Cablevision Tries To Sell You Phone Service During Funeral

Cablevision tried to telemarket Greg Scoblete phone service during a funeral:

Two days ago I attended a wake. During the wake my cellphone rang…I couldn’t answer the first call, but shortly thereafter it rang again. “Must be important,” I thought, ducking out of the room.

It turned out to be a Cablevision telemarketer trying to rope me into the triple play. Fair enough. I told the rep that I wasn’t interested in the triple play and in any event, I was at a wake.

“I understand that,” he said, “but I’ll have you off the phone in five minutes saving money on your long-distance bills.”

Congratulations, Cablevision, you’ve taken the definition of shameless marketing to a whole new level.

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. renegadebarista says:

    I’ll give the CSR 1 point for balls, but minus several million for being one of the most uncaring pricks on the face of the Earth. What thought process do you have to go through to even justify trying to keep someone on the phone when they tell you that they are at a funeral?

  2. Annath says:

    Classy. Just gotta love salesmen.

  3. NDub says:

    What? It’s not like they were going anywhere… I kid. That shit’s disgusting.

  4. IcarusRisen says:

    You know what? I used to work as a telemarketer. I’d have been much more willing to let people off the line and back to doing something as serious if I hadn’t had 90% of people lying to me about “such and such person died” or isn’t home, etc.

    I got so sick of having people lie to me that I truly stopped caring whether or not they were at a wake, or if the person had actually died, and went ahead with the sales pitch anyway. If people want things like this to stop happening, then stop lying to us and have the balls to ask us to take you off our list and just say no rather than saying “oh, he’s dead.”

  5. nglatt says:

    It’s not like the telemarketer knew that the “victim” was at a wake when he called. Sure, he pushed too hard and that isn’t nice. Bad choice. But who has their cell phone at a wake anyway?

  6. myasir says:

    @nglatt:
    however, after being told that the other party was at a wake, the telemarketer still tried to push the sale. Classy.

  7. redkamel says:

    well icarus if telemarketers just let people hang up when they say they arent interested the FIRST time, people wouldnt make stuff up. I personally stopped waiting for them to let me hang up and just interrupt with a “take me off your list” or I just hang up.

  8. chgoeditor says:

    What kind of person answers the phone during a wake in the first place? He can’t simultaneously slam the telemarketer for being rude and inconsiderate without acknowledging that it’s incredibly rude to be checking phone calls during a wake, and then more so to step out and answer your phone. Listen up, people: It’s not going to kill you (pardon the unfortunate pun) to let a call go to voice mail every once in a while!

  9. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Sounds like someone screwed up by using their cell phone number to get cable service. And on top of that chgoeditor is right when he asks why is someone answering the phone during a wake. Who goes to a wake or a funeral and leaves their cellphone on? This also begs the question why did the consumerist let the consumer who was 100% at fault get on the front page. Now he is going to be mocked and ridiculed.

  10. kalmakazee says:

    This question is slightly off topic.

    Out of curiosity how do you change the font when trying to leave a comment on consumerist?

    Thank you!

  11. lesbiansayswhat says:

    Holy hell I hate the comments more and more here. I keep my phone on for emergencies for personal reasons. Maybe he did? Does it matter? Execute these freaks, Consumerist.

    Also, @IcarusRisen: Screw you. How do you know people aren’t telling the truth..and..does it matter?? You’re trying to sell people stuff they don’t want during their own time..they don’t owe you their personal story as to why they don’t want your scam. Did being in telemarketing make you such a heinous beast or were you just born that way?

  12. MyPetFly says:

    Maybe the telemarketer didn’t know what a wake is. They’re not the brightest bulbs in the carton, otherwise they’d be doing something a bit more rewarding.

  13. @IcarusRisen:

    Funny because I used to work as a telemarketer (americall more specifically) and i wouldn’t be as ignorant as you would probably. Why would you even care if the person lied to you or not. They’re nobody close to you, so it shouldn’t matter. And you have to realize that even though 90% may be lying to you about a person not being there, 90% of telemarketers are just as annoying about how they go about selling things. Prime example is in this article.

  14. Bellor says:

    Turn. Off. The. Damn. Phone.

    Voice mail was invented for a reason.

