Just Say 'Yes' To Telemarketers

Want to drive a telemarketer crazy and amuse yourself at the same time? Here’s an example of how to do it.

The secret, apparently, is to make every third or fourth yes mean something entirely new through the magic of inflection—but you’ll have to stay committed to it even when the telemarketer catches on, which may result in a self-inflicted insult.

“How to torment telemarketers with one word” [YouTube via Neatorama]


Edit Your Comment

  1. coan_net says:

    Now that was funny….. What a moron!

  2. timmus says:

    The homicide investigation prank is another way of ruffling some feathers.

  3. HOP says:

    i wish i could pull something off like that…i couldn’t get half way thru without laughing….good job……

  4. Joafu says:


  5. one800higgins says:

    Hahahahahahaha. I’m glad the telemarketer messed with him too.

  6. T16skyhopp says:

    @Joafu: yes…?

  7. dtmoore says:

    @timmus: Haha thanks, that was some funny shit.

  8. MommaJ says:

    Moron, indeed. So now it’s noteworthy that this jerk amused himself by tormenting some poor guy who’s trying to earn a living, you know, make some money to buy gas, pay the rent? Put yourself on the do-not-call-list, hang up if you get a call anyway, but don’t be an a-hole.

  9. LJKelley says:

    OMG… thank you guys for making my day. The Police Investigation video is absolutely hillarious. “was a flaming homosexual” OMG

  10. hills says:

    Absolutely hilarious? – yes!

  11. courtarro says:

    Great response by the telemarketer. Telemarketer: 1, annoying prank guy: 0

  12. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    My favs are still pretending you just got back from a rock concert and yelling at them that they need to speak up or pretending to be the paranoid conspiracy freak demanding to know how they got your number.

    Of course there is also the whole just ditching the land line and avoiding 99.9% of the problem all together…

  13. SkokieGuy says:

    I have to agree with Momma.

    A telemarketer is trying to earn a living. Keeping him / her on the phone is simply using their time that could be spent dialing the next person and perhaps leading to a sale.

    You have the option of not answering your phone and who doesn’t have caller ID today.

    Teasing those less fortunate for your own amusement is not the mark of a decent civilized person.

    How about gluing a string to a quarter and tossing it in a homeless person’s cup, then yanking it back?

    Big time fun, huh?

  14. Judge Judy sound board. Hell, any sound board.

  15. mizmoose says:


    For all those complaining — this guy was trying to get his SSN. Do you really think this was a legit call?

  16. Telewhores get what they deserve.

  17. “Do you really think this was a legit call? “
    @mizmoose: But he was trying to offer him a valuable goods and/or services. ;)

  18. Gokuhouse says:

    @MommaJ: Some people get stuck with jobs like this. They know going in that they are going to make people angry. Would you rather have someone joke around with you like this or have them yell at you? When I was in high school I did telemarketing and I would have LOVED to get someone with a sense of humor rather than someone cursing me out.

  19. Riddler says:


    Horrible analogy, unless the homeless guy actually came to your door asking for the quarter. In that case, you may be on to something.

  20. Hate_Brian_Club_I'mNotOnlyThePresidentI'mAClient says:


    Get over yourself, this is funny – telemarkters waste people’s time, but somehow their time is too valueable to have a trick played on them?

    The excuse that he’s trying to earn a living doesn’t make parasites like telemarketers any more tollerable.

  21. SkokieGuy says:

    @Riddler: Point taken.

    But really, aren’t all us smart consumers on the do not call list?

    Who answers a telephone from a phone number they don’t recognize?

    P.S. My favorite is when I dial a cell phone number (in error). The other party of course answer & when I hear the voicemail, I know it’s a wrong number, so I disconnect.

    Invariable I get a call back instantly, “Who is this”. I find this totally hilarious.

  22. ptkdude says:

    DirecTV used to call me 3 times a day. I finally got fed up and acted like I was interested on one of the few times there was actually someone on the other end of the line. I kept the woman on the phone for 45 minutes asking if they have channel x, then channel y, etc. She was looking through the channel guide for each one (and I had pulled up the guide on my TiVo and was just going down the list). I would even occasionally repeat a channel just for the hell of it. Finally, toward the end I came across a channel they didn’t have (and I had no actual interest in). My response was, “oh I LOVE that channel, so not having it is a deal breaker for me. Sorry” and hung up. They never bothered me again.

