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THIS is telemarketing

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The other evening, I got a phone call. i didn’t recognize the number on my call display, but I answered it anyway, because, well–not many people call my landline and sometimes I get lonely for an old-fashioned, non-carcinogenic conversation, you know?

There was the tell-tale silence after i said “hello?” and then a bit of a clatter and then a man’s voice:

“hello, Mrs. G_?”

I HATE when they call me “Mrs.” that whole marital status thing. I used to kinda ‘go off’ on the sales people and survey folk and all that…but I don’t any more, I just say, “you can call me Erin”. Soon, (I hope soon–like in a year or so) i’ll ask them to call me “doc”.

Anyhow, so I said, “call me Erin”. And buddy launches into, “Yes, my name is Tam and I am calling from the Computer miantenace department and–”

I interrupted him, “Computer maintenance department of where? what company?”

He  kind of sputtered to a halt. then he continuted in the same South Asian-accented monotone, “We offer maintenance —Windows 7 — other operating systems–worldwide” I missed most of it,  as he was talking over my question. then he said, “Do you understand?”

Was he patronizing me?

“Okay, but I got a call like this just a couple of nights ago, I don’t have any problem with my computer”

Same monotone, no affect, I swear to you, he says to me: “Well you can just hang up the phone now and go straight to hell. Don’t waste my time.”

So I did.

But now I wonder. Was it some kind of radio show? Like, I don’t know, “wiretap” or something, and they were calling around trying to get people to be witty in the face of insult? ’cause I can totally do that. And I love talkng to telemarketers and stuff, I really do. I did that job once myself. For four hours. Longest four bloody hours of my life just about. Well, there was the Greyhound ride from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay with the drunk guy sitting next to me, “awww, don’ go t’sleep, you got such beyootiful eyes…”. Jesus wept. That was longer than four hours anyway, and among the longest hours of my life…Anyway, so, i often pick up the phone, even when I know it’s a telemarketer, because, hey! I bet they’re lonely. And they always sound so relieved to talk to someone who’s not haning up on them or swearing.

Not this guy, though. He just sounded flat. Like maybe he was reading from cards, and he got the cards mixed up and instead of reading what his next line was supposed to be, he read “possible responses from client”, and read what my response might have been.

So maybe he was representing some kind of  “Candid Camera” thing but on the phone, and it was my chance to be famous.

Dammit. Blew it again.

I did have another call like that the day before, but the guy that day was nice. He said, “we’re following up on your computer problems”–and when i said I don’t have computer problems (I’m a bit incompetent with them, is all), he kind of chuckled and said goodnight.  Maybe i’ll have another chance.



About easilyriled

My mom was Edith, my dad was John. I have a brother, who is Shawn. I have many friends and allies and mentors in my life. I'm white, over-educated, working in a field for which I am not yet trained, messy, funny, smart, lesbian, feminist "Not the fun kind", as Andrea Dworkin said. But I, like the feminists I hang with, ARE fun. Radical feminism will be the roots of our shared liberation. Rejection of sex-stereotypes (gender) and male domination will give us wings.

9 responses »

  1. Remember when you allowed me to use your credit card to purchase a virus software package on-line? And they actually tried to renew it on your card? I contacted them to cancel it, but because I am supposed to be you it was a bit confusing. Anyway I’ll bet it’s the same company. Because as I recall we emailed a bit about it and they may have also asked for your contact info to verify the original purchase.

    I never answer the telemarketers cause I hurt for them. I also did that job and for longer than 4hours trust me, it’s brutal. I can’t be rude, I can’t engage. I just don’t. So if they called me about my computer problems, that I’m certain they cause when you don’t renew your new virus-scan software package, I wouldn’t know. Anyway, on principle I wouldn’t pay someone to clean up the problem they caused. How else would they suddenly know i’m having problems with my computer but call you??? Ah. . . so IMHO it’s a savvy bit of marketing.

