know telemarketing in the US."

Yes and no. I know of the telemarketing climate, i.e. that it's far less serious than here and so forth and that it can be quite a lot of calling. I don't, however, know much about the legislation surrounding telemarketing. Especially not since it seems to differ from state to state.

Callcenter charity is indeed not much to cheer for, but telemarketing do have plenty of good and proper uses just as it has plenty of improper uses.

"Well you called me at home, so don’t you think I should be able to do the same to you?"

That's absolutely the most stupid thing you could say. I get that comment about once or twice a week and I always counter with: "Absolutely! Though you have to go through the same process as we did to get your number. First you have to purchase my data from a company that sells it, then you have to match it against the non-call registry and after that it's just a matter of calling. You're welcome and I expect your call shortly." and then I repeat my name so I'm sure they get it. Strangely enough I haven't gotten a single call.

Do you have any real reason why you should just be handed my number when we've had to jump through hoops to get yours? Surely the same conditions should apply for you just as for us, no?
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Simply hanging up doesn't work..I have no idea why anyone would suggest that. If you do not tell them to take your name off their list (which is hard to do because they're trained to talk over you and convince you of something) they WILL call back and in many cases even that won't work. I actually had to spend time to email a telemarketing group to ask them to take me off the list after I requested it from a telephone rep a couple times. Yeah, it was illegal on their part but who's actually enforcing Do-Not-Call laws? I reported a non-profit once and it took a long ass time to do. Also, there's nothing wrong with wasting a telemarketer's time..they get paid anyway and it's not our job to appreciate their work in the comforts of our homes.
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I also worked as a telemarketer for a month or so (my first job at age 17, it was officially a tech support job but you also had to sell them stuff people didn't even need) and I loved putting people on hold for whatever reason and listen to the stuff they do when they don't think they're being heard, I had people singing, people saying I've a sexy voice, people having sex, the works, it was funny. But I used to be reprehended by my supervisor because they have a no-putting-on-hold policy, and once got into trouble when a funny call got monitored, some lonely guy who just called tech support to have someone to talk to.

Also, I would suggest that this prank be enhanced by the use of one of those text-to-voice programs, giving it a Hawkingesque touch. It would have made my day back then.
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"That’s absolutely the most stupid thing you could say... Do you have any real reason why you should just be handed my number when we’ve had to jump through hoops to get yours? Surely the same conditions should apply for you just as for us, no?"

Ummm, MrP; it's meant to be a joke, ok? And jump through hoops to get my number? Please. You dirtbags get my number and several thousand more for a lump sum, usually amounting to a few cents per name. Don't give me the "we work hard for it so we deserve to use it" BS. Save it for one of your marks.

And MrP; if your verbosity in this thread is an attempt to gain sympathy or even a little understanding for people in your line of work -- FAIL. But you have succeeded in raising my level of contempt for your kind a few tics with each of your comments.

Good night (or is it good morning for you?)
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I worked at a call center for many years (until it got outsorced anyhow) 'cause the job market was horrid. Also, I have great ability to shrug of negetivity and also a really dark sense of humor. So I liked the prank calls. We did have coworked who'd cry at the drop of a hat, but people with fragile emotions just don't have the skils for dealing with the public. (just as people with fragile bodies don't have the skills for jobs with a lot of physical labor - etc).

But I must say, for all my resiliance, that job *wore me out*. I grew to dread even next day at work. At the end of the day, you were exhanusted in a way that I can only describe as 'in your soul.' Whether or not you believe in a soul is pointles.. you weren't physically or mentally tired ('casue the job took very liitle brain power), but dealing with negativity constantly, and all the time... well.. it just wore out something important within you after a while.

And this was a job dealing with inbound customer service. I can't imagine the toll outbound sales would take.

If you want to prank the caller, do so. if you want hang up do so. But dont just should obscenities or attack the person to relese the pent up frustration from your own life.

