How To: Avoid Pesky Phone Survey People

F.M.I. (Former Meal Interrupter) used to work at one of “the largest phone survey companies in the country,” and would like to share with our readers the best technique for assuring that the survey people will stop calling you. Asking them to stop calling doesn’t cut it. Saying “no” just gets you listed as a “soft refusal” and will result in more call backs.

According to F.M.I. saying the words, “If you ever call me again, I’m going to contact my lawyer.” Should get you blacklisted not just from the survey they’ve been calling you about, but their entire system. Read all the delicious details inside.

F.M.I. writes:

I worked for one of the largest phone survey companies in the country, and I thought I’d share some tips on how to avoid getting those pesky calls in the middle of dinner.

Survey firms don’t have to abide by the do not call list, since they’re not selling anything, so getting them to leave you alone can be a bit of a pain. Simply telling them “No thanks” generally won’t cut it.

When we call, we have a few tools at our disposal: we can start the survey, set up a callback time, mark the call as a “soft refusal” or a “hard refusal”. Most of the time, we don’t count the call as a refusal unless we are talking to the person that qualifies for the survey, usually a specific person given to us by the company we’re calling for or a person who meets a certain criteria (such as the female with the most recent birthday).

If you aren’t the person who qualifies, you just hang up, or give some excuse to why you can’t do it, you’re scheduled for a callback. The general rule for most surveys is 7 or 8 calls before we stop bugging you. So if you just hang up every time we ask you to do a survey, expect to hear from us several more times.

If you are the qualified person and say “no”, we mark that as a “soft” refusal. Soft refusals are called back again a few days later. After 2 soft refusals, you generally won’t get called again on that survey. If you get very angry or start cursing, you get marked as a “hard” refusal and aren’t called again for that survey.

However, any of those three methods will just get you off of our list for that particular survey. Even asking us to put you on our “do not call list” will just remove you from that survey. The only surefire way to get off our lists forever is say something along the lines of “If you ever call me again, I’m going to contact my lawyer”. You’ll get an apology and be blacklisted from all of our systems. Of course, you’ll have to do it with each company that calls you, but it should help make dinnertime a bit more peaceful.

-Former Meal Interrupter

We assume this will work better than Dad’s method of screaming “Aluminum Siding M—–f—–!!” and slamming the phone down, but will certainly be less hilarious.—MEGHANN MARCO



Edit Your Comment

  1. Bay State Darren says:

    This sounds like me trying to land dates.

  2. SaveMeJeebus says:

    I just tell my three-year old that it is Nemo or Lightning McQueen on the phone. He tells them about his dumptruck, puppy, and apple juice. It is especially amusing when he is done talking to them and the survey/telemarketer is still on the line.

  3. Lewis says:

    Just put do-not-disturb on your phone at dinner time. Vonage now offers it, as do most of the POTS carriers and other VOIP carriers.

  4. Toof_75_75 says:

    As soon as I read “Aluminum Siding M—–f—–!!” I just burst out laughing at the thought of watching someone say that to some telemarketer or phone survey person. I admit, I might like your Dad’s approach better, even if it is less effective.

  5. Swifty says:

    At least for the media surveys and some of the political ones, telling them that I work at / own an ad agency usually results in a very quick “Sorry, you’re ineligible. Goodbye!”

  6. kenposan says:

    I just hang up. They call again, I hang up. No big deal. But I do like the idea of putting a toddler on the phone, maybe I’ll try that next time.

  7. Buran says:

    People like you are why I don’t have a landline anymore. I don’t care about your “survey”. I don’t care how much you get paid to be an intrusive jerk. You’re not getting my phone number because it’s unlisted … and it’s staying that way.

  8. amed01 says:

    Mmmm…that stuffing sure looks tasty!

  9. Meghann, your dad rocks. :)

  10. kweee says:

    “If you ever call me again, I’m going to contact my lawyer” also works great on psychotic ex-girlfriends.

  11. rmz says:

    “Sure, I’ll take your survey, but only if you’ll take my survey first.”

  12. acambras says:

    Makes me want to have Meghann’s dad over for dinner so he can answer the phone. It would be like dinner theatre — very entertaining.

  13. Kornkob says:

    @rmz: I like this— let’s compose the survey for them.

    please answer with one of the following: a) rubber b) silk c) duct tape d) nothing e) all of the above but only above the waist

    Question 1: What is your favorite flavor?

  14. MamaMoney says:

    My mother used to keep a whistle by the phone that she’d blow into the receiver!

  15. Trai_Dep says:

    I start discussing the finer points of anal rape, prison sex, extreme sexual toys, veering quickly into ethical questions associated with scatophelia (e.g., “if a meat-eater (expletive) into a vegetarian’s mouth, is it okay? What if they only chew but spit it out?”), using the same Buy-In techniques they try using on hapless consumers so they have to express their opinions and experiences on the matter.

    Unless mom’s at the table. Then I hang up muttering, “Do Not Call List. Thanks.”

  16. Starfury says:

    If the phone rings at dinner time we don’t answer and let the machine pick it up.

    Things I’ve done to telemarketers/survey people:

    1. Hang up (most common response)
    2. Tell them the person they’re asking for died.
    3. Give phone to one of the kids
    4. (most fun) Ask them to hold on, put phone down by PC speaker and continue playing my game with the voulume up.
    5. Put the phone down and walk away until it makes the “hang me up dumba$$” noise.

  17. As a political pollster who puts a lot of work into the field using call centers, I’d say this advice is fairly useless as a long-term strategy of avoiding being called for political surveys, which are not subject to the Do Not Call list.

    The company that is conducting the survey through the call center generally supplies the call center with a list of numbers (householded in political work) or employs Random Digit Dialing. Each survey is a “different” list of numbers for the call center, even if they just called you last week for a different survey.

    If you “soft refuse” (using the above term), the call center works down the list… but if they aren’t getting the number of completes they need, they will try calling back (in an order that usually goes from something like answering machines, busy, etc, down to refused).

    If you participate in a survey you likely will not be marked as someone to go back to over and over again, so don’t worry so much about that. Often times its really worth participating, especially in something like an Aldermanic campaign poll or a poll for some other race like Mayor. Politicians use these polls to figure out what YOU are concerned about and to figure out what solutions YOU would like to see implemented.

    If its dinner time, refuse or ask them to call back at a better time. If they need you, they’ll call back then. At least at my call center, you can always ask them not to call back for a particular survey and they will not call you back.

  18. aparsons says:

    Just keep asking them to talk dirty to you, over and over.

  19. AcidReign says:

    …..I’ve got nosy inlaws. No way in hell I want my children talking to them on the phone, unsupervised! My solution to mealtime solicitors is caller ID/answering machine. If my family thinks that screening calls makes me an insufferable boor, too bad.

    …..I only manage about three family dinners a week with everyone present, and someone’s going to have to be dying on the phone for me to allow an interruption!