    Yes, I know they’re trying to make a living. But calling me 3 times a day for months and hanging up when I answer just pisses me off.

  23. Riddler says:


    aren’t all us smart consumers on the do not call list
    – I don’t think I’d qualify as a smart consumer, but I am on the list

    Who answers a telephone from a phone number they don’t recognize?
    – I’ve never had caller ID (except for automatic caller ID on cell phone) because I always though it came at a cost, and I was trying to mimic smart consumers by not paying for something I don’t need. Nonetheless, I fail by buying something I don’t need like the Wii Fit. [Do, I really need that? My wallet says no, but my slightly expanding tummy says YES.]

  24. Coles_Law says:

    @mizmoose: Well, just the last 4 of his social. I’ve heard of that before. Probably was legit.

  25. SkokieGuy says:

    @Hate_Brian_Club: My point is no one does telemarketing by choice. In many cases it is a job of last resort for those that are barely employable.

    We live in a society where making fun of others has become acceptable.

    There have been people on Consumerist that advocate punching the receipt checker at Walmart if they dare to detain them.

    Not answering your phone when it’s an unrecognized number or simply saying ‘no thank you’ and hanging up not only doesn’t waste the TM’s time, it also doesn’t waste yours.

    If you want to really know about about a person, don’t watch how they treat their boss, watch how they treat the janitor.

  26. MeOhMy says:


    Invariable I get a call back instantly, “Who is this”. I find this totally hilarious.

    Hilarious but also REALLY annoying! I remember back in the days of *69 this happened to me. “Why did you just call me and hang up?!” I dialed the wrong number! You just wasted 75 cents, idiot!

    Other people “just trying to make a living”: Drug dealers, Prostitutes, Pimps, The Squeegee Guy, Thieves

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to do things like blow an airhorn into the phone, but screwing with them has to be fair game – they called you on your phone!

  27. kc2gvx says:

    “and who doesn’t have caller ID today.”

    -Hey, I can’t afford the $8/month Verizon charges for it here in NJ. Therefore, every time the phone rings, it is a mystery to me!

  28. PinkBox says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the entire thing was staged?

  29. BlondeGrlz says:

    @SkokieGuy: Sometimes ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. I had an unlisted number come up on my caller ID six times a day for three days in a row until I finally picked it up and told them I was not interested in renewing the magazine subscription that isn’t even set to expire until 2010. When I politely asked the telemarketer to please not call me anymore, he hung up without so much as a “Sure, no problem.”
    I’m already on the Do Not Call List.

  30. kyle4 says:

    @timmus: That was funnier than the video Consumerist posted. I was laughing hard. Very funny.

  31. tjevans says:

    @Hate_Brian_Club: As someone who used to have a job classified as a telemarketer (I was an agent for New York Life) , I can tell you that someone acting like this would not be appreciated. Especially since in my office, you were rated on your calling ratio–how many dials vs. contacts vs. apps you could make in a given amount of time.

    As far as telemarketers wasting people’s time, that’s what the do not call list is for. We had to use a telephone system that scrubbed our calls through the federal, state, and company do not call lists. It wouldn’t let a call be made if it was on one of those lists. (also, the company would cover us if the system screwed up and we got fined; if we called off the system and got fined, it would come out of our own pocket). And whose time is so valuable that they can’t take three seconds to say, “Thanks, I’m not interested. Bye.”

  32. SkokieGuy says:

    @BlondeGrlz: You’re right, I have the same problem.

    But keep in mind that when you are a jerk to a telemarketer, you are likely guaranteeing that the harassment will continue.

    That’s why people who fall victim to scammers often get scammed again. The phone number and info of an easy mark gets sold and passed around. You don’t think the number of assholes and jerks get passed on too?

    Kinda like pissing off a waiter and worrying about if they’ll spit in your food, it’s just not prudent to mess with someone who already has your phone number and likely lots of other demographic info.

    If you ‘mess with’ a telemarketer selling magazine subscriptions, don’t you think you’re tipping the odds that you’re going to be (wrongly) signed up for LOTS of magazines? That’s typically how these people get paid and by the time you start getting invoices that person has likely quit and moved on to another job.

  33. Jmatthew says:

    Back in the day I used to have a spare phone line we used for internet. When DSL came available we tacked it onto our phone line, but never got around to canceling the spare line, so my little brother used it to call his friends, but we didn’t carry any long distance on it because we never used it for LD.