  15. ZugTheMegasaurus says:

    I swear, everyone should have to work telemarketing at some point in their lives so they stop with this “the telemarketer is an asshole” stuff. Look, two things are at work here on the telemarketer’s end: 1) their manager/supervisor is listening on the line; 2) “I’m at a wake/funeral” is one of those stupid little “101 Funny Lines to Tell Telemarketers” emails that go around. Their job is at stake, and they’ll get fired if they don’t push, even when you use a cute little line like that (or, as in the case of the situation discussed here, when it’s really the issue).

    Besides, not everyone who works telemarketing is a bad person. A lot of them are, I’ll grant you; the sort of people who can’t get a job anywhere else. But there are people like me, who have to work a job to pay for college after breaking both legs in an accident. Hard to find part-time work when you can’t stand or walk, let me tell you.

    Really, if getting a 10-second phone call upsets you to the point that you scream at a telemarketer, [i]you’re[/i] the one with the problem. Just politely say, “I’m not interested, please put me on your Do-Not-Call list.” Make sure they heard you and hang up. Is that really so difficult?

  16. badgeman46 says:

    Reminds me of AOL calling me trying to sell me phone service the day I had oral surgery. I told them I couldnt talk because of it, and please go away. “Oh, WE will do the talking then.”

  17. Pasketti says:

    @ZugTheMegasaurus: Is that really so difficult?

    Yes, when the telemarketer won’t shut up long enough for you to get a word in edgewise, it is.

    And it’s not just one 10-second phone call. It’s multiple 10-second phone calls, in a death-of-a-thousand-cuts-style assault on my free time.

    Clue: The telemarketer’s poor job choice is NOT MY PROBLEM.

  18. JohnMc says:

    I agree with Bellor. The person who was really the rudest person in the room was the poster NOT the telemarketer. The idea of a wake is to pay respects [get it!!] to the deceased. If you wish to honor that person then it requires you disengage your selfabsorption and turn off the phone BEFORE you even walk in the room.

  19. ViperBorg says:

    @Bellor: You actually use VoiceMail? I have it NOT record messages, and I have a nice little message that says “better luck next time!”

    Of course, my work voice mail is a little different. (And I’m thankful my employer has a sense of humor)

    “You’ve reached -insert my name here-, I’m not available, leave a message and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. If you’re calling for tech support, and it’s after 2 AM, it better be on fire.”

  20. richcreamerybutter says:

    Somehow I just don’t buy the idea that someone calling your private number to sell products or services has the right to request ANYTHING of its targets, you know?

    I can’t remember if I left my phone on at my last wake (I think it was on vibrate, and maybe it was for this guy too), but there are many reasons why one might have to do so that doesn’t involve being an asshole.

  21. Shadowman615 says:

    @IcarusRisen: I am under no obligation to be truthful or even courteous to telemarketers. If you don’t like it, you can get the hell off of *my* phone.

  22. BugMeNot2 says:

    I’m with the people saying, “Why were you answering your phone at a wake?” When I attend a funeral, visitation, or anything like that, I actually leave my phone in the car.
    Also, if I were a telemarketer, and I called someone who then answered, and told me they were at a funeral, I would think they were lying just to blow me off and probably start the hard-sell (well, _I_ probably wouldn’t, as I’m no good at sales, one of the reasons I’ve never done and never would do TM.)
    Also, what if the TM didn’t understand him? If he said, “I’m at a wake.” It would be very easy to mistake that as “I’m not awake.” if the connection was spotty.
    The TM, while a bit stubborn didn’t really do anything reprehensible. The OP, however, is quite boorish.

  23. @Bellor: @IcarusRisen:

    I completely agree, it’s pretty disrespectful. In fact, I’ll go so far as to concede IcarusRisen’s point and say that the telemarketer was just doing his job, whereas Greg is too selfish to turn off his cellphone for a couple minutes.

    I’m being harsh but people who want to pretend like there are all these life and death reasons why they need their cell phone on at all times really get on my nerves; you wonder how anyone did business before the cellphone existed.

  24. Gev says:

    @MyPetFly: I was also thinking that perhaps the telemarketer had no idea what a wake was. It’s also entirely possible that after hearing objection after objection that the telemarketer wasn’t actually listening to what this guy was saying.

    To the people giving the guy a ration of shit about answering his phone: I would be tempted to answer my phone if it started ringing again after I had sent the first call to voicemail. Emergencies can and do arise and generally don’t wait for some convenient time.