No whatever who you are, if everyone works and stopping the spread of negitivity (because it is infections), i think it'd make a huge difference.
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Having been a money sucking who gives a shit vampire before, I know it has nothing to do with the only job they can get. Or "one step from being homeless".
These people choose this position because it can and has made huge amounts of money per week for these people.
Greed is their moto and they don't give a rats ass what lies or how rude they get while telling these lies.
Don't be fooled, any form of telemarketing should be outlawed.
For "charitable" marketing I've only seen one that actually gave 98% of the proceeds to the program. The "cop" sales are a total scam. Feeding the beer and whiskey at a police lodge on the 29% that actually gets to the fraternity. The rest goes to admin costs, bonuses for the dips on the phones and managers.
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Kinda sad that telemarketing is one of the few jobs that can be performed by a person in a wheelchair (or with a really bad back), and/or "a face for radio" (who can't get into radio).
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"Ummm, MrP; it’s meant to be a joke, ok?"

You might mean it as a joke, plenty of people who've said it to me have been dead serious. If it's a joke it's a bad one.

"You dirtbags get my number and several thousand more for a lump sum, usually amounting to a few cents per name."

Dirtbags? I don't even know what to say to that. It definitely shows that you're unable to see that people are different. In my mind saying that is generalizing in a way that saying that all black people eat watermelon is offensive.

Lump sum? Yes and no, it depends on the contents of the database. Usually they rank up quite a sum since you don't want to be calling in the cold so to speak. Ideally you want a database that's selected out for the specific target group you want to reach. In other words you wouldn't call a 80 year old person about a cell phone plan designed for 20 year olds, for instance.

Usually when I call it's to people who are already customers though (as I said, if you go back a bit and read) and thusly I'm calling straight out of the company database. Heck, I can't remember when I actually called with the intention to sell something last, most of what we do is to make sure that people are content in what they have and change it if need be. Yet, yes, that too is lumped into the TM field.

"And MrP; if your verbosity in this thread is an attempt to gain sympathy or even a little understanding for people in your line of work — FAIL."

Sympathy? Haha, no, I don't want your sympathy or pity, give that to someone who deserves it like the starving children in Africa or something. Understanding, yes, somewhat. If you're utterly unable to realize, from what I've written, that there are various sides to the TM business, both good and bad, serious and not so serious, then that error lies with you I'm afraid. I'm not saying that you have to agree with TM being a great method, or even a likeable one, but I am saying that there are two sides to the coin. Please do answer me that, are you really so blind that you're unable to see that there are more sides to this than you've previously cared to admit?
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Dear MrPumpernickel,

May I please have your home phone number, mobile phone number, your physical mail, and your email address. I have a myriad of products I'd like to solicit to you whenever it's convenient for me.

Feel free to put them right here in the comments of Neatorama as, clearly, to you, it's okay to contact anyone, anytime, unsolicited, so I'm sure, unless of course you're a hypocrite (which you couldn't possibly be... right?!), you'd find there's no harm, no foul in myself or anyone contacting you, any time, to try to sell you, anything.

I look forward to your contact information and I'll be contacting you soon about a wealth of opportunities.
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Yes, MrP, I do realize that there are two sides to the coin, and while I may have had some bad experiences with telemarketers, that doesn't make the individual callers bad. But there are telemarketing organizations that make it their business to defraud the people they call, and the callers are willing participants; ie. criminals. The unfortunate fact is that it's the bad apples that ruin it for the rest of you, so I (and many others) avoid you like the plague, and take some bit of pleasure in giving any telemarketer as hard a time as I can. I figure if the harder I make you work, the less incentive you have to call me again.

My opinion remains that telemarketing is the real world equivalent to spam -- they call me unannounced and unsolicited, and usually at inconvenient times, trying to sound like my friend and like they care about my well being, when all they're interested in is parting me from my money or getting their hands on my credit card number or other personal information. If through some miracle telemarketing suddenly ceased to exist, those who employ telemarketers could easily make up for the loss in some other way, and the world would go merrily on it's way with nary a blip. For the vast majority of the world's population, telemarketers serve absolutely no useful purpose.

