16 Dec

Internet, here is my secret weakness.  I’m about to tell you.  Don’t tell my archfoes.


I hate hanging up on people.

I hate it.  Hate.  It.  Hanging up on someone feels like the height of rudeness, especially when they’re just some poor telemarketer trying to do their job.  I find that if you politely tell somebody that you have to go, they usually let you go.

Sometimes they don’t, and then things get ugly.

I got the following call yesterday, which I should have hung up on immediately.  For some reason, though, I didn’t.  It was either because I’m a glutton for punishment, or because I have some kind of brain tumor that prohibits rational thought.  You be the judge.


Me:  “Thank you for calling [Jessica’s Workplace]!  This is Jessica.”

Automated Voice: “You have a call from, your friend in Real Estate!  Please stay on the line.”

Me: “Okay.”

Me: “…hello?”

Him: “Hey, is this [Jessica’s Boss]?”

Me: “No, this is [Jessica’s Boss]’s assistant.  How can I help you?”

Him: “Oh, hey, this is Tyrell from Zillow.”

Me: “Oh.  Hi!”

Him: “I just need you to check up on something for me.”

Me: “Sure.”

Him: “Okay, do you have access to the internet?”

Me: “Yep.”

Him: “I need you to go to-”

Me: “I’m already at Zillow.  New computer!  Pretty speedy.”

Him: “Well, I don’t need you to go to Zillow.”

He gives me a web address, which I type in.  I’m taken to a cheap looking website promising RESULTS!  It’s emblazoned with logos from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.  The whole thing looks like it was manufactured crudely by somebody’s cousin who is ‘super good at web design’.  My cursor starts trending towards the ‘Back’ button.

Me: “What is this?”

Him: “Ma’am, this is money, pure and simple.”

Me: “Oh.  You’re not from Zillow, are you?”

Him: “I never said I was from Zillow.”

Me: “Yes, you did.  You literally said, ‘this is Tyrell from Zillow’.  I remember that.”

Him: “I never said I worked for Zillow.  I found [Jessica’s Boss] through Zillow, and when I looked her up online, I noticed that her website wasn’t at the top of the search engine rankings, and it could be!  Imagine how much business you’re losing right now.  I’d like to guide you through a demonstration.  What is [Jessica’s Boss]’s website?”

Me: “I thought you said you already knew it, and that it wasn’t where it should be in the search engine rankings.”

Him: “Ma’am, do you want to split hairs, or do you want to talk about making money?”

Me: “Actually, I’d like to get off the phone.  Thank you for your call, but we aren’t interested in search engine optimization services right now, and I have other things to attend to.”

Him: “Ma’am, what do you have against money?  Don’t you like making money?”

Me: “I don’t have time to talk about this right now.  Thank you for calling.”

Him: “I think that you don’t have the authority to talk to me about this.  Is that it?  You don’t have the authority to make decisions in your office?”

Me: “I don’t have time.  Thank you for calling.”

Him: “Because it sounds like someone has you on a short leash.  Maybe I should talk to them.  Let me talk to [Jessica’s Boss], and I’ll tell her that you’re passing up opportunities to make money.  Hell, you’re losing money for her.  I think I should call your boss and tell her that.  Unless you’re open to a quick and easy demonstration that will change the way you do business.”

Me: “Wow.  That sounded eerily like a threat.”

Him: “Certainly not, ma’am!  I’m not in this business to threaten people.  I’m in this business to show good hardworking souls like yourself how to make money!  Now let’s get started.”

Me: “No.  I don’t have time for this.  Good luck with the rest of your calls, but you won’t be getting any business with us.  Goodbye.”

Him: “Ma’am, your negativity is frankly astoundin’ me right now.  All I wanna do is show you a couple things, and you won’t let me do it.  That’s all I want.  After that, you’ll know that this is a quality business.”

Me: “Sorry.  I’ve encountered way too many scams that sound just like this.  Thank you.  Goodbye.”

Him: “SCAMS?!  SCAMS?!  You accusin’ me of scammin’ you, lady?  That’s a serious accusation.  I’d be careful throwin’ around accusations like that.  That’s dangerous.  I can assure you this ain’t a scam.”

Me: “Look, dude.  I know you’re just doing your job here.  I don’t want to hang up on you.  I really don’t, but that’s what is about to happen unless you can civilly say goodbye to me.”

Him: “You accuse me of scammin’ you and then you hang up on me?  This is just poor behavior, ma’am, and I think I’m gonna have to call your boss and tell her how I been treated!  Who knows, maybe I was calling to buy a house from you, and then you go and talk to me like that?  You just lost yourself a home sale, ma’am, and I think your boss oughta know about it.”

Me: “Oho, threats again.  Okay, Tyrell.  Got a pen?  I’ll give you her number.  When you get ahold of her, you better talk quick.  She’s not as nice as I am, and she’s real busy.

Him: “Ma’am, I resent you sayin’ this a waste of time.  This is a legitimate demonstration, and if you’d just looked at it, we’d have a deal by now instead of all this arguing.  I bet your boss don’t wanna hear that you wastin’ YOUR time like this, instead of making money!”

Me: “Wait, so you aren’t going to call her?  I’ll give you her number.”

Him: “So, let’s get going here.  You just go ahead and click that button at the top of the page that says ‘Free Trial’. It’s gonna ask you for a credit card number, but that’s okay, it’s not gonna charge you anything.  You with me, ma’am?”

