Thursday, May 25, 2006

Phone-y Solicitors

Terrel and I must get 5 or 6 calls a day about student lone consolidation. Telemarketers plagueo our landline from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM every day. We are constantly screening our calls, and I have gotten to where I won't even check our answering machine any more. If I didn't want to hear it on the phone, I don't want to hear it on the answering machine either. I hate sifting through the endless "Hi, this is a courtesy call from blah blah blah!"

Anywho--I think these jokers are getting smarter; their routines are evolving. They know now that we're wise to all of the phone solicitor give-aways. For example you never say "Hello" twice. If there is a pause after "Hello" hang up immediately! If the person on the other line can't pronounce your name, you simply say, "There's no one hear by that name." It's the truth.
Today I got a call and for some reason I actually picked up the phone--I thought it was Terrel. When I said hello, there was a pause, and again I deviated from the plan and waited that extra second. The person on the other line called be by my first name, "Sarah?" So, I responded in the affirmative and he launched off into his gimmie money repetoir. It was all I could do to get off the phone politely. Maybe I should have hung up, but it was the "support your local fire department" business, and I try to be nice to them.

This acting-like-its-a-personal-call thing must be the new gimmick. A couple of weeks ago a woman called and asked for Terrel. I had a pretty good idea it was a school loans call because she was speaking with a heavy middle-eastern accent. So, in an attempt to cut her off at the pass, I said, "May I ask who's speaking?" And she says, "This is Anitia." I had to kind of chuckle. Where I come from you just don't call up a woman and ask for her husband without offering some kind of explanation. "May I ask who's calling" can be roughly translated as "Who are you, you strange woman, and what business do you have with my husband?" But she didn't offer any kind of explanation, as if it's just the most normal thing for some woman you've never heard of to call your husband at home.
Giggling, I asked "May I ask what your call is pertaining to?" to which she responded (quite curtly), "Why do you laugh? Do I make joke?" In laughing I did not intend to be rude, I was just a little shocked by her brazen attempt to dupe me into putting Terrel on the phone so that she could make her sales pitch. I politely informed her that I was not interested in doing business with her, especially since she had not been very considereate to me as the lady of the household.

What I should have done is just go ape accusing Terrel of cheating on me and asking who this "Anita" was. "Anita!? a-NIT-a!? Who is Anita and what is she doing calling you at OUR house! You two have got a lot of nerve!"
That would have been funny. (Terrel would NEVER do anything dishonest, BTW. I trust him completely. But that lady would have gotten the shock of her life!) The crazy thing was, she called back twice within the next 10 minutes and changed her name to Jessica. Persistent.

So, beware. They think they've got our numbers. Actually, they do have our numers, and they're not at all afraid to use them!


Blogger laura said...

yeah that's why i totally did away with my home phone and just stuck with the cell phone. if i don't know the number, i don't answer. i figure if they really want to talk, they'll leave a message. and if i really want to talk to them, i'll call back. so you better leave a message if you call from some random phone number and i don't answer. cause i definitely want to talk to you :)

2:25 PM  

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