    Sprint suddenly decided that we needed long distance on that line, so called it at 5:30 pm EVERY DAY.

    I kept explaining over and over that we don’t make long distance calls on that line, we have AT&T on the main line, 0 interest in sprint. Keep getting calls. I looked online and found out if they keep calling after being asked not to you can file a complaint with, er, someone, don’t remember who. So I started informing them every day when they called that I was filing a complaint and letting them know which code they were breaking and the fines involved. (and I did fill out the complaint, every day… never heard a word back of course.)

    I figured eventually they’d get the hint.

    Finally one day this guy calls, I go through my schpiel… dude erupts. Goes absolutely insane cussing and telling me I can’t do that, that he’s going to hunt me down and kill me if I do that, etc etc etc…

    So I hung up. Called Sprint. Asked for sales. Asked for the highest manager they have available. Let them know one of their sales reps just threatened to kill me for filling a pointless complaint form out about them calling me every day. Manager takes my phone#, comes back, tells me the situation has been “dealt with.”

    Lots of groveling ensued by the manager and I never heard from them again.

    After that I got rid of the land lines and went with a cell, so never had any fun experiences with telemarketers. :(

  34. kalemaat says:

    @NameGoesHere: I was thinking the same thing, especially right at the end. Either way, it made me laugh!

  35. Nighthawke says:

    I like pie.


    mmm pie.



    pie pie pie!

    Gimme pie!

  36. Landru says:

    I feel bad for them too. Think about it. Where the hell else are they going to work?

    Although I have to confess that I almost always tell them the person that are looking for “is no longer with us”.

    I love the ones who say “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. How about you though, do you think you might want to give something to the Police Activity League?”

  37. Nytmare says:

    @SkokieGuy: The telemarketer has the option of not calling in the first place. He chose to be rude and make an unsolicited sales call. I have the option, the right, to respond in kind.

    Making money at it is NOT an excuse. But I guess if my brother paid me a quarter to whack you upside the head, you’d have to stand there and take it politely because I was paid to do it, and you had the option to duck.

  38. amoeba says:

    you made our day walters! My boyfriend and I were just lauging out butt off. Funny indeed!

  39. SkokieGuy says:

    @nytmare: Making an unsolicited call is not rude. Rudeness would be the conduct of the telemarketer on the phone.

    The telemarketer likely does NOT have the option of not calling you. They probably have a computer that dials the number and the telemarketer has no ‘choice’ as to who receives the next call.

    We have a choice when driving, if we let others change into our lane when we see a turn signal.

    We have a choice of walking a little faster than the elderly person and getting to the checkout counter ahead of them.

    We have a choice in how we respond to an unsolicited phone call.

    I think what we choose says something about the kind of people we are.

    I’ve never denied that you have the option of being rude, I’m disagreeing with your choice.

    May you never lose your job and have the only work available to you be telemarketing.

  40. antmilla says:

    hahaha very nice. i’m going to try that now.

  41. Notsewfast says:


    And whose time is so valuable that they can’t take three seconds to say, “Thanks, I’m not interested. Bye.”

    Mine. Don’t call me. If I wanted your product or service, I’d call you. When I want a box of cereal, I go to the store and buy one. I don’t need advertisements to tell me that Rice Krispies now have less sugar… when I am looking for the product, I discover it for myself.

    When I need more life insurance, magazine subscriptions, or want to donate to the shriners, I’ll look them up.

    I’m sorry that telemarketers work for companies that suck, but when I call a customer service line and am pissed off, I’m going to tell the CSR how i feel, not because I dislike them or think they are below me, but because when you work for a company, you represent them. If you don’t want to feel the brunt of that, work for a company that doesn’t annoy people.

    I hear from my clients when my company makes unpopular decisions, why should I treat telemarketers any differently?

  42. mikelotus says:

    @timmus: that is so funny, has to be a better way of ending it though

  43. zentec says:


    I don’t agree with your analogy. Telemarketers are helping themselves to my time, and they’re helping themselves to the use of my phone line for which I bear all costs. And to help themselves further, many will obscure or falsify the caller-id information in the hopes that I will be fooled into picking-up the call. And when they’re politely told you’re not interested, that’s some how interpreted that I’m not interested at this particular instant, but they’ll call back tomorrow just to check if I’ve changed my mind about debt consolidation. .