  20. IconoclasticFlow says:

    My favorite technique for sales calls is to attempt to sell them something instead; when we moved last, I tried to convince one rep to buy a couch we didn’t want to lug. Might not get you removed from the list, but I say that if they’re going to interrupt my life then at least one of us should enjoy the experience.

    Of course, there’s always Calvin’s technique for not taking messages as well – pop a balloon and yell that you’ve been shot.

  21. otothehout says:

    I hate telemarketers as much as the next guy, but survey people are a bit different.

    They’re gathering information for a company or government agency. This information helps economists understand the economy or helps companies create better products.

    So I’m cool answering their questions most of the time. I figure somebody’s got to do it, cause from the looks of things nobody else does :)

  22. GirlGoneRiled says:

    Once I stopped thinking of the phone as a summoning device my problems in this area just melted away. My phone is only turned on when I need it to be on or the couple times a day when I check my messages. 24/7 connectivity and reachability is just not necessary for the vast majority of people

  23. ikimashokie says:

    There is the telemarketer’s survey… I don’t know where it is on the internet, though.

  24. Paul D says:

    My old roommate would listen to the shpiel for a minute, then say “well, lemme ask YOU something…do you know who played 2nd base for the Padres in 1978? No? Then I don’t wanna buy anything from you!”

    It was beautiful.

    This is also the same guy who, when the original “singing Billy bass” thing came out, he called the number at 3am and said “are you guys selling many of these things? ‘Cause I gotta say, it’s the stupidest f*cking product I’ve ever seen.”

  25. Holleh says:

    @IconoclasticFlow: Now all you need to do is keep a balloon near the phone at all times.
    (Which, in my experience with my four little sisters, is actually more likely to happen than you think. :] )

  26. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I always ask them how much they’re going to pay me for my time answering their questions. When they tell me nothing, I say that they’re getting paid to ask the questions, so I should be getting paid to answer them. That always causes a pause till their next response of asking me again. Then I start swearing at them. I start with “then fuck off!” I was amazed at one that listened to me call her every word known to get you an FCC fine if it was a radio station for almost 10 minutes. Then she hung up.
    Here’s the best part, she claimed the survey was for the US government.

  27. AndyMan1 says:

    If you don’t want to be quite so forceful as threatening a lawsuit, a simple “No thank you. Please remove me from your call list” will also work.

    They will only remove your name if you explicitly ask them to in some fashion.

  28. othium says:

    My brother made a copy of this device:

    The calls he recorded are really funny. Almost makes me wish I had a land line, it doesn’t. Neat little invention though.

  29. capturedshadow says:

    “I’m so glad you called, I need someone to tell me how to get blood out of a carpet, I mean a whole lot of blood”

    Back in the pre no call list days my amoral pal figured that hanging up was only shifting the problem to someone else. He would always say, “wait, there is someone at the door, I will be right back.” Then put the phone down. One marketer actually waited 15 minutes before he gave up.

  30. MrEleganza says:

    You guys who think of ways to be the biggest a-holes as possible to the minimum wage pollsters and telemarketing shlubs are real heroes. Yeah, I know…they should get other minimum wage jobs like McDonalds before taking work that threatens they holy sanctity of dinnertime for the two seconds as it takes you to hang up the phone. Unprincipled MFers!

    Anyway, my own polling days matches Sicilian’s experiences exactly and the original poster’s, not at all. The OP’s experience sound much more there must be some fundraising or telemarketing involved.

    Granted, I stopped abut 7-8 years ago, but there were two types of surveys…one where we were given your name for something you signed up for, and random-generated # surveys. In either case, a refusal, whether hard or soft, was the end of it. There was no comission involved so why would we want to call someone back who didn’t want to participate? For the second type, it didn’t matter how eagerly you participated or nastily you refused, you’re not getting called again. How useful or telling is a poll where you only call the same people over and over? Polling that unscientifically makes me doubt the OP’s veracity to an extent, given that he says he worked for “one of the biggest.”

    Finally, Greasy Thumb, let me ask you a question. Let’s say you are eating dinner and you’re interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s a neighbor you vaguely recognize.He asks if you have a spare pen.

    Do you demand he pay you for it, and when he doesn’t, tell him to get lost and cuss him out? Why not? He’s wasting more of your time than the pollster you won’t just hang up on.

    No one is pretending, least of all the shlub calling, that you taking the time to do it is anything less then a gracious favor. You’re not as clever as you think you are.

  31. Moosehawk says:

    @MrEleganza: Because you have to live next to the neighbor. You’ll eventually see him again, whether you know him or not. Chances are you’ll never talk to the telemarketer again in your life.

    Besides, the reason for messing with telemarketers isn’t necessarily to piss them off. It’s because it’s funny. Maybe you should get a sense of humor.

  32. hushed says:

    We put on a cassette tape about the ten commandments.

  33. Bay State Darren says:

    @capturedshadow: I like that one. +10 to your buddy.

  34. eightfifteen says:

    I always ask the caller what they are wearing, then continue to do fake phone sex. That usually gets them off the line pretty quickly.

  35. revmatty says:


    I’ve been trying to make that very point for years. My wife used to just pick up the phone and answer no matter what. We have caller id. You know it’s not anyone you want to talk to. Why answer? Hell, I don’t answer the phone a lot of the time just because I don’t feel like talking to anyone. I even do it at work.

  36. kingoman says:

    > “If you ever call me again, I’m going to contact my lawyer” also works
    > great on psychotic ex-girlfriends.

    If that works, she’s not really a psycho. ;-)

    I don’t understand why people answer calls they don’t know. I haven’t talked to a survey taker or any other kind of telemarketer in YEARS. They call back but eventually give up. Anybody who has any legitimate reason to talk to me will leave a message. Anybody who refuses to leave a message doesn’t get to talk to me.

  37. VG10 says:

    i tell charter they are being recorded, do not call me, send me a copy of the company’s do not call policy and tell them i am going to sue them, and i still get 1 call from charter at 7pm everyfreaking day. >:

  38. aweshucks45 says:

    I also worked for one of the largest Market Research Companies in the country, and believe me,sometimes these tactics dont work either. My job was as a “refusal converter” and I actually called people who had refused up to 50 times, people who had threatened to sue, and just really did not want to hear from us again. Some companies in this business have no integrity at all.

  39. Nytmare says:

    Gee MrEleganza, if I was rude to my neighbor, he wouldn’t come back. How come you can’t take the same hint?

  40. Kornkob says:

    @VG10: Here’s a tip: don’t make empty threats.

  41. Cris says:

    Back when I had time on my hands, I used to use the telemarketer counterscript and the selling something back routine. Now that I ignore pretty much anyone’s call, I find I’m never bothered – just wipe the answering machine’s memory every 30 days or so when someone complains it’s full. Come to think of it, I don’t even know why we have it turned on. Anyone who I’d return a call to has my cell phone number anyway.

    My mom used to keep a whistle next to the phone and blow it as loud as she could. That usually ended the phone call pretty quick.