What's obvious is that you take yourself and your job all too seriously. Bully for you that it pays the bills and you enjoy it, but if you go through life expecting people to respect your profession, prepare to be sorely disappointed.
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Mr.P,

Do you cold call anyone? Or has everyone that you call signed up to be contacted by your company about the product that you are offering? From you posts about negative responses, I'm thinking you're a cold caller.

Now in real sales, cold calling is appropriate for on business trying to offer it's services to another business. The sales director at the construction company I work for does it about twice a week.

But, when you're computer system dials a random person at their home/work/mobile, and you try to sell them some trash that only an idiot would buy, ($8000 water softeners, credit card protection, insurance at 500% the normal rates)and you don't feel even slightly guilty for doing it, then yeah, the people on the other end have a right to hate you.

My home phone number is known to 3 people, my mother, my mother-in-law, and my employer, yet I still get telemarketing calls. They are scum, and it's why I quit working for a call center as soon as I found out they were using auto-dialers to contact our "customers". In the US, call centers, whether they be tech support, customer service, or telemarketing, are in nearly every city of 50,000 people or more. Usually in large numbers. There are 9 in the city I live in here in Florida, and our population is only 65,000. Call centers are entry level jobs, they hire people with no experience, pay them 10$ an hour, and they expect them to leave within a year. The one I worked for had a 5 week attrition average. In the US, call centers are like burger joints, they're beginner jobs, and only a rare few people last to be promoted off the call floor. I will admit however that not all people that work in call centers are unfortunate scumbags. Both my in-laws work for a bank call center and provide a needed service. But we're not talking about call centers that we call needing information. We're talking about the a-holes that call us to sell us something. It's bad enough that we're under a 24 hour nonstop assault by commercials on TV and radio, inundated by spam email, and junk mail in our post box, but no we have to be berated by people calling us at purposefully inconvenient times so they can catch us at home, trying to sell us garbage we don't need or want.

If you don't cold call anyone then take heart knowing that you're not the scum that we are referring to. If you do, well, then yeah, that makes you a dirt bag, especially since you seem so proud of your job.
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I can't stand telemarketers. Nothing personal. I know that they are people too and I have never been one to shout obscenities at one. But messing with them is fun. Fact is, anyone that calls me at home has automatically lost a sale. I don't care how supercoolawesome and wonderful that product is. So, after accusing them of sleeping with my husband and posing as a telemarketer or something to that effect while hubby is laughing in the background in between earnest sounding denials, if they haven't hung up, I tell them to please take me off their list.
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I've had a telemarketing job before and those assholes are evil. They encourage you to take advantage of senile elderly folk and the young and ignorant. The best part of my dreary cubical/partition centered universe was when somone fucked with me. The more creative the more fun. seriously, do these people a favor and add some flavor to their day.
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The worst is the automated phone call - I just got a new number, and I get "This is an important phone call. It is not a sales call. Please call (800) ... .... as soon as possible."

When I called the number, all I got was hang ups ...
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"May I please have your home phone number, mobile phone number, your physical mail, and your email address. I have a myriad of products I’d like to solicit to you whenever it’s convenient for me."

Sure thing, but as said above if I'm not already a customer at you (which I'm sure I'm not) you're going to have to get my info from a third party company that deals in contact info databases. I would be a hypocrite if I just gave out my contact info to you here, I'm however not a hypocrite if you have to find it out yourself. However, I'll make it easy for you, my name is Daniel Jansson and the rest I'm sure you can get hold of through my website. Happy hunting, I'm expecting your call shortly!

"The unfortunate fact is that it’s the bad apples that ruin it for the rest of you"

You thoroughly hit the nail on the head there. It's something that the company I work for as well as many others in Sweden are working towards, to weed out the bad apples so only more serious companies can stay in business. I'd definitely welcome stronger legislation around this, for instance.

"is parting me from my money or getting their hands on my credit card number or other personal information."

Oh definitely, that's a surefire way to know it's a scam. That's like lesson one, you never give out your personal information over the phone, regardless who's calling.

"If through some miracle telemarketing suddenly ceased to exist, those who employ telemarketers could easily make up for the loss in some other way, and the world would go merrily on it’s way with nary a blip."

