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Wednesday, May. 22, 2002
So what's the correct way to deal with the telemarketers?

I think I've really come full circle on this thing. From a simple, effective (and possibly rude) hanging up of the phone, to a listening mode before politely and repeatedly declining, to the present day. Where I tend to listen for tidbits that I can extrapolate for my own evil revenge. Listen:

"Hello, thisisKennethfrom ABC Window Corp. Doyoustillliveat 1513 Mockingbird Lane?"

"Yes, of course. And I still beat my wife."

"Oh, uh…yes. Andwouldyoubeinterestedinourfreeconsultation?"

"Can you bring the beer? And a large with green onions and Italian sausage? Gotta be Italian now, can't stomach those pork things. Not since the wife stiffed that nice Iranian fella on the Heart Fund Donation."

And so on. I almost look forward to them now. The phone services, the credit cards, the home improvements. The unending not for profit police fund drives, promising a pair of free tickets to a band whose music was in vogue approximately twelve years prior to my birth. And it sucked even then.

Today's contestant on "Dialing for Outfoxed" was a credit card hawker. Discovery Card, if I remember right. They all tend to run together. I let him run his course in the breathless way they all have, pouring out data like a gospel preacher after a night on the town, and waited for the big pause, the moment at which they all ask the same question.

"Now if I can just verify your address, we'll get this information right out to you. So you still live at…"

"Yes. Well, that is, no. Had a sewer back up at the house a few weeks ago and we've been staying at the neighbors. Got our calls transferred over here. Helluva mess. But since you called, sure, it might be nice to have a new credit card. Some fella came and took all our other ones. Something about 90 days, he kept talking about 90 days and it just didn't make any sense to me."

"So, you're saying you don't live at that address anymore?"

"That's right sport. But the mailbox is still there. Just go ahead and send it along. I'll toddle over in the morning and check on it. The cop out front usually goes on coffee break around ten and that gives me about 15 minutes to run over and check on the mail. Damned nuisance, but what can ya do?"

Click.

On the other hand, I've found that employing this method has an opposite effect. Once you start enjoying the game, once you begin encouraging them, the calls slowly dwindle. There's a conspiracy amongst the ranks, they all talk to one another, and I'm convinced they all have access to that national list of people with credit and employment. You know the one, you're on it, too.

It's the sport of the thing. I was really starting to enjoy it, and now they treat me like a pariah. Nobody calls for me, the phone doesn't ring (this most strictly does not include the calls for 3 teenaged children) and I am becoming bereft of my only source of home based entertainment.

Unless you count sitting in the resultant silence and listening to obscure jazz musicians on the surround sound as entertainment. Hell, obscure as they are, they don't even hang up on me. What good is that?

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