    I love the toddler idea. What great entertainment! “Here honey, it’s the Genie from Aladdin. He wants to know what to get you for your birthday. Why don’t you get your list?”

    And yeah, I’m a shlub. I don’t care. Telemarketers are like ticks – I’m sure God or nature intended that they serve some purpose, but darned if I can figure out what it is.

  42. humphrmi says:

    I finally found a great solution to this. I don’t answer the phone at dinner time. Also, nobody important uses landlines any more, so I pretty much don’t answer my landline, ever. If they’re important, they’ll call my mobile. Otherwise, they’re in a perpetual bit bucket.

    Also, AT&T Illinois’ “Privacy Manager” ensures that anyone who’s phone number cannot be resolved to a real name gets sent into a recorded hell.

  43. joopiter says:

    @GirlGoneRiled: Thank you! I swear people have a Pavlovian response to the phone ringing. It’s ringing to alert you someone is calling, not to make you drop everything you’re doing so you can run and answer it. If you’re busy, you’re busy. If you don’t feel like answering the phone, don’t. Let voicemail pick it up. If the sound of ringing disturbs your dinner, shut the ringer off. It’s really rather easy.

  44. Kornkob says:

    Just wish there was some way to make my cell phone (and the wifey’s) ring my land line phones when I was at home. I’ve got land line phoens all ove rhte house but like to leave my cell on the ‘to go’ table when I come into the house.

  45. Elvisisdead says:

    For the record, the pollster pitch is pure crap. As a former statistician for the Census Bureau, I can tell you that most polls aren’t even close to representative.

    My wife worked on Capitol Hill for around 6 years, and I can tell you that politicians could give a damn about polling results. They don’t want to know what you care about. They might possibly use them to guide their talking points so that they can feign interest in a popular topic, but they don’t actually care.

    In addition to that, a majority of political polls and surveys aren’t neutrally worded and can’t even come close to scientifically proving that the instruments that they use are free from bias. it takes entirely too much time and $$$ to produce a valid survey instrument for them to undertake the effort.

    Just remember, why are they poling you? They want something. A response that they can aggregate and then sell. They’ll give the summary stats away, but then sell the full results, or they have to his a response # to get paid. By completing the survey, you allow them to continue to exist.

    Call me all you want, but I’ll never feed the animals and give a response that gets credited to a production total. My wife hates it, but I’ll take the survey and refuse any question. It’s better than a non-response because it jacks up the data to have a response with all refusals.

    I will, however, answer any survey given to me by the Census Bureau.

  46. saram says:

    You guys are cracking me up. Something tells me that most of you answer politely (if at all) and maybe end the call prematurely and slightly rudely. I don’t believe that you do these things you claim too that often, if at all.

    With that said, I think that MrEleganza has an excellent point. People are people, no matter if you live next to them or not. Humans. Like us, right? Full of feelings and all of that other crap. Just something to keep in mind.

  47. dialguy says:

    Well I love how every one tortures people for just doing their job. I’m a telemarketer myself and when someone tells me that their busy I say Ill call them back later, when they say they want to be taken off the list I take them off the list.

    I just have a question for all those who LOVE to torture telemarketers have you tried just telling them to leave you alone, or maybe signing up for the Federal do not call list. The good companies follow that list.

    By the way, I have a website where I have begun to write the “adventures” in the world of telemarketing.

  48. cgmaetc says:

    What I wanna know is: how do you stop those annoying pre-recorded election messages from clogging up your voicemail? It seems no do-not-call list or threats of lawyers can stop election campaign calls…

    I used to work as a telemarketer making cold calls. It’s a low-paying, thankless job. But starving students need money for books and food! There really is no reason to be rude: it may make you feel good to be mean, but it’s just not necessary. just say “no thanks, goodbye” and hang up.

  49. xxenclavexx says:

    ok after reading each comment on this damn post, im going to be the artard that asks, whats with the “aluminum siding M—-F—- joke”, i dont understand and i feel ashamed.

  50. @Elvisisdead:

    Yeah maybe your side of the isle didn’t care about what the poll was telling you… I can see that leading to a long career in office. You really don’t have to act like a jerk and attack every polling organization with a blanket and unfounded statement just because you are salty on political polls for whatever reason.

    Political polls are important for incumbents as well as challengers. For Example: You can’t possibly talk to everyone in every part of a congressional district at any given set time. Not everyone who picks up the phone for a poll will talk to a canvasser.

    Polls are a valuable tool to figuring out legislative agendas. Good legislatures work on the issues people care about.

    Also, as a “former statistician” you should realize that your refusals on any question are of little importance on reasonably sized surveys because of the margin or error.

  51. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    Actually, this makes me kind of sad. No one EVER calls me for surveys. I would totally talk to them, because I’m a narcissist that loves to be asked about my opinion. Call me, guys.

  52. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @therasett: Whaaat? You mean you detect the subtle yet rancid odor of the Internet Badass? Surely you’re joking.

    “And then I pulled out my katana and did a backflip off the wall and then I cut his head off and roundhouse-kicked it through the ceiling! AW YEAH!”

  53. bbbici says:

    what a bland and constipatory looking meal.

  54. MrEleganza says:


    What you’re talking about is called “push polling.” I see you have a pretty good idea of how it works, but Sicilian is right when he says that’s just one type of poll. The firm I worked for did push polling for hire, but also polling for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal (and MTV, and Rolling Stone). Those polls were as honest as the day is long, and in fact, the NBC Political Polls were co-produced by the Big Pollsters for the other side of the aisle.

  55. Benny Gesserit says:

    I have a technique that got me off MBNA’s list (and would work for surveys as well, I bet.) But it would only work up here in Canada.

    I politely confirm the name of the company that’s calling me, take a deep breath and say

    “I assume you’re aware of Canada’s Privacy Act which legislates and covers the use of ANY information that uniquely identifies a citizen for business purposes. My phone number uniquely identifies me and I have NOT given your company my permission to use it for purposes of contacting me. If you continue to contact me against my wishes, I will file a formal complaint with the Privacy Commissioner in Ottawa against your company. Do you understand what I’ve just told you?”

    The MBNA drone was quiet for a minute and said “On behalf of MBNA, we’re sorry to have troubled you. You’ve been removed from our system. We may have 1 or 2 separate promotions that will finish this month. They may contact you but you will never be contacted again after the end of the month.”

    I said “That’s acceptable.” We said good night and MBNA has never called back.

  56. embean says:

    I worked for a call centre in Canada, that called Americans, and what we were doing wasn’t applicable to the DNC list. People used to recite DNC legislation to me after I had explained why I was calling. Do not threaten legal action unless you know what you’re talking about, because in my situation we were allowed to be calling. How can you threaten legal action upon a random phone call? If you’re actually serious, you need to get my name, the name of my company, the address of the building I’m located in, etc. Only once was I ever asked this information. Also, in my experience, having a whistle blown into the phone doesn’t do much, it’s not even that loud. But still, I don’t know why people want to intentionally try to harm someone (I assume this is the intention?). And as far as trying to “mess” with the agent, we’ve heard it all and I don’t know, we still get paid to hear whatever it is you want to say so I never really cared. Yelling or getting mad generally isn’t a clear response and will probably get you a callback. The best thing to do is just ask to not be called again or to be taken off the list. It’s the fastest and most effective way. Anything the person expressed about not being called again, and we took them off the list. However, this is probably not the case for all centres, maybe we were nicer in the Canadian one.