Indeed, they would pass the additional costs onto you: the customer. In the end of the day it's about 1/10 as expensive to have me call a customer versus sending the customer written information. The companies will definitely want to continue to get their information out, but they don't want to lose money. Who will pay for that in the end? (not to mention that TM is a hell of a lot more environmentally friendly :P)

"What’s obvious is that you take yourself and your job all too seriously. Bully for you that it pays the bills and you enjoy it, but if you go through life expecting people to respect your profession, prepare to be sorely disappointed."

Of course I take it seriously, I do that with any profession. It's called work-ethic.

I don't expect people to do much of anything, however I hope at the very least that they can respect me as a person after the call I've made.

What's been missing here in the midst of all the people who answer with hateful comments when you call is the actual myriad of people who are happy to be contacted that way as well. Sure we call at inopportune times, that's why we always (always!) ask if the person has time and if not when it is more appropriate for us to return. I realize though that that's not the business standard, and that's somewhat sad.
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HollywoodBob, in a way that depends on what you mean by cold calling. Where I work we call people who are already customers at the company I work for, they at some point signed up for a pension insurance of some sort and it is through that we're calling and checking up on them (as previously stated). However, these customers haven't specifically signed up to be contacted that way, however they have not declined it either. If they don't want to be contacted we of course make a note of that and won't contact them again. So to answer your question about if I am a cold caller or not the answer has to be both yes and no.

We're definitely not trying to sell something that they're not in need of nor are we trying to make the customers do something against their will. As I said, if they're happy we send them on their way with well wishes, if they not happy we try to change it for the better, and that can often entail selling something. We don't go into the call with a "sales" attitude though nor do we get extra pay if we manage to sell anything.

"The one I worked for had a 5 week attrition average. In the US, call centers are like burger joints, they’re beginner jobs, and only a rare few people last to be promoted off the call floor."

Just like in Sweden, it's a job where you go nowhere fast.
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The best I ever pulled was on a survey taker. We had already received two telemarketing calls in 10 minutes and the phone rang again. I picked it up:

Me: "Would you like to take a survey?"
Them: "Ummmm"
Me: "Do you like beans?"
Them: "What kind of beans?"
Me: "Do you like George Went?"
Them: "Who?"
Me: "Would you like to see a movie with George Went eating beans?"
Them: "I don't know who that is"
Me: "That's all right, I don't know either. Is this a commercial call?"
Them: "No, may I speak with [roommate's name]?"
Me: "Sure, here you go!"
Roommate (after listening): "No, I would not like to take a survey!"
*Click*

It's from Animaniacs and needs a better ending but was thoroughly enjoyable to do!
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Dear MrPumpernickel,

Let's say, hypothetically, that people don't enjoy being hassled by telemarketers. Is there any way that we can, you know, live in peace? Is there any way we can enjoy our dinners without being called by strangers who only want our money?

Sincerely yours,
Everyone else.
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That depends on where you live. In Sweden we have a registry which you can sign up (free of charge) which removes the possibility of companies which you're not a customer at from calling you. Companies where you're a customer you have to tell one by one though.

If that possibility is not avaliable to you then unplugging the phone would be the next course of action. However, is it that bothersome to stand up, get the phone, answer, say "no thank you" hang up and go back to whatever you were doing? Sheesh, some people act like that's the end of the world.

I don't want your money though, keep your money, I want my own money. I don't get any personal gain if my call becomes an order or not.
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I worked for a telemarketing firm here in Florida for a period of time. I would get guys like that all the time. Or my favorite when they hand the phone to their 3 year old child. And I cannot technically hang up the call unless someone tells me that "Joe Smith" is not available or if they say no. Also... If you say No once... I have to throw a sales pitch at you an additional 3 times. AND if all you say is no and hang up... I will be calling you again later in the week. Screeching into the phone and making us mad do NOT make us stop calling. We just mark "Not home" and you continue to get calls. Not only from us... But your number is still in a telemarketing bank of numbers.

