Unsolicited Phone Calls: Wasting Their Time

Danilo writes:

My fianc
e worked as a telemarketer for awhile, and she
s good people, so I feel bad about being rude to callcenter people these days.

However, have you ever gotten these unsolicited phone calls where they actually have the nerve to use an automated recording to call you up and then ask you to wait upwards of 60 seconds for a live person to finally show up and make their intentions known? I
ve been getting this a bit on my cell number lately. Since I imagine the
Wait for a representative, please
business to be a cost-saving measure, I delight in waiting for the representative to show up on the line and start talking. I respond in a stilted tone meant to simulate customer service voice prompt hell, requesting politely that my new telemarketer friend state the name of the individual they wish to reach. Of course, my off-the-cuff prompts never correctly interpret their intentions.

Please wait while I transfer you to fish canning.

Even better, by their behavior, it is clear they genuinely believe they are dealing with a computer. The frustrations thus vented by these folks is delightful, but even more rewarding is the minute
s revenge I exact upon the inconsiderate company
s payroll.


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  1. Smoking Pope says:

    I did a very brief stint in that industry, and wasted time is what telemarketers all fear. So alternate buying signs (“Wow, how much?”) with irrational arugments (“Oh no, I never buy anything made of molecules”). Not only is it tremendous fun, but I found that eventually the number of telemarketing calls I got dwindled quite a bit.

  2. gunnk says:

    By all means, if you have the opportunity KEEP THEM ON THE LINE.

    Phone solicitations count on the fact that most people that aren’t good targets for their pitch hang up FAST. The fact that they can rapidly determine who is likely to buy and who isn’t is what makes phone solicitiation viable.

    If every consumer kept these guys on the line as long as possible we’d all stop getting calls because no one could make money doing it. I suspect that even a small percentage of people using this tactic could really dent their profit margins. You don’t need to lie — just let them make their whole pitch.

    I find they usually have about three paragraphs of ad copy and then they’ll hang up on YOU.

  3. Smoking Pope says:

    @gunnk: You’ve hit it on the head. In an industry that says “The more you call, the more you sell”, a 10% increase in wise asses who take up lots of time is a 10% reduction in sales.

    So use every buying sign you can think of, mix in every objection you can think of (they have scripts for all of them), and throw in some random lunacy to keep yourself entertained. Telemarketing calls are greatly anticipated at my house. It’s great entertainment, and it’s free.

  4. Archetypal says:


    It’s interesting how little leeway there is in this, especially with autodialers. I think they’re relying on consumers not knowing what is okay or not.