Me: “Not even remotely, Tyrell.”

Him: “It’s really easy.  It’s that big button up top.”

Me: “I’m about to hang up on you, Tyrell.”

Him: “Just says ‘Free Trial!’  You click that, and you on your way to making big bucks for that boss.”

Me: “Thank you for your call, and have a nice day.”

Him: “Ma’am, don’t hang up.  Your boss gonna hear that you’re shuttin’ the door on some big opportunities.”

Me: “Goodbye now!”

Him: “It’s your funeral, ma’am, but when your boss hears-”




Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Uncategorized


10 responses to “telespam

  1. rubybastille

    December 16, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Aw man, I never get calls like that. Half the time it’s someone “checking to make sure the phone service is correct” and the other half, people just hang up. Talking to that guy would sure make my day more interesting.

  2. Marguerite

    December 17, 2010 at 2:48 am

    i know this. this happens to me all the time. i cannot say no to people like that, but i apparently *can* make up outrageous stories instead of saying no, so i don’t hurt their feelings and make them feel bad about their day.

    worst of all is when i try and walk throught he beauty section of a department store and The People in The Aprons approach me. I once got my ears burnt by some guy brandishing hair straighteners and listened to his pitch for ten whole minutes, despite NOT wanting my hair touched by a stranger, not liking hair straighteners AT ALL (being slightly freaked out at my regular salon where i actually KNOW the people touching me and i don’t let them come at me with a hot iron!), and all the while i am making up some story about how i won’t actually buy them right now, but yes, they are really super good, i just have to check with my sister, who’s not actually here at the moment, she’s in scotland, but i’ll call her and i’ll come back and get some for her, and yes, she would love that orange leopard print version…

    it just seems so RUDE to interrupt the pitch, say NO and walk on.

  3. PlantingOaks

    December 17, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Wow, I’ve always wondered what would happen if I didn’t hang up on those automated calls.

    He gave you such a great out at the beginning to:

    The correct answer to ‘what do you have against money?’ is ‘I’m a communist. I’m afraid of money’.

    (If you play the game ‘scribblenauts’, this is true)

  4. Kelly

    December 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Marguerite – I always interrupt and say “I’m sorry for interrupting you, but I don’t want you to waste your time pitching this to me because I’m *really* not interested in buying it.”

    Most people seem OK with that – it’s not really insulting, and I act like I’m just really concerned for *their* time which I think makes them feel good.

    • Jessica

      December 17, 2010 at 1:02 pm

      I’ve heard that in some call centers, telemarketers are literally not allowed to hang up the phone. They HAVE to continue until they either have a sale, or somebody hangs up on them.

      Pretty crummy way to do business, seems like.

    • Marguerite

      December 19, 2010 at 5:06 am

      yeah, i’ve tried that and one of two things usually happens- they act super-offended (i live in London, it’s very unBritish to be direct, which is hilarious!) or else use it as a reason to CONVINCE me tht i should be interested.

      i have, for shame, on occasion pretended to be Foreign and not understand…

  5. Heather

    December 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I pretty rarely answer the phone at work, and fortunately we don’t get a lot of scammers/telemarketers here. I tend to just not pick up on my cell phone rather than trying to deal with them when I get calls like that on my personal number, but usually when I do they hang up. Or tell me that they’re debt collectors looking for so and so. What the what fake debt collectors- no one by that name lives here. The only entertaining calls are when someone calls me and says, “Hi there, thank you for calling, can I ask why you called?” and then I pause and say, noooo, you called me. Click.

  6. Alice

    December 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I worked at the state fair for a summer answering phones and answering questions like, “Hi, so I’m coming to the fair on such and such a date, I’m bringing my daughter, and she likes purple and unicorns and popping bubble wrap and she’s in kindergarten. If my inlaws can make it, they’ll be coming with us, which is great cuz they rarely come to visit and we’ve been going to the fair for years except for when we lived in Peru studying Peruvian moss. Anyway, the reason I’m calling is to ask, will the daily parade take place on the last day of the fair?”

    • Ashley

      December 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm

      Yeah I used to get that when I worked at the customer service desk at Wal-Mart. You have to ask if stuff is broken or not when people return crap because if it is you have to print out this paper. A simple yes or no would suffice. I, however, usually got something like this:
      “yeah well my littlepreciousBobby is goin’ through a “rambunctious” phase and his favorite thing to do is throw things even though his daddy said he’d whoop him if he broke one more window ’cause in this economy you can’t go around buyin’ windows left n’ right so we been tryin’ ta stop him but this here remote that we bought here oh I’d say a couple weeks ago don’t work no more so I’ma thinkin’ Bobby dun threw it (that dern boy) but I’m not sure ’cause I didn’t see him per se but yeah it’s real broke we gotta get offa the couch to turn up the volume on the wrastlin’ show (that dern Bobby) whataya gonna do about these here 24 year olds nowadays? So yeah I gotta switch me out this here re-mote, and I gotta git me a crock pot, underwear, some razors cuz I got me some looong leg hair, you know how it is, and maybe even some chewin’ gum for little Bobby. Can I leave this here and go git that other remote? Ok I’ll see ya.”

  7. supesukauboi

    December 22, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Persistent, wasn’t he? You seemed to hold your own well enough. I’m definitely never that composed and quick-witted on the phone, or in any conversation in general. Even when I made up a fake identity to string along some poor telemarketer, who probably didn’t deserve such treatment, I rarely managed to achieve relevance with my quips.


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