Also I noticed a few of you said you would piss them off THEN ask to be taken off the list... I will tell you now... They don't... You just again get marked as "not home". I understand if you don't want the product being sold. But how hard is it to calmly say "Excuse me, I am not interested in this offer and please remove me from your list" we will just as nicely reply "Sure Ma'am/Sir." read you the little dialog we're supposed to say and mark you as request for un-list. Which can take up to 30 days to have your number removed. So if you again get a call.. Calmly say you requested an un-list and they will mark it again.

I did the job during college because it was a good chance to earn money while getting my degree. It was a shitty job but you will be surprised how many people actually want a credit card and willing to give me very private information. (Which I cannot record btw... We are not allowed pens/paper or any form of electronic device and the computers are restricted from all programs except the phone dialer).

Yes I found this funny because even when it was done to me I would laugh... Didn't keep me from getting paid and it made the day more interesting than a bunch of "No.. *click*"s. But still.. No reason to be assholes. Just makes you look stupid.
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Yes, actually that is incredibly bothersome. Do you really not see that?

Telemarketing does not fit this day and age and needs to go the way of the Dodo.
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Beat telemarketers with call handling software. Duh!

If the caller is unknown or has ID blocked then the phone does not ring at all and the call gets sent straight to your answering machine.

If the caller is a known friend then the phone rings (custom rings?) and, after a few rings, goes to answering machine. It could even be a custom tailored message for that person.

If the caller is a known enemy (telemarketer, psycho ex...) then the call goes to evil message. Mebbe even customized evil message.

This is not rocket science. Alot of this stuff is already on cellphones I think. Could this simple advancement in phone tech destroy telemarketing?

I guess the telemarketers could always escalate- random phone #s or spoofing.
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Craig, unless you have some medical reason why it's hard to get up, take a couple of steps, open your mouth and go back I don't really see the problem. I regularly get calls from telemarketers but I don't think it's bothersome. Maybe it's mentally bothersome, but it's hardly any great physical effort, nor mental effort either really.
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Hey, Mr. Pumpernickel --

No one cares what you think or do. Telemarketing is just plain OBNOXIOUS, no matter how much you want to try to defend it. That's why there's a nationwide "do not call" registry & it's enormously popular. I'm not going to be on this site long enough to read your windy, overblown replies (much like your telemarketing spiel, I'm sure) so why don't you go piss up a rope, or, better yet, a phone line?
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I just pretend to be really old, and very hard of hearing, forcing the telemarketers to shout at the top of their lungs, often disturbing other calls in nearby cubicles. Sometimes, I'll start shouting back, asking them to speak louder, and louder, until I'm sure I've disrupted every call at the call center.
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"No one cares what you think or do."

Not trying to pick a fight here, but evidently you cared enough to sit down and make a reply. You sort of made my defense for me, thank you.
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Mr.P, you say that one should not be badmouthed because of the job they have, and you turn around and say baggers are annoying, AND you insinuate that most of them are idiots who lack common sense?

I happen to be a bagger, and I get in trouble with my manager if i happen to do something as ridiculous as putting something like cans of soup on the eggs. Grocery stores offer bagging as a courtesy, and you can choose not to have someone bag if you want. And what the hell does being a stranger have to do with anything? Of course he/she is a stranger, it's not like you're best buds with all the employees at the grocery store, or at most places with which you do your business.

Way to be a Hypocrite. And, really, don't try to change it around to make it seem like that wasn't the message you put out, because it most certainly was, there's no other way one could interpret that.
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One can justify one's existence in many different ways. I'm happy to see that at least one telemarketer has taken cognitive dissonance to an entirely new level. That's very healthy for him. Where my health is concerned, I'll continue to hang up on these people who've made a business case and livelihood out of the art of rudeness as soon as I recognize who they are.
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You have made the mistaken assumption that I as a consumer welcome calls from people I don't know who are interested in transacting business with me while I am in my own home. I do not. If you are not operating under this mistaken assumption when you call me, you are merely being rude. You can justify your rudeness by pointing out that none of your potential clients has told you beforehand that your interruption of his homelife is unwanted. This is something, of course, they can't do except by placing themselves on a 'do not call' list.