  25. The Count of Monte Fisto says:

    @Pasketti: Does your phone not allow you to hang up before the other person?

  26. shad0ws says:

    @Bellor: +1. … actually, +100.

    a telemarketer “interrupting” a wake is not a bit more disrespectful than answering your phone at said wake. especially because, if you hadn’t picked up, the telemarketer *couldn’t* have interrupted to begin with.

  27. Daniel-Bham says:

    This is why the Do Not Call list was invented. I enjoy it… though I did used to enjoy messing with telemarketers. “Hey, do you guys have any midget porn in your mag subscriptions?” “Hey, I’m banging my girlfriend right now – wanna listen?” “Hey – if I switch to your internet service can I download and pirate movies without consequence?”

    I’m sure it brightened up their day at least.

  28. Peeved Guy says:

    You know y’all need to give this guy a break. How do you all know that his wife is not at home, 9-months pregnant on bed rest and he is at a relatives wake.

    The bit of criticism I have for this guy is actually offering some sort of explanation to the telemarketer. Just hang the hell up on ‘em.

  29. NotATool says:

    @IcarusRisen: Maybe they’ve told the last 5 telemarketers from your company to take them off your list and got lied to about that 5 times, so they have to resort to something more drastic to get the telemarketers to LISTEN???

  30. NotATool says:

    @ZugTheMegasaurus: Just politely say, “I’m not interested, please put me on your Do-Not-Call list.” Make sure they heard you and hang up. Is that really so difficult?

    Yes, it is. 95% of the time, the telemarketers ignore your request to be put on the DNC list and call you back anyway.

  31. RandomHookup says:

    He would have gotten a better response if he had said he was at a funeral. “Wake” isn’t necessarily a universal US term (viewing and visitation are also common), but saying you are at a funeral is pretty to the point. At least you didn’t tell him you were sitting shiva.

  32. chanelrs says:

    I don’t mind telemarketers. I hate bill collectors that are mean. What makes it worse is that someone that owes all this money gave them a fake # which is mine and I have to deal with it. grrrr. But telemarketers aren’t bad people they are trying to make money just like everyone else. Some work on commission so they try to do what they can. At least they are working and not trying to live off our tax dollars.

  33. ChuckECheese says:

    @richcreamerybutter: Why have your phone on at a funeral? Because you’re a physician on call? Armageddon Squad? There are no good reasons to have your phone on at a funeral, or in church, or at the movies, or even in a restaurant. Interesting how you didn’t come up with any examples to support your point.

    If he were expecting an essential call, he would most likely know the number, like the Armageddon Squad or his delivering wife. He took a call from a mystery number. This is somebody who likes taking phone calls because it makes him feel good–ooh, somebody must really need me. I respectfully beg Miss Manners to give all you phone-whores the smackdown.

    @kalmakazee: You can make some changes to your post using what are called HTML tags or HTML formatting. Google it–it’s quite easy to do. Different sites allow different things. I don’t really know what the rules is here on Consumerist.

  34. jchennav says:

    In this cases, both people are in the wrong. Greg Scoblete is wrong for answering a phone call during a funeral. Unless it’s a real emergency where lives are at stake, things can wait a few hours. However, the telemarketer is always wrong ;-).

  35. sirwired says:

    @ZugTheMegasaurus: I personally don’t give a crap that the telemarketer on the other end can lose their job for not being pushy and annoying the heck out of me. I didn’t ask for the call, I didn’t want the call, I’m not your customer, I’ll never be your customer, and I am getting my time wasted.

    While I’ve never yelled at a telemarketer (except one place that called me three times in two hours after my requesting they take me off the list the first time), forgive me if I am a bit cranky for having my life interrupted to listen to your sales pitch.

    They way I look at it, the more rude I am to the telemarketer, the faster they’ll quit, and the higher the costs of telemarketing go (turnover is expensive). What else can I do? I’m already not buying whatever it is you are selling.

    The calls that piss me off the most are the fake charities. Don’t even get me started on the “Police Protection Fund.” If THOSE crooks ever call me again, I’ll be unleashing language not printable even in the Consumerist.

    SirWired

  36. Blackneto says:

    Hate to play blame the consumer, but why answer in that situation in the first place. And once it’s found out who it was, why not just hang up?

