Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pet Peeve of the Week: Telemarketers

I haven't done an "official" Pet Peeve of the Week post for nearly three months! How can this be, there's so much to be bitter about!?!

Today's topic was inspired by all of the time I've been spending at home now that I am done with The Man. In my first days of freedom (already about 1.5 months ago, wow...), I was struck by the incredibly high number of phone calls I was receiving while I sat here trying to concentrate on writing blog posts or checking out celebrity gossip or watching YouTube videos - you know, important things. How dare these phone calls interrupt my critical tasks? We didn't have Caller ID, so I wouldn't actually answer any of them, knowing that a voicemail would be left if it was important, or that the person would call back immediately if it was someone I knew (that's the secret code I would give to friends and family - "Call back again right away and then I'll know it's you!" - which annoyed them all greatly).

Not thirty minutes would go by over the course of any given day when the phone wouldn't ring. Soon, I couldn't take it anymore. I found a pretty good package deal online for unlimited long distance calls plus a whole bunch of other phone features, including Caller ID, for $40 a month. Sign me up!

Now I can SEE all of the crazy places that are bugging me, which I'm not sure is any better. By and large, they are either student loan companies, mortgage companies, "debt solution" providers, or satellite dish installers. What's frustrating is that I literally have consolidated my student loans as much as they could possibly be consolidated, and my rate is something ridiculously low like 2.4%, so there's no way I'm messing with them again. Similarly, we're locked into an extremely low mortgage rate for 3 more years, so I'm not going to touch it. I carry no credit card debt and don't have any problems managing my money, and I'm quite happy with my Comcast dish (I probably just jinxed myself). So... alas, I have no need for any of these services and I highly doubt the majority of people they call do, either.

My new tactic is that if I've seen a particular number come through several times, then I will actually answer the call and then immediately ask to be placed on their "no-call list" because "you guys have called me ten bazillion times." The telemarketers are now well-prepared for this request, because they have a whole spiel they read off about how it may still be 2-4 weeks before the calls stop, and on and on. But it seems to have helped a little bit. My service package also came with a feature called Privacy Manager which apparently stops some calls before they even can ring through to you - but I haven't really checked out exactly how it works yet.

The bad news about this new service plan I got is that AT&T screwed up (surprise, surprise) and cut OFF my voicemail service when they turned ON the Caller ID. I had saved and re-saved a particularly funny message left for me by my crazy peeps DY and JP for four YEARS - and now it was gone!!!! Yes, for four full years I had been re-saving this certain voicemail because it always made me laugh. It doesn't take much to make your blogger friend e happy. And now AT&T has ripped away that joyful memory from me. For that reason, I refused to sign back up for their voicemail service. So now I use the digital answering machine on my high-tech new phone that I had to get when my line was all screwed up (which it actually pretty much still is... grrrrr). Since I AM egrrrl and greatly prefer to email people rather than talk on the phone, this hasn't proven to be a problem just yet... the only issue is that if I'm on the line and someone beeps in, it will just keep ringing on their end and not go to voicemail. But at least now I can see who it was that beeped in and call them back if I deem them worthy.

So while I started off this post wanting to vent about telemarketers, it has resulted in me getting all worked up about AT&T again because the wound of losing my favorite voicemail has been re-opened. Damn you, AT&T!

And you KNOW my next bill is going to be totally screwed up because of my new order, too. Prediction: more rants ahead!

But let's end this post on a comical note, shall we? Here is the winner of an old Salon.com challenge to write a telemarketing pitch in the form of haiku:

darkness grows outdoors,
your dinner cools, I waste a
moment of your time
-- Dave Demko


Well said, my good man, well said.

- e

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

E, you NEED to sign up here: https://www.donotcall.gov/ I swear, it works like a charm. We signed up and have not had a single telemarketer call in months! Good luck!

e said...

Thanks for the tip! I had done that before and have only been at my current number for 4 years, but I just submitted it again to be extra sure... we'll see if it helps.

- e

Anonymous said...

It doesn't always work. We registered for the "no call" list, and still get random telemarketing calls. We even have an unlisted number. What's worse is when you get them on your cell phone!