Playing with telemarketers

Apr 27, 2012 By Carolyn B. Tyler

This is not an invitation, but I enjoy telemarketing calls.

By that I mean I enjoy playing around with the telemarketers. I enjoy wasting their time.

I know that it is just some poor slob who is working to put food on the table. But because I am just some poor slob who is usually trying to eat the food off the table when they call, I am not ashamed to be rude.

At one time consumer organizations urged call recipients to insist "Send it to me in writing" when a telemarketer called. Late husband-Bob did that and ended up with a multi-year magazine subscription with the company claiming they had him on tape saying, "Send it to me."

So much for that tactic.

I could just hang up when the pitch starts, but I prefer to have fun.

For years I have played the "No" game.

"Is this Mrs. Tyler speaking?"


"Oh, do I have the wrong number?"


"Then may I speak to Mrs. Tyler?"


And so on through the questions "Do you speak English?" and "Are you an idiot," to which I'd always answer "No."

Lately, however, I have a new game -- I pretend I can't hear them.

I let them get a few seconds into their pitch and then I holler into the phone, "Hello?"

They start again.

Soon thereafter, I "Hello?" them again.

"Can you hear me?"


Then "Hello"

This goes on until the telemarketer says, aside, "Something is wrong with this phone," and hangs up.

I've had fun. I have wasted their time, and I've had fun.

My sport aligned with a telemarketer's spot in a beautiful symphony earlier this week.

The caller pitched, "This is Angela, and I want you to know about a hearing aid demonstration we are giving in your city soon."

I responded with, "Hello?"

She repeated it.

I waited a beat.


Angela was into her pitch then. The harder she tried to tell me about the hearing aid demonstration, the more often I interrupted her with, "Hello?"

Toward the end she was shouting into her phone, "You really need what I am selling ..."


I admit it.

I am easily entertained.

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