The telemarketer, to not think of himself as rude, must assume that all those who are not on such a list have in effect let it be known beforehand that they do not mind interruptions of their homelife. Obviously this is not the case. So telemarketers, on some level, know they are being potentially rude. What percentage of callers does a telemarketer think he has irritated by his calls? Surely a lower percentage than those who are actually irritated; after all, many people can hide their feelings, even from telemarketers. But call it 50%; a telemarketer irritates 50% of those he calls. Does a telmarketer balance the realization that he's been rude to 50% of the people he's called by believing that he's done a real service (or at least hasn't irritated) the other 50%?

Or does it have to even be 50%? Surely if 10%, or 5%, or even 1% of those I the telemarketer call realize some kind of benefit (and by that I mean end up giving the my company money), surely that's worth the rudeness the other 90 or 99% of those cold-called have to live through. By giving this 1% a valuable service, the frustration that all the other people who did not want the valuable service (who did not even want to *know* about the valuable service) go through is worth it.

And it's not like the irritation and frustration amount to much, anyway. Several seconds in a day, at most. Unless one counts all the *other* calls by other telemarketers that eat up time, and the amount of time after calls that people spend trying to push that irritated feeling into the background. But I am not my brother's keeper, so I can't really be concerned about the additive irritation my call creates. It's just not my problem.

And if I didn't call, if telemarketing didn't exist, how would potential customers know about my product? How would potential customers even know they have a *need* for the product? Is it even ethical to allow a rube, I mean a potential customer, to walk around, carefree, completely ignorant of the fact that there's this great product out there that would help him greatly in some way that he hasn't even thought about?
Because traditional advertising of products in the media just doesn't flush out the rubes, I mean potential customers, nearly as effectively as it used to. And it's so much cheaper to have a machine interrupt homelife in a zillion homes, looking for those who didn't even know they were lost, than it is to use traditional advertising; so much cheaper. And those lowered costs can eventually be potentially passed to the ignorant customers that we find over the phone. So you can see that any supposed rudeness derived from my unwanted interruption of people's lives, while regrettable, is vital to the overall economy. Also world peace. So it's win-win!

And that's how cognitive dissonance works.
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Lol @ MrPumpernickel and all his wasted time typing in the comment section of a blog.

I used to actually answer to telemarketers and said "no thanks" and opted out of everything under the sun.

My reward for being so polite? I was removed from THEIR list and promptly added to every associate under the sun's list.

Nothing like being able to confirm you have a live person on the end of the line. I now get telemarketing calls from morning to night. My answering machine (max of 35 message) will fill completely in 3 days if I don't answer the phone. All telemarketing/soliciting calls. I don't really blame the telemarketers though. Who I really blame is Bank of America, who sold my contact information out in the first place and it continues to spread from there.
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Mr. Pumpernickel:

It's great that you seem to live in some telemarketing eden where everything is respectful and there are candy canes growing on trees.

But it is basically irrelevant to this discussion. What you describe as your job, your tactics, your ethic, is not the case in the U.S., not the climate here. Unless you understand the American climate of telemarketing, you are really wasting your energy.

And you will simply never win the argument about whether it's okay to call people in their homes. The people in those homes are the authority on whether that feels okay to them, and they have spoken. Get over it.

The fact is that telemarketers are, to the American mind, the absolute lowest form of human life. I can understand how that fact would bother you, but you are better off carrying on with your life rather than behaving as if it is somehow your special calling to change the way telemarketers are perceived and treated. It's not a worthy mission, and it's making you seem dense. Move on.
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fsdoubleflip, it may have been the message I put out, but it was in comparison to telemarketing only. For record's sake there are many many things and professions that I find more annoying than being a grocery bagger. However, what you kind of missed was the argument that people yell at telemarketers and call them various kinds of names, I'd never do that to anyone for doing their profession, regardless if they're a bagger or not. It may be a courtesy thing, but just as often as a bagger asks me if I want my groceries bagged as often they don't and start tearing through my stuff. I have an issue with that, do you have a problem with that?

"You have made the mistaken assumption that I as a consumer welcome calls from people I don’t know who are interested in transacting business with me while I am in my own home. I do not."

