Saturday, July 18, 2009


I can tell that summer is here because last week an out-of-state van pulled up in our neighborhood and groups of young people took to the streets selling stuff. In the past they have sold anything from cleaning solutions to vacuums to coupon books. I always get a kick out of their official photo ID which they wear around their neck in a plastic lanyard. I know I am supposed to think they are honest and can be trusted if they wear photo ID, but it does not make them look like the director of the CIA, just a teenager wearing his picture around his neck.

These people got me thinking about one of my other favorite groups of sales people-telemarketers. I know phone solicitors are not as common as they used to be, thanks to caller ID and the Do Not Call Registry. Despite these technological and legislative obstacles, some phone solicitors continue to do their thing, especially in business settings.

One of the phone call scams that really bugged me was when an out of state copy supply place would call my work and say "we got your order here and will ship it ASAP, but we just need to verify your copier model." If an unsuspecting employee gives it to them, they take that as a yes to send an unwanted and overpriced order. It's usually hard to get those guys to stop talking because they know as soon as you start asking questions and find out who they are, then their sale is dead.

The telemarketers that used to bug me the most were guys calling businesses and asking to speak with the owner. They were usually stock investor sales guys. I think the only prerequisite for their job was to have a New Jersey accent, be rude, and cocky. If the conversation didn't go their way within the first few seconds, they would just hang up on you. I guess that's better than the people who won't take no for an answer who are hard to get rid of.

Charities, surveys, and organizations who have worked with you in the past are exempt from the do not call registry. I always get calls from the Fraternal order of Firemen or Police. Despite my respect for these occupations I think the guy calling is just a salesman who keeps a cut of the money he collects, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't go to local officers.

I came up with a way of dealing with phone solicitors if you don't want to argue and listen to their sales pitch. As soon as you realize they are trying to sell you something just pretend to be mentally impaired and keep saying "I like pancakes" every time they ask you a question. It works wonders. This technique also works well at Village Inn, IHOP, or Denny's when you are hungry.
While looking for a photo to post with this topic, I came across a site with a list of 20 ways to drive telemarketers insane which I thought were pretty funny.


Polka Dot Moon said...

I'm definitely going to use that line next time I receive a telemarketer call; or maybe just say that every time I answer the phone!!

Tranquility said...

"I like Pancakes".
Mmm - Yum.
I do you know!... like pancakes, that is. ;)

That one should be easy to remember!

DiPaola Momma said...

Oh man have you heard crank yankers do the telemarketer thing? LMFFAO! Do I see 103 there?! WTG! So I need your boy opinion over at my blog since you are like one of maybe 2 and a half men (funny aren't I?) who reads my blog.. or atlest you had better be reading it! he he

Joanna Jenkins said...

Yum, pancakes! I'll try that next time.

Eric said...

lol @ pancake comment
I tend to take the respond in a different language approach. It will be my luck that someday a telemarketer will speak Italian badly.

Jeanne said...

I used to work (as a programmer) for a mail order company. Once, when I was upstairs working in Telemarketing as a learning experience, we had an old guy call in who claimed to be 90.

"Did you know that there's sex after death?" he says.


He cackles like a hyena. "You get laid in you coffin!"

Guess it rolls both ways....

Atzimba said...

I should try this 'pancakes' one next time... because speaking in Spanish has sometimes surprised me when the telemarketer replies back in Spanish. Then I just start singing and they hang up, if I haven't first :)

Fancy Schmancy said...

I get those calls all day long. I simply say no thank you and hang up. Unless it's the copier people, then I just hang up.

Kathy B! said...

And I do like pancakes!!

What a fun way to toy with those pesty people!!