    Quite simply, a telemarketer is not in a position to whine and cry about having their time wasted when they’re wasting mine with their unwanted calls on MY phone line. And really, does anyone take telemarketers seriously any more? All I can think about are the sales calls Shelley Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross scored from lonely people who just liked to talk. Not exactly a producing set of sales leads.

  44. JoeLikesRamen! says:

    Interestingly enough, as I was watching this the Army called. I’m 17 so I get these military phone calls all the time. I was tempted to only say ‘yes’, but better judgement ruled out and I went the ‘I’m not interested in the military; I don’t have any friends who are’ route. I’m a good person, huh.

  45. EdnaLegume says:

    @Coles_Law: if that is all the evidence you need to verify something is legit…. have I got a deal for you.

  46. kathyl says:

    *Please* don’t defend people who take horrible jobs like calling people and trying to sell them things. Everyone knows it’s annoying, the “deals” are frequently a complete racket, and there are few worse ways to try to make a living for yourself.

    If you take this job (or sympathize with those who do) you facilitate the continued existence of a truly detestable method of making money. Whining that someone has the temerity to “waste” the time of a telemarketer or make them feel sad is ludicrous.

  47. EdnaLegume says:

    @SkokieGuy: “May you never lose your job and have the only work available to you be telemarketing.”

    Would that mean McDonalds and Walmart finally went out of business?

  48. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Can I interest you in DirectTV?
    Can I interest you in Pastafarianism? Have you been touched by His noodly appendage?

    Where is Roy D. Mercer when you need him?
    Cause if I don’t get about five hundred dollars…I’m gonna have to come down there and kick…your…ass!

  49. joemono says:

    @SkokieGuy: Telemarketing is never a last resort. McDonald’s et al. are always hiring.

    And yes, unsolicited phone calls are rude. Just like random people knocking on your front door offering to sell you magazines are rude. Just like credit card companies sending you trash through the mail are rude. Just like companies sending you spam are rude.

    I think it’s rude to try and push products or services onto someone in such an invasive manner. Like Secret Agent Man said, if I want something, I’ll take it upon myself to get it.

  50. urban_ninjya says:

    they way I see it, all telemarketers don’t like their jobs. They’re doing it because it happened to be the job they ended up with and they’re only cold calling because their job intructed them to. If they actually had warm leads, then they wouldn’t be cold calling.

    I think it’s better just to hang up on them, they know they’re not wanted, and I’m not going to waste any more time on them then they are on me. They’ll end up meeting their quota of calls they have to make, get their nice bonus. And maybe one day the company will realize that they need better ways to get leads than paying people to make useless calls.

    If the call is automated. Then making our sounds outsourced, then maybe it makes sense to take up their time and watch them pay the minutes talking long distance.

  51. kathyl says:

    @SkokieGuy: So if I “mess” with a telemarketer, they are going to illegally sign me up for offers and products I didn’t authorize? And this is NOT the fault of the telemarketer, who is doing something illegal, but mine, for exercising my right to free speech and to talk in whatever way I see fit to someone who called me, unsolicited on my part?

    So, I’m supposed to live in fear of these kind of tactics that might be used against me if I put a foot the wrong way while talking to someone I never wanted to talk to in the first place? I don’t defer to the whims of people who choose to dial my number (and yes, I’m in the registry). If they choose to do something unethical and illegal because they don’t like whatever I’ve said to them when they call, which usually includes informing them that they will be reported for violating the do-not-call registry edicts, then their company should be prepared to deal with the ramifications of the actions of their employees, be they past or present employees.

  52. bohemian says:

    @SkokieGuy: So if some poor slob was trying to earn a living punching old ladies in the street that would be ok too?
    Telemarketing needs to go away. It serves no honest or useful purpose in our society.

  53. bohemian says:

    @joemono: I think you have gotten to the bottom of why I hate all salespeople. Well at least the ones practicing the above mentioned sales techniques.
    The ones loitering in stores I hate for other reasons.

  54. elgringoguapo says:

    If a telemarketer calls me I just switch into Spanish and 99% of the time they hang up on me within 5 seconds. There was one time when the woman on the other end was bilingual I stopped mid sentence and just hung up.

  55. Angryrider says:

    For a little there I though telemarketing companies got a little more technological savvy. He said yes, and the telemarketer just continued. What a fackin’ moron.

    I just hope there won’t be a law that bars people from making fun of telemarketers… This is just so funny.