    It seems like Americans get way more calls than Canadians because they all had their ‘routine’ ready and didn’t want to listen to who I was. Any unfamiliar person and they just start. I always thought, what if I was someone in a hospital calling about an accident? These people didn’t give me a chance to tell them as much. Also, there is a real person at the other end who is probably a student or just someone trying to make some money, it’s the same as respecting a food service worker or something, just because they may be below you economically or something you consider inferior doesn’t mean you should treat them as such. I would never work in a call centre again because it sucks, I hate getting telemarketing calls as much as the next person, but I just calmly tell the person to take me off the list and it hasn’t failed me yet.

  57. royal72 says:

    “Once I stopped thinking of the phone as a summoning device my problems in this area just melted away.”

    bingo! first of all if we don’t wanna answer the phone it’s on silent. second, there’s caller id, so no id, no answer. third, if it’s important then leave a message.

  58. ruralteacher says:

    Read the privacy statements from your insurance, financial institution, car dealer, public utility, hospital, or even your oil change place.

    The call lists that are used at the call center where I work are generated from information that you provided the client with. Part of my job is compiling the databases for the call center but everybody must work the phones four hours a week or more if we do not make the production rate.

    To put your number on the list I know you signed something somewhere along the line that stated the client could share your number with us so we could ask you about how you feel about their services. This is why the Do Not Call list does not apply to you if we call. We do not do random dials.

    If you ask to be on our do not call list we will never call you again. The database takes you out when the MI disposes the call. I make sure it’s gone from our primary and backup databases.

    If you threaten me with bodily harm when I call my monitor notes your number and passes it along to our security department. I do not write it down to send you Enzyte samples or sex catalogs.

    I enjoy when you put your toddler on the phone to tell me that your last hospital visit was sponsored by Dora the Explorer. The phone sex isn’t that inventive or interesting.

    I hate being an MI but in my rural town this is the only opportunity for summer work that has nothing to do with agriculture or selling fireworks. I am teacher so I need to work summers so I can pay off my student loans and prevent my son from taking out any for his college educations.

    I apologize to all of you that I did not plan better financially so I had to take this evil job.

  59. mastercynic says:

    This is a classic!

  60. welsey says:

    My parents have something called Privacy Manager that prompts anyone calling us with a private number to say who they are. It gets a bit awkward for friends who have unlisted or private numbers, but it’s been really really effective at cutting down telemarketers. Most just hang up when the get the pre-recorded “privacy manager – may I ask who’s calling” or whatever it says message. And if they don’t, you get the option to deny the call AND play a message saying we don’t want telemarketing calls.

    Also I think being rude to telemarketers is completely out of line. It’s not as if having to answer the phone is some unbelievable burden and being polite is just too much in this situation. It almost always works out in your benefit to be polite to people on the other end of the line, telemarketers, CSRs, whoever.

  61. quantum-shaman says:

    The easiest thing in the world is to not answer the phone when it rings. It’s SOP in my house, unless I recognize the number.

  62. DLS2317 says:


    You said: “In addition to that, a majority of political polls and surveys aren’t neutrally worded and can’t even come close to scientifically proving that the instruments that they use are free from bias..”

    I work in the academic survey world, and this came up as a huge red flag. There is no such thing as an instrument that is “free from bias”, nor can you scientifically prove that most instruments are free from bias. The only way to “prove it” is to have a true value for the respondent somewhere and be able to validate the responses. In most cases, that’s impossible.

    All instruments have bias, it’s just a matter of minimizing the overall bias. You can never have a perfect questionnaire. Pretesting methods aren’t that great, but they’re better than nothing. Reputable survey organizations, including the Census Bureau, do pretest their surveys and make efforts to REDUCE the error.

    This whole nonresponse thing is quite a problem in the survey world. Polls are important, research is important, but no one wants to participate. Part of the reason is that the survey world hasn’t weeded out the “good” survey organizations (like the Census Bureau/Federal statistical system, Westat, RTI, NORC, etc) from the retarded hacks (like Zogby–the guy has no clue). So the public has no idea how to interpret results, and they don’t want to participate because they get a gajillion requests from some crappy market research company to take their uber lame web survey on grocery purchases.

    Sure, politicians don’t give a rats ass about poll results. I can understand that. But there are other reasons to participate in surveys (political or otherwise) BESIDES affecting policy. For example, the Survey of Consumer Attitudes produces an incredibly important economic indicator that can really impact the economy. By not participating, you might be screwing with the economy.

  63. kbarrett says:

    I actually had a Canadian telemarketer use that ” American law does not apply to us” argument on me. He even admitted what company he worked for, and laughed at me.

    I trotted out a search engine, found out which Canadian government agency was in charge of handling this kind of nuisance, and asked them if their legislation applied to Canadian companies that made nuisance calls to people outside of Canada.

    They informed me that the applicable laws did not invalidate complaints simply because they were made by people outside of Canada … if the call center wqas in Canada, they had to follow Canadian law.

    I filed a formal complaint. Two weeks later, I received a letter from the call center apologizing for their act, and promising that they would never call me again. A person from the Canadian government called 6 months later to confirm that these nitwits had stopped bothering me.

  64. queequeg says:

    Some of you sound like 12 year olds with your threats of scatalogical verbal abuse and pantomime phone sex directed at the poor schlubs who do the calling.
    I’m currently one of them, and I do feel pretty schlubby when I do it. It’s a shitty, temporary job that I won’t be doing for much longer, but here’s the deal – if you hang up on me without saying anything, I put you on the callback list. If you’re an asshole to me and yell at me “never to call again, take me OFF the list”, I put you on the callback list. IF YOU TREAT ME WITH SOME FUCKING DECENCY and ask not to be called back, I’ll take you off the list. If you’re bored/narcisistic/kind enough to actually DO the damn survey, I thank you honestly and profusely, because you’ve helped me get closer to my goddamn hourly quota.
    @Buran – having an unlisted number means nothing for most of the corporate surveys we do – the numbers are randomly generated via computar. Muah ha ha.

  65. Randyincv says:

    When my inlaws were both alive they lived in a log house on a mountainside in eastern Oregon. Sears was forever calling them trying to sell them aluminum siding, every freaking month they would call. My mother in law being the polite person she is would always decline. It was starting to irritate her though. She mentioned it to me, I told her “next time they call have them send out a crew for an estimate” She says “I couldn’t do that! we live in a log cabin for God’s sake” I said “Yep, and once they get that through their thick skulls they’ll leave you alone” So the next month like clockwork Sears called and she cheerfully asked them to come up and gave them directions up a long, steep, winding gravel road. My inlaws were sititng on the front deck drinking Iced Tea and they could hear the Sears truck struggling up the road. The truck finanlly made it to the clearing in front of their house and the 2 guys sat their for a moment with their mouths hanging open and then headed back down the hill. They never got another call from Sears.

