She’s Already Seen It All

, , , , , | Working | May 13, 2021

In the nineties, I rented a room from an old lady of almost 100 years old, in exchange for doing her shopping and helping her with other small things. One day, she couldn’t pick up the phone herself for a moment, so I did. It was a telemarketer.

Me: “Residence of [Landlady].”

Telemarketer: “Can I interest your landlady in [Newspaper]?”

Me: “She’s not interested.”

Telemarketer: “I didn’t hear you ask her.”

Me: “I didn’t need to ask her; I know she doesn’t want a subscription.”

Telemarketer: “But I didn’t hear you asking her.”

Me: “She doesn’t want it.”

Telemarketer: “You didn’t ask her.”

Me: “I know she doesn’t want it.”

Telemarketer: “But you didn’t ask her. It’s a very good newspaper with interesting articles—”

Me: “She isn’t interested.”

Telemarketer: “You haven’t asked her. This is such a good newspaper; she’ll enjoy—”

Me: “She isn’t interested.”

Telemarketer: “You haven’t asked her. Why wouldn’t she be interested?”

Me: “She’s blind!

Telemarketer: “Ehhh, no, then she wouldn’t be interested.”

They hung up.

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No Return To This Burner

, , , , , | Legal | March 29, 2021

One company that I contract with has an app that must be used for scheduling. The downside to this is that when the app is used to call the customer, they now have your cell phone number.

I can’t use an office phone, so I got a prepaid “burner” phone with no ties to me or my name, even with a different area code from where I live.

The phone doesn’t ring; it’s only used for outbound calls and the ringer is on vibrate. 

Tonight, I was sitting at my desk doing paperwork and the phone started to vibe. Odd.

I answered it and a woman announced that she was calling to save me money on my car insurance. Uh-huh.

I lowered my voice — and I’ve already got a deep voice — and said, “You’ve called a drug dealer’s burner phone. Do you really want to do this?”

She hung up. I must remember that one!

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That’s One Way To Get Rid Of Them

, , , | Related | March 16, 2021

I can never say no to things. So, when I get a call from a telemarketer, I tell them I’m busy, and they ask if they can call back, so of course, my reply is always “yes.” This one in particular is for life insurance. They constantly call and I ignore them but they still keep trying. 

One day, I have had enough, but I still just let it ring. I am with my younger sister at the time, so she asks if she can answer it. 

Sister: “Hello?”

Telemarketer: “Hi, is [My Name] there?”

Sister: “No, she’s dead.” *Hangs up*

They stopped calling me after that.

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That Moviegoing Didn’t Go Very Far

, , , | Right | February 19, 2021

I answer the phone.

Caller: “Hello, sir, may I have a few moments of your time to ask about your moviegoing experience?”

Me: *Suppressing laughter* “Certainly! Though I should note that the last movie I saw in the theater was either the third Lord of the Rings or Master and Commander.”

Both are about ten years old at this point.

Caller: “Thank you, sir, have a nice day.”

I chuckled for two days.

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Everything Is Legal In New Jersey

, , , , , | Working | January 25, 2021

In my twenty-two years working as a press officer for a large New Jersey city, I spend a lot of time on the phone. Ninety percent of it is important, ten percent pointless, but I have to scoop that device up each and every time it goes off, as it could be anyone from CBS News to the mayor. The latter is more important, obviously.

The ten percent that is pointless can be quite annoying.

Caller #1: “We’d like to come down and assess your roof for renovation!”

I give them the address of City Hall and tell them to come on down right now. The building is, among other things, a National Historic Landmark.

Caller #2: “We’d like to come down and put solar panels on your roof.”

See above.

Caller #3: “We’d like to discuss new informational reciprocating flingles that will hoosenwanger your 50-Gigabyte system and provide for greater centrality for up-end users!”

Me: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Caller #3: “Isn’t this the information office?”

Me:Press information. We write press releases. You want information technology.”

Caller #3: “Oh. Sorry.”

The best one is the fax that comes in saying that we are in danger of being bought out by our nearest competitor. I call the company on the fax to save us from that dire fate.

I take the lead and our entire team groups around a speakerphone as I dial back.

Me: “Hi, we got a fax from you saying that our company is in danger of being bought out. Is that true?”

Speakerphone: “Oh, yes, absolutely. We want to work with you to prevent that.”

Me: “Well, there’s just one problem with that theory. We’re not a business. We’re the city of [City]. Who’s going to buy us out? Pittsburgh? Denver? Edinburgh?”

There’s a long silence from the speakerphone.

Speakerphone: “Uh… that was sent to you in error.”

Me: “You think?”

Speakerphone: “We’ll take you off our list.”

Me: “I think that would be a good idea.”


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