    I think i’m just rude.
    Once I find out its a marketer on the other side of the line, i just hang up.
    I don’t bother with begging and pleading with them to let me go.
    It’s a little rude, but then I didn’t asked to be put on their list.
    Fortunately I can set my cell not to ring if the person isn’t in my phonebook or no caller id. this helps me to avoid them.

  37. picardia says:

    People answer the phone during a wake because there are family and friends in from out of town who may need directions or other information. Your aunt wants to know what she can bring. Somebody needs to pick up your grandfather. So on and so forth. There are plenty of good reasons.

    This is another one of those where the people who blame the consumer for THIS don’t just anger me but sicken me.

  38. @IcarusRisen: You know what? Some people hate telemarketers so much, they just don’t care. Flaming hapless CSRs at AT&T is one thing, but when they call you, usually when you’re actually doing something you’d rather not stop doing just to listen to you read your sales script, that’s another. As far as I’m concerned, the whole industry and everyone in it can DIAF, and if I drive at least one of them into alcoholism with my abuse, I’ve done my job. There are lots of other things you can do for ten bucks an hour that do not involve pestering me during the dinner hour.

  39. Furthermore, if you must give to charity, give cash, and for God’s sake, don’t give them your personal info. They will most assuredly sell that info to every other nonprofit on the planet, and you will never be rid of them. Nonprofits and political campaigns are exempt from the federal Do Not Call law.

    As for political campaigns, give ten bucks to the DNC (for example), and you can look forward to years of multiple evening calls every night AND mailboxes stuffed with junk mail (more dead trees, anyone?) begging you for more money. You can’t do for them what you do for ordinary charities because the FEC insists on candidates collecting your info. Something about enforcing campaign finance limits. Sorry, DailyKos, no more netroots support from me. I’ve had enough.

  40. jeff303 says:

    @jchennav: How are you to know whether it’s a life or death situation without answering the phone? Genuinely curious.

  41. nidolke says:

    @IcarusRisen: Aren’t you a caring individual.

  42. sublicon says:

    Man, the attitudes here are amazing.

    As IcarusRisen and ZugTheMegasaurus display, the idea is lost on most people here that telemarketers have a job to do. You’re not special when they call you, you’re not important, you’re just another person on a long list of potential hang ups.

    People forget that these individuals have a job to do, and that’s to sell. Since it’s sort of a broad audience, the call is unsolicited, the success rate is sort of low but you run into a lot of people who basically lie to get you off the phone. If they don’t hang up, then you have the license to continue talking. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t want the product, hang up!

    @The Marionette, if you were a telemarketer and weren’t actually trying to actively sell what you were being paid to sell, then you weren’t doing your job. And if you are happy with being an nothing more than order-taker, then that’s up to you. It’s not about insensitivity, it’s about making money so you can eat.

    I know this may be too much for some of the arrogant consumers here to comprehend. Contrary to popular belief, Cablevision telemarketers aren’t there to serve you, they are there to sell you. Boom, done. Enjoy your Skinemax. NEEXT!

  43. Leiterfluid says:

    Is it even legal for telemarketers to call cell phones?

    According to this article, it’s not.
    [urbanlegends.about.com]

    From the article “Per FCC regulations, telemarketers are already prohibited from calling cell phone numbers using automated dialers, which are standard in the industry.”

  44. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Intangible_360: @sublicon: I hear the, “they are just doing their job” argument often when defending telemarketers.

    If I suddenly acquired a billion dollars and decided to pay people to defecate on front porches, would you also argue they are “just doing their job?” Because personally I find no difference between the two. They are both disgustingly annoying, and take up my valuable time trying to shoo them away (even if it is just a hang up; I still didn’t ASK to be called).

    When I want to be sold a product or service, I’ll let you know.

    @ChuckECheese: you need about 10 Klonopins.

  45. sibertater says:

    @IcarusRisen: But a telemarketer? This was better than working at Wal-Mart, how?

    Also? I think this photo is classless.

  46. lusnia says:

    @sibertater: I have seen people hire professional photographers for a funeral.

    It took me 10 minutes of arguing to cancel my dad’s Cox Cable DVR/phone install when he died.