    For your sake I wish it was a CBC radio show, but something cool like DNTO cause wiretap SUCKS!!! As soon as I hear that man’s voice I cut the feed!! I’ve tried. I give them all a chance, more than one actually.

    So anyway Doc. Sorry to hear the telemarketer had a meltdown on your telephone. He can’t deal with your different approach and he can’t be human. He has a quota and please don’t ask him to try to step outside of his mousetrap for you. Poor bastard. Globalization Sucks as much as wiretap.

    • Thanks, Val–I kinda like wiretap, though for yours now I’ve been appalled by the insidious yet virulent sexism of that show (and many others on the CBC, gotta say–it’s sure deteriorated in the last 25 years–but I can’t turn away. sigh). Anyhow, it wasn’t that company, they corrected that right away, don’t worry. I don’t have computer problems of any kind. and he didn’t really have a meltdown, that was what was so strange about it. He spoke to me with the same tone of voice as if he were reading from a card that said, “this call will be monitored for quality control purposes”. Except it said, “why don’t you hang up and go to hell then stop wasting my time.” no inflection, no punctuation, practically. weird.

  2. And you’re right on about globalization, as you are about many things. xo

  3. twentyfourhourtruce

    There’s a fairly widespread scam here in the UK where people get cold-called and told that they are from Microsoft, or some other computer company, and have detected a virus on your computer. They then talk you through going to the event log, where, inevitably, there is some kind of alert with a yellow or red icon (EVERY machine I’ve ever look at has a yellow or red alert in the event log – it’s not necessarily a bad sign, and it’s certainly NOT where virus alerts get stored!).

    People who don’t know computers then panic about these alerts and then are talked into downloading an expensive “virus checker” which isn’t anything of the sort.

    You may have been randomly called by this kind of scummy scammer.

    • yea, thank you for your message twentyfourhourtruce–i figured it was probably like that. Had I let either of those callers keep talking, i may have bought into the whole scam–’cause i’m kinda trusting like that. But there was an e-mail scam going around a few years back like that–would proclaim that they had conducted a routine test of computers on a certain network and you’d better check your event log and download this software that’ll protect you…your message reminded me of that one, too.
      working on a new post now, as well as papers and marking…but coffee first–xo

  4. That sounds suspiciously like the telemarketing scammers I read about in another online article recently. These folks also presented themselves as “Microsoft technicians”. They were targeting old folks though so it’s probably a coincidence.

    Still, whoever called you sounded pretty amateur. I’m not a telemarketer myself but personal circumstances have got me researching about what they do for business (B2B lead generation and stuff) so I know their standards.

    I can name about two-three basic violations your caller did against the Dos-N-Don’ts of Telemarketing. No wait, make that basic violations against decent phone conversations in general.

    • Thanks, Lawrence. Yea, i figure he was pretty much ready to quit his stupid job the night he called me. These people have called my mom, too, and she’s paid them to help her with her computer! That made my blood boil. Next time they called me, after I heard that, I told them “no, I don’t need any help with my computer, and while I have you on the phone, LEAVE MY MOM ALONE. Please. Think about if it were YOUR mother–kthx bai”.
      I did telemarketing for four hours once. never went back after that. I totally understand the compulsion to tell your targets to “go to hell”. but it’s not good business practice, I agree.

      • Oh dear, that’s not good. When did this happen? If it’s just somewhere in the past month, this might have something to do with it:

        (It’s that online article I mentioned)

        Odd thing is, the article also says that Microsoft doesn’t do unsolicited telemarketing for tech support. Maybe the next time you get a call from people claiming they do ‘maintenance’ for groups like Microsoft, you might want to report them.

      • thanks Lawrence, I didn’t know she could dispute the charge, I will tell her that. I think it was sometime in the summer, but it’s exactly the scenario–cold calls, lots of background noise, South-Asian accents. sigh. capitalism is evil. makes people do terrible things to make a buck. thanks again for the article, Lawrence, I’ll tell Mom about it.

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