Yes, YOU do not, you're one person though. I cannot go into a call assuming that the person either wants or do not want to "transact business" while at home. That's why you ask them if they have time and perhaps say quickly what it's about. Hence it's up to anyone to make the decision. If people who call you don't do that then yes, they are rude. To repeat, you CANNOT assume either or. But yes, I'd wager that you're correct that all telemarketers know quite well the stigma their profession entails and that they can be seen as rude regardless of how well they carry themselves.

Much of telemarketing in Sweden anyway is done to keep customers more than it is to get new ones. A customer which you can make happy and keep is worth 10 new customers, easily. Let's make a hypotethical situation: I call a customer and say that their current cellphone plan is old, outdated and expensive and that they can switch over to a new cheaper one. If we hadn't done that the customer might have found a cheaper deal at another company. Because of our call the customer is happy and stays with our company, it's a win win situation.

nobody, to you it's wasted to me it's well spent. I enjoy discussing these things. I'm sure to many people all the time spent doing anything that they don't agree with is a waste of time as well.

"And you will simply never win the argument about whether it’s okay to call people in their homes."

I don't think I will either, but that's not the point. The point is trying to get people to see that there are more than one side to the coin. They see, for the most case, only their own side and fail to see the other person as well. Hence why so many people with such ease can call telemarketers such horrible and insulting things.

"The fact is that telemarketers are, to the American mind, the absolute lowest form of human life."

Wow! I might've saved that comment for murderers, or rapists, but hey!

"It’s not a worthy mission, and it’s making you seem dense."

Respectfully, that's not for you to decide.
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Kyraii, do you know that if you do not take a person off of a list when they request, that after three more calls, they can report the company to the FCC and as of 1993, it was a $10,000 fine in Florida? This is why I always made sure that in my messing with the telemarketers, I got as much information as I could because one of those companies, thanks to me, did get hit with that fine.

I do not tolerate telemarketing calls. Again, I am not one to tell off the poor sod that has to work there and make the call, but I will have fun with them because it's the nicest I can be when someone is calling me with a useless phone call.

When I lived in the US, I was one of the first on the do not call list, and any abuses of that were reported. Why? Because I only give out my phone number to people I want to hear from. My home is my sanctuary. I don't want anyone to disrupt the peaceful, personal world I have carved out for myself unless that person is a welcome disruption, such as a friend or family member.

Telemarketing is rude by its very concept. Of all the things a person can do on a phone, next to hanging up on someone, it is the rudest thing you can do. Calling someone to sell them something, push for donations, or take surveys is akin to walking into a stranger's bathroom while they are on the toilet and striking up a conversation. This is why I make it a point to never buy from, or give to a charity that uses these tactics.
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Telemarketers hide their phone numbers when they call. Try tracking down an automated message to get a company charged.

I can't believe people in Sweden love being interrupted during dinner, ablutions, or coitus to be informed of exciting new opportunities for their cell phone plan.

Telemarketers are lower on the scale than pedophiles - just learn to accept it, MrPumpernickel. Only then can you be truly at peace with yourself.
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"I can’t believe people in Sweden love being interrupted during dinner, ablutions, or coitus to be informed of exciting new opportunities for their cell phone plan."

Who said they do? No one. However many (notice how I don't generalize there like you do) do appreciate being contacted, especially so since we ask if they have time and can return at a better time. Heck, that method is much better in the long run both for us and the customer.

"Telemarketers are lower on the scale than pedophiles - just learn to accept it, MrPumpernickel. Only then can you be truly at peace with yourself."

Wow, I hope you never have children.

"I just realized, Mr. P, that you have roped us all into an online version of an endless, mind-numbing, unwelcome sell. Well played, sir."

Unwelcome? Whoa whoa whoa! Don't you pin that on me, it was (all) your own decision to come here, to read and to comment.

Either way, I'm done with this now, I've said pretty much all I wanted to say. Happy continuation of this discussion if you decide to do so. Ta ta!
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-- I cannot go into a call assuming that the person either wants or do not want to “transact business” while at home.

