Saturday, May 2, 2009

Call 1-800-BITEME

Finally, a national no-call registry has been introduced which gives Joe Citizen the ability to take action against those pesky telemarketers.
Unfortunately it does not provide the home numbers of the callers, but it can put you on a list intended to keep the callers from calling.
I have never bought anything these people are selling.
I also already have a list of charities I give to, and the Save the Bunnies Foundation is not one of them.
The calls at dinner time are bad enough, but I was awoken at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning once by a telemarketer telling me, “Congratulations, you have qualified to be part of an offer that could save you thousands on your next vacation. You have been selected to blah, blah and blah...”
All I could think was, “You have got to be kidding me.”
Well those may not have been the exact words I was thinking, but it was something like that.
Instead of telling the person on the other end of the line what they could do with the offer, I decided it was better to hang up, because that kind of language is not appropriate (no matter how deserved.)
But after years of complaining, federal officials have finally taken action and set up the registry where you can list your phone number and never again be bothered by a telemarketer selling time shares in Kandahar.
I suspect some big shot government type was hauled out of bed at 7 a.m. on a Saturday, decided the complaints from us little people were justified and was moved to take some action.
Seeing as it is impossible to reach through a phone line and smack the person on the other end, the idea of a registry was hatched.
My family has been taking their own action against telemarketers for years and I have to admit, once I register I will almost miss messing with those annoying folk – almost.
Before we got caller ID, telemarketers were easy to spot because they could never pronounce my last name. It is kind of a tricky one, but anyone who knows me knows how to pronounce it, so if someone asks for Mr. Hand-sca-hoo they are entitled to an instant disconnect and a curse placed upon their livestock.
When they ask for the Missus, I politely tell them she is not home, even if she is sitting beside me.
“Is there a time I can call back?” they often ask.
I will then check our schedule, find a time when I know no one will be home and tell them to call back then.
“I am not sure exactly when hell is going to freeze over, but when it does gimme a call.”
Usually I don’t even give them time to get into their spiel, because it is not going to make a bit of difference anyway. Whatever they are selling, I can pretty much guarantee I am not buying.
My oldest son likes to have a little bit of fun. When they ask “Is Mr./Mrs. Hand-skooo there?” my son says, “Hang on a second.”
He will then put the phone down and finish eating his dinner, or playing a video game, or reading or doing whatever while the telemarketer sits on hold.
I was quite pleased when he came up with that one actually. Eventually the telemarketer will give up or Junior will pick up the phone after many minutes and say, “Nope, they are not here” and hang up.
One time, Junior even left the house to go to a friends place. I walked in, noticed the phone and picked it up.
“Hello, yes, is a Mr. Hand-sca-hook there?”
“Nope” Click.
Not to be outdone, my middle son also likes to mess with the ‘marketers.
When they ask for me, Junior No. 2 also says hang on a second and puts the phone down.
After a couple of minutes he will pick up the phone and say, “He can’t come to the phone right now because he has to mow the house and paint the lawn.”
He then hangs up with a smile.
I am not the only one to rail against the phone equivalent of a mosquito and some people have made a small fortune coming up with automated responses annoyed recipients can play when someone wants to bilk you out of your life’s saving by asking you to invest in a yard maintenance company in Siberia.
A survey found two thirds of Canadians do not want to be called and in their frenzy to register they overwhelmed the website causing it to crash.
Perhaps a company could be hired to phone people and ask if they want to be on the registry or not.

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