Call Me Sometime! (Why Telemarketers Must Die)

I’m not yet a fossil, but by admitting I still have a landline phone, I am a dinosaur. When I recently complained on a social media post about the proliferation of robo- and telemarketing calls, a common response was to ask why I still owned this relic.

Some legitimate reasons to hold on to your landline: home security is connected to it, though you can do that wirelessly now. Better still, and true, a wired phone is more likely to work in a power outage.

The reason I’ve held on is I do not like to talk on the phone, and the less my cell phone rings, the happier I am. With a ‘home’ phone, I have a number to give the dentist, doctor, drug store, etc., who may have a genuine need to reach me without having to give out my cell phone number.

However, my home phone is blowing up with unwanted calls. And I’m not alone. Yes, I’m on the ‘do not call’ list. Yes, I regularly renew my membership on said list. Why yes, I’ve even filed a few complaints, just for funsies. But the hits just keep on coming and in increasing numbers.

The Federal Trade Commission is charged with regulating these matters, but it’s either gotten to be too big of a problem for them, or they simply don’t care. It’s so bad now that I get up in the morning and take the phone off the hook. Sure, I can look at caller ID and ignore those calls, but they start around 8 in the morning. If my phone is ringing at 8 a.m., somebody better be dead.

Agreed, there are legit telemarketing firms making legal phone calls. That’s not what we’re getting, folks. I’m frankly mystified that anyone would want that job, a job where 99% of the people you talk to hate you.

My new theory – and I sincerely believe this – is that the mere act of answering the phone makes it worse. By answering, you’ve just told them there is a person at this number who will pick up the phone, and I believe that information gets shared amongst the predators. Hence, the increasing volume of calls.

I recently answered a call identified on caller ID as ‘I’. Just the letter ‘I’. Thought I would ask them to please remove me from their call list. Indeed, by law they are supposed to do that, but I don’t think we’re dealing with legitimate telemarketers anymore. What I heard sounded like a very well done computer-generated voice.

“Is this Allen?”

“It is”, I replied.

*click* (call ends) 

What happened? Did it end because I didn’t say “yes” or “no”? By the way, never say the word “yes” to a telemarketer. NEVER. A tactic they use is to be recording you. Even if they ask if you love your dog, if you say “yes”, they have you saying the word “yes”. It can be used maliciously against you.

So what to do? There is the old whistle trick: have a loud whistle you can blow into the phone when the vultures come calling. But that hurts my ears, too. My favorite solution so far is from my nephew and his wife. Their two-year old son, Oliver, loves to talk on the phone. When it’s a telemarketer, they just hand the phone to him and walk away. Mom’s happy, Dad’s happy, the kid’s happy.

While that’s a brilliant strategy (for now), it would force me to find someone with a two-year old for sale. Then I would have to decide whether I would rather have a two-year old in the house or a telemarketer on the line. And the jury is unprepared to render a verdict in that case, your honor!

(Drawing provided by 7-year old Carson Terrell, dinosaur expert from Oconee County,Georgia. It is an Ichthyosaur, but you should know that.)

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