  66. Kozmonix says:

    I used to work for one of the most respected and well-known market research firms in the US. I’ve heard all of these suggestions and then some on how to get rid of pollsters. Believe me, the ONLY way to permanently remove yourself from a calling list is to specifically say, “Do not call here again or I will have my lawyer talk to you.” The do not call list routine doesn’t work since it doesn’t apply to polling firms. Most interviewers will use their good judgment on whether or not to call someone back if they sound genuinely angry or specifically say not to call back. The place where I used to work had a file just for people like that and they were never called again.

    Also, be aware that banks, hospitals, etc., will often have contracts with survey firms. Your name and number are given by the company to the survey firm. Many companies place a lot of importance on how they are rated in polls. It can even effect someone’s bonus or raise.

    As for being called during dinner, it’s a little known fact that Americans eat dinner from 4PM-9:30PM. So when you’re calling hundreds of people a day, chances are someone might be called during “dinner.” And for the rudeness and sexual harrassment, it goes to show what kind of people are in the world. One of the easiest ways to judge a person is how they treat others. It’s a shame that people are teaching their children to do the same thing.

  67. juanmiguel says:

    For telemarketers, you can:
    1. push the zero button for a few minutes (doesn’t work well on recordings.)
    2. Ask him (or her) for their name and home phone number. (if they give you an answer, it won’t be real)
    3. If they ask “how are you today?” start telling them about your medical problems (starting with the measles when you were six.)
    4, Use all the vulgarity you want, since they are probably very familiar with that sort of language,
    5. Just sit there and listen while not saying a word. Don’t make comments or answer questions. This is more fun than putting the phone down and walking away,
    6. Of previous comments my favorite is to give the phone to a toddler. Unfortunately I don’t have toddlers in the house, so I might have to pretend that I am one.

  68. Jettabetta says:

    All this telemarketer talk reminds me of a book I just read about getting even with those pesky telemarketers. It is a book that all of you should read. It is Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen. NATURE GIRL is set in the Florida beyond Miami and Disney World, where people like Honey Santana and half-Seminole Sammy Tigertail live quiet, peculiar existences. Night telemarketer Boyd Shreave has insulted Honey with a real estate phone pitch, and she plots a bizarre revenge that brings the three characters together.

    I don’t think anyone would want go go quite as far as Honey Santana did in this book but it is a very good read

  69. Izzybell says:

    All interesting suggestions; however, I usually tell telemarketers in clear English that “I’m sorry but I don’t speak any English”. You’d be amazed how many telemarketers will apologize and hang up.

  70. Norg says:

    I like to let them finish the entire pitch, then say “what, I didn’t hear you” They generally ask what part you need repeated, “All of it. I wasn’t listening, couldn’t hear you.” Huh…ok….well…pitch again. “Is it for right handed or left handed?” Huh?!? “Right or left handed people, which is this model designed for?” Huh?!? “I didn’t hear you, could you tell me again?” Never had anyone make a third pitch. Great fun if you have the time to kill.

  71. surveybuff says:

    I can definitely relate to many writers’ frustration over being contacted at dinner time or in the evening when you just want to relax. I sometimes get annoyed with that myself. However, it’s important to remember that those surveys are conducted in order to provide products and services for EVERYONE. Therefore, if manufacturers and service providers are only getting the opinions of those who choose to participate, i.e. often the less educated and less affluent individuals, then they can only develop products and services based on their opinions, needs, etc. So, the next time you find yourself saying “why don’t they make a product like this,” or “why on earth are they marketing product X in this way rather than like X,” remember that if you want better products and services – ones that YOU want – only YOU can help make it happen. Your opinion IS important!

  72. PC-Bill says:

    There is a computer program called Active Caller ID that works exceptionally well. It allows you to block any phone number, name, or Caller ID identifier. Any one of these can blocked: number, name, out of area, anonymous, unknown caller, area code etc., and you don’t even have to know the number. For instance entering the following will block all calls from “anonymous:”

    Name, Identifier: anonymous
    Phone Number: 000-000-0000

    Another example:

    Name, Identifier: caller unknown
    Phone Number: 000-000-0000


    Name, Identifier: Acme Brick
    Phone Number: 666-123-4567

    In each of those cases your phone number will ring one time and then automatically disconnect every single time a call meets your entered criteria. It doesn’t matter if the call is from a bill collector or the Pope.


  73. tkhering says:

    I worked as a telephone polster for one evening (about two or three hours) when I was in college. I don’t recall anyone I called being rude, or even particularly annoyed. In fact, I was surprised how much personal information total strangers would give me in answer to my questions. Only one person I called, a policeman, declined to answer. Since I was working for a temp agency, I have no idea who wrote the questions, who read the answers, or why. Kinda scary!

  74. ania2007 says:

    My personal favorite was when the sheriffs department started harrassing me for a donation. So I decided to harrass the telemarketer right back. I told him that I didn’t have any money because I already gave all my money to another charity and couldn’t spare any, he asked which one, I said myself. Then he said I assume that you are a “good and law abiding citizin that would like to spare some money to help the local sheriffs department out wouldn’t you?”, I laughed and said, “no, I guess that you aren’t looking at my rap sheet, huh?” I made up some really crazy story and kept talking about how the police are really stupid and I was arrested and didn’t do anything and I kept talking and talking so much, he actually hung up on me!!!!! I have used that technique with others since, the talking and talking about nothing so that they can’t get a word in at all. Every one has hung up on me and hasn’t called back. Acting crazy seems to work for me.

  75. bishopfry says:

    I am also working in a research firm and conducting research studies is not an easy job. Please be reminded that surveys are helpful beyond common people’s knowledge. That’s why, most people who take surveys are college graduates and beyond since they know the value of their opinions in research studies. Research studies if taken into academic context are significant to the society for a lot of of reasons. First, there are customer satisfaction surveys that would ask the feedbacks or opinions of customers from that company basically to know how the products and services are going on. Based on experience, if a customer find out that the product or service is doing okay, he/she would skip the survey. This should not be. No matter what your opinions are, still it is valid. How would the company know if the the product is doing okay if you’re not going to tell them. You just can’t tell the researcher to put everything as excellent or rate them all 10 since each survey should undergo a proper procedure. Of course, you can tell the researcher to call back in another time if you’re busy but I believe everyone has a time. It’s just that some have bad concept or notion about these things. Secondly, there is also an awareness study which tackles a person’s awareness about some things. You may not know that there is a product that suits you which you are not aware of. These are just some of the reasons why research studies exist. If you feel like you’re disturbed, you can politely tell them not to call you back again. It’s just a matter of being aware why we have research studies. Open-mindedness is the key to understand why research studies exist. If you’re educated enough to know all these things, I would like to share this link about market research.