But a reasonable person would see that making an unsolicited call to someone is an unmitigated nuisance. Telling yourself (and us) that it's ok because you're calling your own customers, trying to keep them happy, doesn't make it any better. In fact, if any company that does business with me calls me out of the blue, they'd better have a good reason for it or I will no longer be their customer.

-- “It’s not a worthy mission, and it’s making you seem dense.”
---- Respectfully, that’s not for you to decide.

But she's absolutely right, on both counts.

And now, MrP is apparently gone (we'll see for how long; most telemarketers never are for very long), and we have Gunner Sykes to fill in for him.
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For me telemarketing falls just into the same rotten category as spam. It's unwanted and it's an intrusion. The only advantage over email spam is, that you can actually give the favour right back to where it came from, and that is at least somewhat satisfying.

And the argument about people who need the job is just laughable in my opinion. No job opportunity justifies annoying other people in that nasty way. And yes; I really don't care at all about marketing companies and the people that work there. I've seen too many ads being forced down my throat against my will and will do ANYthing to sabotage them...
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Oh dear. I meant, of course, that telemarketers are worse than pedophiles because they at least have the choice not to do something so despicable. But maybe that's overstepping it.

I apologize. Telemarketers are no worse than pedophiles.

After all, after you interrupt thei dinner, ablutions, or coitus, at least you have the decency to ask if you've called at a convenient time. Sorry, that makes it all much less annoying.
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An incredibly irritating trait that seems to be happening more and more in the UK is to have telemarketers phone you from foreign countries. Apparently this somehow gets through the "do not call" list since it only applies in the uk.
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I once got a call from a major donation factory (red cross or something) and the guy literally started snoring after he asked the third scripted question! I said "helllooooo?" a couple of times and he eventually roused himself. I told him to call me back after his nap time.
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This is great! Next report these idiots to a website like http://www.everycall.us and expose them to the world... maybe then they'll stop calling us!!!
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re: "no other work in this sh1th0l3 of a burg": if you're making union money, and you have morals, you'd find a non-mafia job asap. I agree that the victims who respond with piss&angst only emotionally reward the more sadistic of the teleharassers. google.com/search?q=chris+buckley+nazis+pay+the+mortgage
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I cannot believe all the negative comments to just one video. Doesn't anyone get it?: It is just a joke! Man, I think a lot of people are in need of getting a life.
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Many financial advisors and other professionals who are licensed with the government and are qualified to actually provide some sort of benefit to clients often NEED telemarketing as part of their promotions. When starting out in the business they often dial straight out of the phonebook offering their services and trying to book free consultations with people. I don't think its very kind to be messing with someone just because they are trying to make a living - if you aren't interested, hang up. Better yet - if you are having dinner and can't talk on the phone anyways - don't answer!
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Telemarketers and collectors are the scum of the earth and they should ALL be treated as such. For those of you who are taking up for them, your just weak-minded. I hate idiot's calling me after I have sat down to dinner and push so hard they won't take no for an answer. My number is even on the NO CALL list and they just don't care. They push and push thinking the more pressure they put on you, the closer you will be to saying yes. These monster are the bane of America next to Republicans and they should be put in there place.
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I am a telemarketer. I call you because it is my job to do so. I have bills to pay like everyone else and I am not the sort of person who wants to live off of the government. When you are rude to me my boss takes it out on me. I am kind, polite and respectful to every client I speak with. Many are elderly who seem to enjoy having a conversation even with a stranger. However my bosses do not like it when I am too chatty with a senior and this really ticks me off. You do not have to curse at me or call me names because I am trying to do an honest days work. I wouldn't take a job if I knew someone, anyone were being scammed. As I said before I have rent and bills to pay and since no one will hire me I have no choice but to work as a telemarketer. If a customer treats me rudely my bosses do not care (yes I know neither do you), and I lose pay that I desperately need.
Would it kill you to answer a few questions or is the real reason that you make my job so difficult is because you are trying to make me fail so I can end up homeless? What goes around comes back around again. Have a blessed Christmas...I won't.
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