  47. evilhapposai says:

    Hate to be the typical “blame the consumer” type but here in Ohio I have NEVER heard of the word “wake” being used as a funeral term before this article. Not in tele-sales but I do call nationwide where I work everyday and if he had said he was at a wake I still would have continued with my call or called in back in a few minutes thinking he ment “I am not awake” as well. Just like the Beaners coffee story posted a few weeks ago don’t assume that just because someone made a buzz word popular in some region of the country don’t assume that it means the same thing nationwide.

  48. Rhyss says:

    That’s funny because the only “Wake” I’ve every been to was my Grandfather’s in . . . you guessed it – Ohio.

  49. evilhapposai says:

    @Rhyss: Maybe wake is only a certain religious term? Like Catholic, Jewish, or something else only? I was raised and have only ever been Protestant and we just call them funerals.

  50. ChuckECheese says:

    @picardia: After-wake casserole coordination is a good reason to answer the phone during a wake. I concede.

  51. ChuckECheese says:

    @Rhyss: I’ve been to wakes in southern Indiana, which isn’t far from Ohio. I had to do a bit of research, but wakes appear to be mainly an Irish Catholic thing. The term is English, and probably the tradition has sort of seeped into broader U.S. culture (the relatives whose wakes I attended were not Irish but German).

  52. evilhapposai says:

    Wiki has a post on wakes too, just browsed over it quickly but mentions mostly Irish Catholic practices though a couple other countries are mentioned as well.

    Oh, and for those saying just hang up DONT!!! Just politely/angrily say “not interested” or “no thank-you” I make follow up calls for company services and if you hang up it call be a disconnection, wrong number, etc and that number WILL BE CALLED BACK. But remember Mrs. Reagan’s advice and “Just say No” and you’ll be deleted from the system and never called again (at least from the firm I work at).

  53. evilhapposai says:

    ^ COULD be a disconnection, sorry put wrong word in. Sigh lack of sleep…. calling so many people at dinner time in all time zones :(

  54. RedSonSuperDave says:

    @ZugTheMegasaurus: I swear, everyone should have to work telemarketing at some point in their lives so they stop with this “the telemarketer is an asshole” stuff

    No. If you work as a telemarketer, BY DEFINITION YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE. I have ZERO sympathy for telemarketers. Should everybody have to push heroin to schoolkids once in their life just so they can understand the problems facing underprivileged drug dealers in today’s society?

    Get a REAL job that actually contributes something to society. Work in data entry or get a job as a dispatcher or something. Telemarketers are the scum of the earth. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it moral. Remember, “slave auctioneer” was once a respected job in America, it was still a scummy thing to do.

  55. KJones says:

    Maybe this is too difficult for you to grasp, but here goes:

    @ZugTheMegasaurus: Their job is at stake, and they’ll get fired if they don’t push, even when you use a cute little line like that (or, as in the case of the situation discussed here, when it’s really the issue).

    Phone sellers do not have a right to call. Unrequested phone calls deserve the same response as the door to door salesmen who ignore the “No soliciting” sign I have.

    Or would you suggest I put a “No soliciting” sign on my phone inside my house and hope the telemarketer can see it through the wire? Just because I can’t put up a sign on my phone does not mean they have a right to call.

    @ZugTheMegasaurus: Besides, not everyone who works telemarketing is a bad person.

    When you take part in something immoral, you’re part of that immorality. People who work for telemarketing companies can not claim to be ethical any more than a charity that takes money from drug dealers or thieves.

    If they were “good people”, they wouldn’t be working as telemarketers. McDonald’s pays the same wages and one can still go home with a clear conscience.

    @ZugTheMegasaurus: Just politely say, “I’m not interested, please put me on your Do-Not-Call list.” Make sure they heard you and hang up. Is that really so difficult?

    And what do you recommend when I or others politely say “Do Not Call List”, and the telemarketer and the company say “Fuck you, I have a right to call you”?

    Telemarketers are on par ethically with mafia thugs who ask for protection money. They just do it without violence.

  56. Kiamat says:

    Re: Leaving the cellphone on during a wake

    In order to help the short sighted people out there who can’t imagine a legitimate reason to leave one’s cellphone on during a wake, let’s start a list.

    1. Could be a parent who left children with a babysitter
    2. Could be a Dr/nurse who is on call
    3. Could be the POC for out of towners trying to get to the service

    …your turn…