  56. bobbleheadr says:

    @zentec: Seriously “Not interested, take me off you list” takes 5 seconds. Grow up.

  57. Hastin says:

    @SkokieGuy: At the same time, one must take that as part of the job. There’s many jobs where people are idiots/waste your time – and if you know this going into it, you just make it part of your job to either cut your losses, or get very serious with your callers.

    As for the Consumerist video, it may be fake – don’t most landlines phones give you a busy signal after the party hangs up.

  58. ThinkerTDM says:

    Whoa! Am I reading what I think I am reading? People actually trying to justify telemarketers?
    Here are some myths:
    1. They are trying to make a living.
    Sure, they are. So are the people who send me (literally) 700 spam emails a day. So are people who steal identities. So are bank robbers. So what?

    2. It’s the only job they can get.
    Not true. At all. In the United States, the option is always open for people to quit. If you don’t like getting rude answers to your inane telemarketing questions, quit. Go to a community college. Write a book. Do something else. These people are lazy- because they refuse to better themselves.

    3. You really should be polite to telemarketers.
    No. I don’t. They are intruding in to my personal space- to sell me a product I do not need. Anyone who intrudes into my zone, my house, or into my general place on this planet without being invited needs to be dealt with harshly.

    4. You don’t have to answer the phone.
    Why not? It’s my phone.

    5. They have no choice of whom they call.
    Sure, they do. They can stand up, walk out of the call center, and be on their way to a better career within a week. No one is forcing them to call me.

    6. They will harrass you more if you don’t aquiese to their demands.
    If they want to sell something, they won’t call me. If they want to waste the time calling me, then they are going to starve.

    So- telemarketers deserve what they get, and then some.

  59. HeartBurnKid says:

    @Hastin: Mine didn’t when I had one; it just went dead. If you leave it off hook for a while, then it gets the loud busy signal.

    Oh, and to everybody saying how horrible and rude it is to mess with the telemarketers: telemarketers are scammers, pure and simple. They use high-pressure sales tactics to separate the gullible from their money. They are the worst of the worst. Especially the charity ones; try asking one of them how much of the donations go to the charity. By law, they have to tell you; regardless, most won’t. And if they do, it isn’t pretty.

    If I get a survey call, I gladly help them out if I’m not busy. If I get a political call, I get a bit annoyed, but I just tell them I’m not interested and move on. However, if I get a sales call, or (especially) a charity call, I give them one chance to leave me alone; if they start going high-pressure, or call me back, I let ’em have it. Hard. And they deserve it.

  60. HeartBurnKid says:

    @bobbleheadr: It takes 5 seconds, and half the time it doesn’t work. That’s the problem.

  61. BTW… NEVER say yes to a telewhore.

    Them there yeses get recorded and you never know but you might have just agreed to sell your children for $1.

  62. HeartBurnKid says:

    @ThinkerTDM: I agree with your point 2. At one point, I was desperate enough to actually take a telemarketing job. I quit after my first day, and never looked back.

  63. bwcbwc says:

    @SkokieGuy: Keeping him on the phone and running up the costs of the marketing company is one of the reasons for the whole process. It’s just the one marketing guy’s bad luck that he’s the one who hit the wise-guy on the auto-dialer. The only way to reduce telemarketing calls is to make it so that they are no longer cost-effective. If they’re going to call and waste my time, I have no sympathy for them. That being said, I don’t usually start entertaining myself until after I’ve declined their offer at least once. If they refuse to give up at that point, they’re fair game from my point of view.

  64. HeartBurnKid says:

    @joemono: Heh, funny thing there: before I did my one-day telemarketing job, I actually applied at a McDonald’s. And got told I didn’t have enough experience to work there. No joke. Granted, this was when I was 18 and hadn’t held a job, but still…

  65. ninjatoddler says:

    Would it have been easier if he’d just said “no” to everything?

    Are you having trouble with your credit score?
    Do you want to prove your credit score?
    We have services we can provid…
    Thank you sir and have a wonderful..

  66. sean77 says:

    This wasn’t a telemarketer though. It was a debt consolidation place calling back someone who had filled out an application.

    Debt consolidation people don’t need to cold call. They’ve got tons of customers.

  67. sean77 says:

    Here’s the best telemarketer phonecall ever:

    (warning, language)

  68. ClayS says:

    I haven’t had a telemarketing call in years, since I’ve been on the do not call list. That is business telemarketing calls. I’m still deluged with calls from charities and around election time, political messages.