  76. shadowrecon says:

    I work for a market research company, (market research), I would like to say; you guys are all dumbasses. Reason: If you guys are the ones that yell, scream, swear, hangup without saying anything, say your on the do not call list, etc. Using those ways don’t really help at all. Best way for people to stop calling is to do the survey. It usually takes usually 5 minutes or 30 minutes at the most. Fastest survey i ever conducted was 3 minutes. Data collectors will tell you how long it will take if you ask kindly. For all of you who swear or scream or hangup, guess what we are going to call you back in 10 minutes for being rude. If you say kindly refuse, (depends on the data collector) either you will be called back in 3 hours or the next day.
    Its funny when people swear at me on the phone because it shows how stupid and ignorant you really are. Plus unless you have a good excuse like “someone died in your family” or “you gotta study for a test, exam, finals”. Excuses like “I don’t have time!, I don’t give a f**k about some stupid research, or this number is not listed; please don’t call back” never works.

    Some of you guys and gals are pretty nice and take the survey, I thank you for that because it helps us alot since it is a tough job. There are daily quotes that we have to meet. Mostly around 75 – 100 completes a day. (4-6 hrs) Most of us that work there need to support our families or going to college and this job fits our schedule perfectly.
    Here are some FAQ
    If you ask questions like:
    Q – “how did you get my number?”
    A – “All these phone numbers are randomly dialed by computer”, they mostly are dialed randomly by computer, but sometimes phone numbers are provided by companies or previous surveys that you taken by paper or that you told someone and allow them to call you back.

    Q – “This is a unlisted number, how did you get it?”
    A – True it may be a unlisted number, who knows, I don’t because its the computer that is providing us with the numbers, we aren’t dialing it from a paper.

    Q – “Do you know what time is it over here?”
    A – “No, not really we don’t,” Most of the people we call are dialed by computer, rarely is it hand dialed. Plus there are over a hundred different area codes that we dial, so most of the time we don’t know who we are dialing. Remember we call everyone, mostly in the US; sometimes Canada.

    Q – How do you know if the company we say we are representing is really a company and not a make up one.
    A – Simple, Google the name; most research companies have websites that you can find. Sometimes we use abbreviations instead of the whole company, you can ask what it stands for. We would gladly tell you as long as you as nicely. Sometimes we tell people we are “calling on behalf of” or “we are calling from” because thats what it says on the screen.

    Q – “Do I get anything for doing this?”(Most people ask this question)

    A – Mostly you will get knowledge, this research results you see on TV or read in the newspaper saying “such and such company did a research about how many people have low incomes or what they think about the war in Iraq”, all those information posted on TV or in newspapers are from research companies like us.
    Sometimes we give out incentives if you do the survey, they range from $5 to $200 or free items that companies provide if you complete the survey. SO be patient and do the survey, you will almost always get something in return.

    Q – “Does the ‘Do not call list’ apply to market research people?
    A – From my experience, it doesn’t; the do not call list was created to prevent those annoying telemarketers from selling crap. So if you tell a market research data collector person that your on the “do not call list”, we don’t care!! cause it doesn’t apply to us.

    So the next time you get a call from someone in the Market Research area, please be nice and do the survey, its for your own good and sometimes you get incentives and please don’t ask stupid questions or say something stupid like your on the do not call list like your all high and mighty.
    But if it’s a telemarketer, piss the F**k out of them cause I understand how annoying those little piss off are.

  77. DLS2317 says:

    I think something’s been lost here. Surveys are NOT telemarketing. Telemarketing DOES NOT involve surveys. Ever.

    Surveys that ask for money are strongly disallowed by reputable survey organizations and professional associations (like CASRO or AAPOR). If you get a survey that turns out to be a telemarketer AND you’re on the do not call list, you should file a complaint with–this is not a survey, and it is NOT protected.

  78. billorange says:

    Using a combination of Caller-ID and Voice Mail, we only answer the phone when we can see it’s someone we want to speak to and its a time that’s convenient.

    Anyone else gets to leave a message, and we decide who to call back and when to do it.

    We value our time and privacy.

    As a result, we:
    1. Never respond to any telemarketing calls, ever.
    2. Never participate in any market research surveys
    3. Never participate in any Government Surveys, including any of the Census Bureau stuff (except for the 10 year Census, and then we respond to only the questions that we feel are germaine.)

    And we aren’t unusual. The percentage of people who agree to participate in market research surveys has plummeted over the past few years.

    The ex-head of the Census Bureau, Kenneth Prewitt, has said that non-response to the census and to individual questions on the Census has climbed to a point that the Government is going to have to look at abandoning the mail, telephone calls and in-person enumeration as the way to gather this information.

  79. Ookseer says:

    The last call I got for a survey was from the MPAA… You telling me they weren’t trying to sell something?

    First: Turn off your ringer when you don’t want to get calls. Unless you are an on-call Doctor or fireman, you don’t need to have it on. Turn it off. At least turn it off if you are going to get all phone-rage-y.

    2: When you get survey/charity calls, tell them they’ve called a business number and to remove it from their list. In general they’re only allowed to call home phones.

    3: Don’t harass them. They’re low paid humans. Feel sorry for the poor suckers. Don’t try to have phone sex with them, they’ve got your name, phone number and address (among other things). You piss them off they can bring down a world of pain on you during their mandated 15 minute breaks. Seriously (I worked a lot of them jobs way back when. These guys network and know how to deal with jerks.)

  80. AndyC says:

    This is fun if you have the time:

    At work I just say “I’m sorry, it’s company policy not to particiapte in unsolicited surveys”, or “It’s company policy not to buy from cold-callers”. I’m lying, but I don’t care.

    At home depending on my mood, I’ll either start asking personal questions (and point how awkward it is when a complete stranger wants to know all about you), or quietly ask for their full company name, registered office address, and company registration number. When they’ve given it to me, I say “Thanks very much. Now I know who to report to OFTEL for calling an ex-directory number that’s also registered with the telephone preference service”. Both of these can lead to fines in the UK if done persistently.

    I’ve also educated our few friends who have their CLI withheld on their numbers to not expect us to answer the phone until we hear them leaving a message.

  81. MikeWas says:

    “Is your firm licensed to conduct telemarketing in this state? No? What was your name again?”


  82. shadowrecon says:

    funny how you guys think your really smart when all your doing is getting a callback in 10 minutes, listen to my advice and do the surveys, but if its a telemarketer
    (female) flirt with them, ask in a sexy voice what they are wearing, how old they are, ask for phone number etc.

    (male) Act gay

  83. billorange says:

    Funny how people who call us to get us to do these time-wasting surveys 1.) Point to their value to us and 2.) Suggest we’ll be hounded by them if we don’t agree (“all your doing is getting a callback in 10 minutes.”)

