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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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No, No, Skippy — I Have Some Questions for You

I’m working on a new strategy for dealing with telemarketers.

My current strategy is just to never answer the damned phone, so I won’t have to deal with them at all. And that works, I suppose, but it’s not terribly convenient, assuming I ever do want to talk to someone, or win one of those random-call sweepstakes jobbies.

Plus, avoiding telemarketers altogether is pretty boring, frankly. I’d much rather find some way to waste their time and piss them off when they call. It’s only fair, after all. So, I’m working on a new strategy. So far, I’ve come up with a couple of options.

First, I’m thinking of asking any marketing-type boobs who call the house to answer a little questionnaire about their profession. How much they make, how long they’ve been in the business, why the fuck they’re calling me at eight thirty in the damned morning — those sorts of things. Part of me is genuinely interested, I guess — maybe it’s the siren call of the seedy underbelly of humanity. Cold-calling cocksuckers like those are strangely intriguing to me, in much the same way a grisly murder or train wreck might be for other folks. I wanna know what makes them tick, and how the hell they sleep at night, and whether they’re just as miserable and slimy away from their job.

Mostly, though, I just want to waste their damned time, making them answer uncomfortable questions in a conversation they don’t really want to have. I think it’d be fun to go toe-to-toe, quid pro quo, with some of these assbags — ‘Why, yes, of course you can try to squeeze money out of me… but only if I can hold you up for an hour asking whether you were abused as a child. It’ll be a kick. Come on — let’s boogie.

Of course, I spend the vast majority of my life without the kind of time or energy that sort of nonsense would take. It looks good on paper and all, but I don’t know if I have the patience for it. Maybe I’ll just change the message on the answering machine to ask all the questions, so I can still have the fun without all that pesky effort. It might get a little confusing for my parents when they call, but that’s a small price to pay for easy entertainment. Plus, they already think I’m a douchebag. I doubt they’d even bother to act surprised.

I came up with a less elaborate plan, though. It also might be a tad off-putting for any non-telemarketing rascals that call, but it’s a lot easier. This version involves asking trivia questions, right off the bat. So, instead of picking up the phone and saying, ‘Hello!‘ or ‘Good morning!‘ or ‘Tasty Tongues Strippers — what can our girls lick for you today?‘, I’d open the conversation with something like:

So… what do I do for a living?

Or maybe:

Where did I live before I moved to Boston?

Or how about:

Where on my body, within a radius of six inches, do I have a mole that looks vaguely like the silhouette of Anna Nicole Smith with a handlebar moustache?

See, the way I figure it, anybody that I’d ever want to talk to would know the answer to at least two of those questions. And preferably all three, if they’ve got the stomach for it. And can picture Anna Nicole with facial hair.

Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, I think someone calling to talk to me should do their homework first. They should have just a bit of familiarity with the subject before dialing the digits, you know what I mean? So, I don’t think a little pop quiz is out of line in the least. If they can’t give me the name of my dog, or the weight on my driver’s license, or which porn star I’d be most likely to name my firstborn child after… well, then, I don’t see how the conversation could possibly be of any use to me. So, fuck ’em — if they can’t come up with the good, I’ll cut ’em off. They had their chance.

Again, it might raise the eyebrows of the parents — and the in-laws — to be asked the number of misdemeanors I’ve been arrested for, or how many tennis balls I can fit into my mouth at once, or how many people would lend me money, if I really, really begged them to.

(And just as a hint, in case any of you ever want to call me, the answer to all three of those questions is the same. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what number fits all three. Show all work, please.)

So, anyway, that’s my latest harebrained, halfbaked plan. I’m sure it’s not really a good idea to screw around with people who already have my phone number and probably know my credit history, but it seems like it might be fun. And feel free to try this nonsense for yourself, in the comfort of your own receiver. Maybe if enough of us annoy the piss out these people every time they ring us up, they’ll finally get the hint and stop calling. Anything’s possible, right?

Permalink  |  5 Comments

5 Responses to “No, No, Skippy — I Have Some Questions for You

  1. MJ says:

    My dad is in his mid 60’s and he still plays the same trick on telemarketers. After answering the phone, he says, “Can you hang on just a second? Someone is at the front door.” He then puts the phone receiver under a couch cushion and leaves it there. (I have no idea how long the telemarketers wait before finally hanging up.)

  2. zoot says:

    You might want to try the national do-not-call list…I put my numbers on it before they enacted it, as well as my parents number. It’s cut the number of telemarketing calls down 98%. Then if someone does call, you can say I’m on the do-not-call list, and if you call me again, I’m suing you. (that’s after you get the company info of course)… so if they ever call you again, you can quit your day job and do stand-up as much as you want. yep.

  3. pickwick says:

    I like the Sienfeld approach. It goes something like ‘Oh, it’s not a good time for me right now. How bout you give me your home number, and I’ll call you back later… oh, you don’t want to give me your number?… don’t want me to call you at home?… so, now you know how it feels.’ *hang up*

    My personal choice is to feign buddhism and frustrate the #$%@ out of them.

  4. nostril says:

    it’s a fun topic. I’ve pretended to be retarded, crazy, non-english speaking. I almost always use a fake accent.

    I’ve acted real excited about the product/service they are selling. Telling them I can’t wait to get it and let them go thru their whole sales pitch thinking they have a sucker then I pretent that I can’t remember who I am or where I live.

    Keep asking detailed questions about the product that they have no way of knowing. insist that they find out.

    act like a six year old.

    act like you have severe short term memory loss and keep making them repeat things they told you a minute ago.

    There are just so many ways to have fun with telemarketers and yet I myself just don’t get enough of them calling me. I never hang up on them. They ALWAYS hang up on me.

  5. wlfldy says:

    They printed my husbands name wrong in the phone book, so when they call they always ask for the ‘wrong’ name. The typical call goes something like this:

    TM: Hello, is Floyd in?

    ME: Sorry, Floyd doesn’t live here.

    TM: Is this 555-0u812?

    ME: Yes, it is.

    TM: Well, is Floyd there please?

    ME: Floyd doesn’t live here, but Lloyd does.

    TM: Could I speak to the man of the house?

    ME: Just exactly what is a man of the house? That just doesn’t make too much sense to me. Man of the house?

    TM: Er, um… Is this the number for Mr. NAMEPROTECTED?

    ME: Yes, it is.


    ME: Would you like to speak with him?

    TM: Yes, please.

    ME: I’m sorry, he’s not in right now, can I help you with something?

    TM: (click)

    ME: (chortle!)

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