  69. ClayS says:

    He sounded bloody pissed!

  70. BigSlowTarget says:

    1) I hate telemarketers, but love the janitor. Why? Telemarketers are people calling my business number, pulling me away from projects and wasting my time in an attempt to defraud, sell overpriced crap or displace existing business relationships. The janitor is a hard working guy doing real work that I would never be happy doing.
    2) The no-call list doesn’t work – otherwise I wouldn’t be getting calls. I would also be able to retire solely on fines generated by unsolicited faxes
    3) The ‘yes’ thing is cool but takes too much personal time and effort. I put together a looping MP3 with a two minute run that goes “mmhmm [wait] mmmhmm [wait] oh [wait] that sounds interesting, could you tell me more?” all with curious intonations and simply set the speakerphone by the PC speaker when someone calls.

  71. scerwup says:

    This was great, as were all the other videos everyone offered up for my pleasure.
    To all who say not to waste the telemarketers time and be nice to them… screw that.
    You call my phone, you listen to what I have to say, that’s that. You wanted to talk to me, then you either suffer through what I have to say or you hang up. If you don’t want to deal with that, don’t call me, easy as that.

  72. kable2 says:

    i like messing with them when they call me.

    the best ones are the scam calls, I keep them on the line and keep yanking their chain until they hang up. Actually when a call like that comes in people in the house pass the phone to me and laugh their ass off.

    i should really record some of them

    I also like messing with the johevas. When they come to the door i try and convert them to RC. or telling them they are unfit parents cause they would let their kid die instead of a blood transfusion or “why are you doing this? why should i convert when your heaven is full.”

    I chased a few and their kids out the driveway telling their kids to call social services because “you don’t have to live in a cult, the government will help find you parents who wont let you die….remember kids social services is the way out of the cult” hehe we were black listed with them and they would pass our house when doing their rounds after that.

    Jehovas and telemarketers make my day, I wish I would get more calls and knocks on the door……hehe

  73. @sean77:

    How nice. The farking telemarking company recorded the comments.

  74. @kable2:

    Your Jehovas comment made me smile.

    I was a young lad working the grave yard shift and had just barely gotten asleep when there a loud knock at the door.

    I went to the door

    (because the last time there had been such a knock the neighbors house was on fire and they wanted me to watch their kids)

    in my pj bottoms only.

    And opened the door to great the smiling Jehovah Witness ladies (or maybe Southern Baptist). Two of them. Middle age.

    Only problem was that I didn’t just open the front door of the house if you get my drift.

    I always wonder if I am going to hades for my transgression AND if I did it again would I be arrested?

  75. BarkingLeopard says:


    That’s definitely the way to do it. I’m not sure I like the idea of a “Yes” loop (I’d be afraid someone would ask all Yes or No questions, sign me up, and then bill me for something), but I like the idea of putting together a 5 minute loop of things like, “Talk more slowly, please.” “Hmmmmm…” “Mmmmmhmmmm” “Tell me more.” “Could you repeat that, sloooowly please?” “I’m sorry, could you hold for a second? [20-second pause] ” “I don’t know… I’m still not convinced”, “You can do better.” etc etc.

    Record a bunch of those with ~10 seconds of silence between them, put them on a loop, and see how long it takes for the telemarketer to realize they’re listening to a recording.

    As much as I believe in the Golden Rule and karma, doing the trick above might be fun for a time or two.

  76. AgentTuttle says:

    @MommaJ: BS. They call me on my phone, at my house, they are subject to my torment. I’ll bet you look forward to reading your spam too huh?

  77. RedSonSuperDave says:

    nthing the “why should I feel sorry for telemarketers” arguments. If you’re a telemarketer, by definition you are an asshole. “They’re just doing their jobs?” Bullshit! Crack dealers are just doing their jobs. The bum in the men’s room at the bus station who will suck your dick for a dollar is just doing his job. The difference between these people and telemarketers is that they are providing a service that there’s actually a demand for, rather than just harassing people.

    419 scammers are just doing their jobs, too. Hey, it’s legal in their country, why should you mind them flooding your inbox with deceptive messages about how you can get a million dollars if you’ll just give them your bank account tracking and social security numbers? They’re just trying to make a living, right?