    But, according to them, it’s OK to harrass telemarketers. In spite of their protestations, I don’t think there’s a dime’s worth of difference between a telemarketer and a market research call.

    First of any there’s an infintesimal chance that any of us will ever benefit from anything that results from these surveys. They are for the benefit of the company or organization that sponsors them. These people may or may not listen to or understand what they are being told. Or, if we are not in the majority in answering the question, our input will be disregarded.

    All this business about how we’ll benefit is just part of the sales pitch to get us to spend our time helping them.

    As to the threat that we’ll be hounded if we don’t respond, I don’t buy it. These people have a quota of complete interviews. They don’t have time to play games with people who aren’t interested. I doubt their supervisors would condone “revenge” calls back to people who were rude to them.

    Of course, if you want to spend a good part of your evening listening over and over again to:

    “Now would you say you are very much less likely, less likely, somewhat less likely, about the same, somewhat more likely, more likely, very much more likely,…”

    then knock yourselves out. As for me, there’s things I’d rather do.

    But just for purposes of classification, what is your household income:

    Between $50,000 and $60,000?
    Between $60,000 and $70,000?

  84. As a former

  85. Having worked doing telephone surveys, I feel compelled to mention something. If you insist on being a jerk, I will be a jerk right back. I know plenty of people working the phones who have no problem scheduling an immediate callback just to further piss off the jerk that insisted on being rude. Ask me not to call back, don’t cuss me out for doing my job.

  86. shadowrecon says:


    I agree with Brian Westover, just do the survey its for your own benefit.
    Don’t listen to billorange, these market research studies is for the benefit of everyone because it improves the quality of products. If for example, for all of you people that chew tobacco or use skoal or some tobacco product like copehegan, we ask people if they like that product, or what should be improved, what do they think about the price.

    Sometimes we help credit card companies or banks conduct surveys. We ask questions like, “What do you think of the customer service at your local bank?” or “Were the employees at Washington mutal helpful and respectful?”

    Obviously billorange has not taken a survey or just too stupid to understand that these surveys are helpful. Not all our survey is about products, we also ask people if they seen a commercial about the bad side of smoking, if they seen any advertisement about not smoking and preventing teens from taking drugs. These surveys is to help prevent drug usuage and to see if parents do their job of protecting their kids against alcohol, smoking, and drugs.

    “As to the threat that we’ll be hounded if we don’t respond, I don’t buy it. These people have a quota of complete interviews. They don’t have time to play games with people who aren’t interested. I doubt their supervisors would condone “revenge” calls back to people who were rude to them.”

    Actually we have a lot of time, 7 hrs of sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer while it randomly dials a number, we are really bored. So if you are going to be a asshole, we will call you back every 10 minutes. Maybe if you read what I posted the first time, you will understand we are helping companies so they can help their customers and make the customer happy. Sometimes the companies or organizations give out incentives or “gifts” or “rewards” if you complete the survey.

    So if you think we won’t call you back then sucks for you cause we will. Some surveys have a time limit of 2 days or a week while other surveys last a couple months or a year. Depends on the survey, but we WILL call you back if your a asshole. If your respectful, we will be respectful.

    Its actually fun calling assholes back cause they use verbal threats which doesnt even do anything to us except make us laugh. Its funny, what are you going to do? Jump out of the microphone and beat us to death??

    There is a difference between telemarketers and market research.

    telemarketers: people who call and annoy other people to buy a product while being pay min wage.

    (dictionary version): selling or advertising by telephone.

    market research people: people who call other people and ask questions on ways to improve life, product, or anything useful to improve something.

    (dictionary version):
    market research
    n. The gathering and evaluation of data regarding consumers’ preferences for products and services.

    thats the difference

  87. billorange says:

    What an utter bunch of nonsense from shadowrecon.

    Both telemarketing and telephone market research are intrusions into our privacy. Both are done for the benefit of others.

    That’s why the response rate for market research has plummeted. People have figured this out.

    I don’t recommend being rude. Just say “No”. Everytime you do, it drives a nail in the coffin of this irritant.

  88. DLS2317 says:

    What about surveys that are NOT market research? Say, a survey about health behaviors? If you slam the phone down, you could either be a nonrespondent for a shitty, useless survey about what beer you prefer, OR you could be a nonrespondent for a survey on health behaviors that could lead to new knowledge about diseases.

    At least listen to the topic before saying no. It could actually help people. Market research doesn’t usually help anyone except the company, but scientific research can.

  89. billorange says:

    What kind of serious health research is done over the telephone?

    Health Research is done through organizations like the National Institute of Health, the Center for Disease Control and the pharmaceutical companies. And they aren’t doing it over the phone.

    It’s done through physician reporting, hospitals, and in laboratories. ANd it’s done by studies that involve people they recruit through efforts like advertising.

    What kind of responsible health organization would all someone up, interrupt dinner and then ask serious questions of a person they don’t know anything about and then call that “Health Research”.

    For some reason this blog — which was started to tell people how to avoid these pests — has attracted the very people who are making the calls defending what they do.

  90. shadowrecon says:

    well there are health insurance companies that want to improve their service, so they asked us to help them conduct surveys and call people who have that insurance company and see what they can improve, what problems the customer had with their insurance, how they liked the specialist doctors provided to them. Questions like those help a lot, especially if some of the patients don’t speak English, they have a harder time understanding what is happening to their kids. These surveys benefit both the customer and the companies.

    Like DLS2317 said, listen to what the survey said before hanging up, some of it is about certain disease, and if the the person on the other line is aware of it.

    Billorange, how would you know if a health research is done by National Institute of Health or not? Have you work in any of those places? Or are you just repeating what others told you?
    Plus you gotta understand, we (market researchers)
    call over a couple thousand people a day using a computer generated number. Plus everyone eats dinner at different times, you probably think everyone eats dinner at a certain time, not all of us eat dinner at the same time so the chances of being called by people conducting survey is random.

    I guess you don’t really read what I have posted earlier, take the survey and you won’t be bother, say “No” and we will continue to bother you. Whats the worst you guys can do to us? Make empty threats saying “you are going to hunt me down and chop off my head?” or “You’re going to come out of the phone and kill me?” Yes i am very scare, its actually funny cause all those empty threats, and saying telemarketers and market researchers are all the same are pretty stupid. Considering both have different definitions and job descriptions.

  91. billorange says:

    I couldn’t give a better reason for not participating in any research survey than the sophmoric ramblings of Shadowrecon.

    You can call me all you want. I’ve got Caller-ID and voice-mail. I screen 100% of my incoming calls.

    If the display says “XYZ Research” or “Gallop Poll” or “Private Caller” or “Out of Area” or any “800 Number”, there’s no chance I’m going to answer the phone. I’ll listen to any voice mail message left and deecide if I’m interested.

    Before I had Caller-ID and telephone voice mail, I had an answering machine that would let me listen to messages being left. If it was somebody I wanted to talk to, I’d pick the receiver up.

