By Xeni Jardin at 8:05 pm Thu, Oct 1, 2009
"Robin Cooper" (whom I know to be the brilliant UK comedy writer Robert Popper of the Timewaster Podcasts) says,
Telemarketers are constantly calling me at home, so a few months ago I decided to get my own back. When a guy called from some satellite TV sort of company thingy (it's always so vague) I had a bit of fun.
"Robin Cooper & family v The Telemarketer"
OK, yes, it was brilliant. But ever British, he does not lose it once, he keeps in character and is quite the gentleman.
Had me giggling like an idiot.
Tears rolling down my face (from laughing).
I enjoy this particular technique: go with them, accepting their pitch, take your time, suck them in, make them feel like they’re about to get a great deal. Then request 47 of whatever it is they’re selling. And insist on this. Don’t let them off the phone. Tell them they’re rude and you’ll report them to their supervisor.
Or equally, just say “nice of you to call, sorry I never buy over the phone, please remove me from your list”
My favorite telemarketer “strategy”: we don’t “do” television, and we don’t want television.
For a while, this led to hilarious exchanges with script-reading zombies who live in other countries, and clearly have an image of Americans as obese TV boobs, trying to sell us Direct TV by asking how many channels we have [“None.” “Excuse me?” Well, we do kind of get a fuzzy image of our local CBS affiliate…”].
Recently, it’s become much more fun, as we’ve applied the concept to every telemarketing call we recieve regardless of the subject. [“hello, I’m calling on behalf of the Policeman’s Benevolent Society…” “Oh, I’m sorry. We don’t want any policemen. We don’t allow them in our house.”] It tends to amuse intelligent telemarketers, it doesn’t waste much of their time, and everyone goes away smiling.
As someone who worked in telesales:
People who try to bait you are the most fun thing about the job. Sure they don’t result in sales, but basically if I’m talking to someone who’s having a laugh with me:
1. I can normally tell.
2. One of us is being paid for this.
Also amusing to talk to are crazy people. I spoke to a woman for about half an hour once about how ‘female heroin addicts’ were flooding her house.
The Do not call registry ruined some of my fun. Telling the local newspaper I wouldn’t subscribe because I’m illiterate. Telling the FOP I’d donate if they let my brother out of jail. Telling the children’s charity that I don’t like kids. Telling the window people that I don’t want to upgrade as I’m preparing to abandon the place.
All while watching my wife freak out.
This is the gentle, reserved English version of Tom Mabe. Best Tom Mabe prank calls were the ones he made at 3:am to the hotel rooms of telemarketers attending a telemarking convention…
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