We have a number of hotly contested primary races going on in Texas, and my phone won't stop ringing. As a politics junkie, I suppose I ought to appreciate it, but I hate the noise -- especially the phone, even though I've almost completely squelched the ringer. I'm tired of seeing "Unknown Name" and "Wireless Caller" on the caller ID, and I'm tired of hearing my own voice on the answering machine. Between my cell phone and land line I've made a dozen complaints to the Do Not Call registry. The election is a week from tomorrow. I hope things will quiet down then.
Tonight I got the second call in 3 days from a company that at least lets its name come up on caller ID. It turned out to be someone trying to get a contribution to a nonprofit group I actually support, which I'd rather not name. To help me let go of my anger, I often send complaints by email or letter. Here's what I wrote tonight:
Tonight I got the second phone call since February 22 from SD&A Teleservice, at 310-693-2715. For a switch, I answered the call instead of ignoring it. After the irritating delay, caused by the robot dialer taking time to realize a real person is on the phone, it connected me with what I think was another real person (though I could believe he was a zombie from how he spoke). He started out thanking me for my past contributions to the [nonprofit organization]. I cut him off, saying to take me off the calling list. I assume he was going to launch a spiel asking for more money.I sometimes think that if we can ever abolish war, telemarketing should be next on the list. Or maybe we should start by abolishing telemarketing, and work up.
You don’t endear your organization to supporters by hiring telemarketers to hustle them. I resent the interruption, the noise the phone makes, and the thought that you’ve wasted some of my last contribution hiring some lost soul to pester me for more.
I am also opposed to telemarketing, even for charities and non-profit organizations, because of what I see as the psychological effects on the people on both ends of the conversation. Telemarketing trades on the general unwillingness of the targets to be impolite. I don’t like being impolite to people, even people whom I don’t know calling me on the phone. But I used to be much more hesitant to be impolite to telemarketers. I now get a bit of nasty satisfaction out of telling them to take me off the calling list and hanging up quickly – and I don’t like that change in my own personality.
The poor schmoe who spoke to me didn’t sound as if his soul was thriving on bothering people, either. I’ve known people who needed work and tried a telemarketing job, only to quit within the first week. They realized they were trading on other people’s unwillingness to be impolite, and couldn’t stand it. I believe the majority of people who take a telemarketing job promptly quit. And the ones who aren’t at all bothered by taking advantage of someone else’s good manners are worse. I consider them sociopaths, and don’t want to be on the phone with them at all. You are welcome to continue sending me appeals at my e-mail address above. I don’t worry about the souls of the electrons you’ll be pushing around.
Golda Meir once said the one thing she could not forgive the Arabs for was “making our sons kill their sons”. She was referring to the dehumanizing effect of war. In civilian life, I think sending people out to do telemarketing is one of the most dehumanizing things you can legally do. Stop doing it, and don’t EVER use my money to do it.