    My phone is used to talk to people I actually want to talk to. I don’t want my privacy violated or my time wasted.

    I have been a senior marketing manager and I know what market research is used for. Most of the time It was done routinely and the results aren’t used unless they gave us the answer we wanted to hear. It’s value is way over-rated.

    To Shadowrecon Market research is different from telemarketing and he beleives the stuff they tell him to say to the poor schlubs who answer the phone.

    To we consumers, it’s all the same. It’s an interruption of our evening and a waste of our time for the benefit of someone else.

  92. JoeVet says:

    “I agree with Brian Westover, just do the survey its for your own benefit.Don’t listen to billorange, these market research studies is for the benefit of everyone because it improves the quality of products.”

    Call it telemarketing or “market survey”, to the public it is all the same thing…..companies interrupting the little leisure time we have in order to maximize their profits through sales (telemarketing) or through advertising/sales improvement (market surveys). If your one of the callers who help these businesses by harassing us with calls that you would not even sit through, shame on you. You deserve the bile that the public spews on you. Drug dealers are just doing their jobs and feeding their families too. You are no better. If asking nicely to have our names removed from a call list worked, or put another way, if you were honorable enough to remove a name from a call list when politely asked this forum would not exist.

  93. shadowrecon says:

    have any of you ever sit at the office all bored and waiting for the day to end? All you got in front of you is a computer screen and a keyboard, and your job is to call people and meet the amount of completes per hour. I hate calling old people, most surveys usually term them out if they are over the age of 65. After a hour or two of sitting there in that little cubicle, you will become bored. You call people and get answering machines and assholes that think they are all high and mighty like they know everything in the world. Using the “do not call list” as a source of power or some shit, well when your bored, sitting there waiting for the computer to dial another random number, its fun pissing off people. What can you guys do?? Billorange obviously have not for any market research company as a senior management manager or he would have understand how hard our job is. So Billorange, plz stfu because ur probably a little r-tard who thinks he is all high and mighty.

    WE will call you back if you are rude and dont take the survey. Its so funny when people start swearing, crying, trying to do anything desperate in order for us to terminate you guys.

  94. billorange says:


    I actually do know how hard your jobs is. I’ve never done it, but I have toured call centers inside of market research houses and seen it done. I have even listened in to conversations so we could determine if we thought the questions were being properly understood.

    But you don’t understand the degree to which this information is used or not used. More often than not, we were just doing the studies as a matter of form to back-up what we had already decided to do anyway. If the research didn’t support our bias, we’d ignore it. Or, we would change around the questionnaire to get us the results we wanted.

    You don’t have to worry about me insulting you. You or any other surveyer and I will never have a conversation. I have Caller-ID and phone company-supplied voice mail. If the phone doesn’t announce audibly and visually that it’s somebody I know and want to talk to, the receiver will never be picked up.

    I have no desire and I feel no responsibility to talk to the Gallup Poll or any market research company or even the Federal Government. “Out of Area” and “Private Caller” are also never answered.

    I value my time and my privacy.

    If I were you, I’d look at getting into a different line of work. The nonresponse rate to RDD telephone surveys is skyrocketing, which affects the cost of the survey (by making more and more attmpts necessary) and the quality of the data.

    A couple of years from now those call centers are going to be relics of the past. As more and more people figure out that they can get by with a cell phone only, there isn’t going to be anybody you can call.

    And if you are caught playing games with people who actually do answer the phone, you won’t be there to see them close the place. You’ll be long gone.

  95. shadowrecon says:

    thats true i am thinking about quiting, in the process of finding another job. MOst of the surveys we conduct dont even make sense. The people who wrote them need to go back to school. But unless you have experience it first hand as a data collector instead of a spectator, its totally different.

  96. Anonymous says:

    I think some one on here said the person said they were working for the US Government. They are working on behalf of the US government who contracted such and such research company to do the survey. Why do you think they do the surveys? It is because they are contracted out by companys, government agencies etc… to get these surveys done. Some one is paying these companies to call you. They are not doing it for free.

    I worked for one company that if you said take us off your list they would say it was done. The one I’m with now we say we do not have a list are numbers are randomly dialed. I do not have the power to take you off the list. I can only relay that you wish to be taken off the list. If you really want to be and they are annoying you that much ask for there toll free number and call the company and complain. To complain to us is going to get you no where.

    There are many people that do this because they can’t work outside the home. They may be disabled or have small children and they can’t afford child care. They also make more then what you can at McDonalds for all that said that.

    So just remember the next time they call you may be cursing out a mother with small children. Just let your machine pick up or do the survey. It really all is for a purpose. We are not calling you just to annoy you or we have nothing better to do. We are doing it to get your opinion or views on things.

  97. BugMeNot2 says:

    i work for a company called higginbotham associates and all i love it when people freak out and cuss at me, i just laugh my ass off and set them as a busy number which makes the computer call back in like 15 minutes. if your chill and polite with me and dont act like an ass hole i will be cool to you. ask nicely to not be called again and we are required to not call you again. no big deal. if your a real ass hole and hang up during the middle of the survey what i like to do is write down the phone number and call them back at four in the morning and talk shit, hilarious!

    just do the survey and no one will get hurt

  98. shadowrecon says:

    very true I agree with Bugmenot2, just do the survey and get it over with considering its like 1 out of a million chance that we will call you back so just do the survey

  99. Chadley says:

    Hey SavemeJeebus–

    Real smart. You think these companies do background checks? Alot of them hire ex-cons because who else is going to do low-paying work like that? You might be putting your child on the phone with a sex offender.

  100. Chadley says:


    A guy tried to do that to me and I just hung up. People always get ticked when you hang up on them–even when they don’t want the call. So this guy thought he was being cute and I just hung up on him. (I also took him off the list because I am a nice guy after all)

  101. shadowrecon says:

    Actually the companies really do background checks, they only hire people that have commited minor offenses not felonies. Since alot of the people that work at these companies are high school students, college students, parents, immigrants, and the elderly who are semi-retired, which alot of you guys do not know about. We work our butts off to reach the quota for the day which varies on the surveys. So please respect us and we will respect you. If you are rude, we will call you back. If you are nice, we won’t, if you hang up before we finish, that is rude, we will call you back and annoy you for the rest of the week.

  102. Anonymous says:

    One thing they hate is wasting their time. They want to move to the next harrassing call. So, if you do have time, keep talking. Ask silly seemingly realted questions. NEVER COMMIT TO ANY PURCHASE. NEVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION. Just keep them busy by asking for more details, more explanations, more clarifying of the terms, more, more, more.
    If they ask for a Bank Number, or a credit card number, make up one. They will verify immediately and let you know it’s not working.
    Just say, “I know, I ‘ve done it to waste your time.
    That will infuriate them and do not be surprised if THEY start using the “F” word on you.
    Laugh and calmly try to keep the conversation going. They hate it. It is a waste of their time and loss of money on their part. But: be sure you keep your calm.
    Remember, your mission is to waste their time.