    Wrong. 419ers and telemarketers are subhuman scum. Even the argument that they have no choice is a false one. If somebody is really unable to do any other job (giving them the benefit of the doubt here, maybe because they’re physically handicapped and can’t do any job unless it’s no more strenuous than talking on a phone), they can work in a LEGITIMATE call center taking incoming calls and providing customer service as a receptionist or dealing with angry Consumerist commenters upset that their phone service was switched to AT&T without their consent or something.

  78. caj11 says:

    I can’t believe the number of people here who actually defend telemarketers. While messing with telemarketers isn’t how I usually spend my time, they called me, I didn’t call them. What happens when they call is at their peril. Furthermore, I cannot believe that telemarketing is the only job option for some people, given the extremely high turnover rate in those boiler rooms.

    As a side note, Jim Florentine, one who has profited from telemarketers calling him by recording his antics with them and selling the results on CD, had a call doing just the opposite. A telemarketer called asking him if he was interested in some investment opportunity and he answered “NO” to every question, until the telemarketer asked “Is that your favorite word?” to which Jim answered “Uh, yes.” Keep on fighting, Jim!

  79. Thank god I got out of telemarketing now that the world is so full of people that get a kick out of fucking with them. But honestly? The BEST service I EVER sold while being a telemarketer was when I worked for a company that did calls for LDDS WorldCom. We would offer all sorts of weird shit for signing up for our phone service. Stuff like a honey roasted ham, or a phone card with Michael Jordan on it. I did sales for a new group they had selling 1-888 numbers to people. An actual service that people did’nt mind hearing about. I mean, you could have your own 888 number and your family could call you TOLL FREE and you would be billed like 5 or 10 cents per min. Even people who hung up on me would say “wow, this is actually a cool service….sorry not interested” before slamming the phone down. This was a few years ago and before cell phones were commonplace. I can only imagine what telemarketing is like now.

  80. @caj11:
    Don’t forget the one where Jim Florentine calls that one telemarketer “bitch” instead of “Mitch”. The telemarketer tries to suckerpunch Jim verbally but instead gets CLOBBERED by Jim’s smart-ass brilliance. Good stuff.

  81. sventurata says:

    Very entertaining. I like that the telemarketer broke script at the end and kept his cool.

    And, skokieguy, I realize you’re taking a lot of flack, but who wants to live in a society where we can’t make fun of others? That’s almost as harsh as the smug indifference of the “get a real job” types you’re taking on. Think about what you’re saying…

  82. ironchef says:

  83. ironchef says:
  84. I hate these fake videos like this sigh. So fake.

  85. jst07 says:

    Why are people sticking up for the telemarketing company. The guy is paid hourly, he gets paid reguardless. True more if he gets his sales, but they run on time schedules so just cause hes off the phone with one guy doesnt mean hes already on with another. I’ve worked the business before and this is not something to get your feathers ruffled up about in defense of the caller.

  86. P_Smith says:

    To those who defend telemarketers, address this fact:

    A homeowner can put a sign on a door saying “No soliciting”, and if a door-to-door salesman violates it, the homeowner can call the police and have the salesman arrested for trespassing, or maybe throw water on the door-to-door whore and legally claim self-defense.

    How exactly does one put a sign on the phone so telemarketers cannot call it?

    You can’t, can you? So because people can’t make their feelings known to telewhores before the call, you think that makes it alright for them to call?

    It doesn’t. Telewhores should be limited to an “opt in” list of calling numbers, to those who voluntarily choose to receive them.

    If you want telewhores calling you up to sell their junk, sign yourself on. I won’t because I don’t want to endure that annoyance or have my time wasted.

    I didn’t ask for the telewhores to call, which means they don’t have permission to call me.

  87. kable2 says:


    yea the jehovas are crazy, but fun to mess with their heads. Dis you know that they are not supposed to leave and as long as you stay there arguing with them they have to stay.

    The key to getting them on the go is to look up some of their crazy beliefs and them have them try and defend them.

    these are my favorites…..

    1) blood transfusions…..ask them if they would let their kid have one if they were in a car accident and the doctors said it was the only way to save them. Then start dumping on them for being unfit parents and say that the government should take their kids away.

    2) ask them about how many people are allowed in heaven. They believe that only 144,000 or some number and its full. so ask them why you should convert when your religion will get you into heaven, but theirs will leave you in limbo. For added effect tell them if they want to get into heaven they should convert to . Ask them why they are out wasting your time and theirs when “the gates are locked and the no vacancy light is on”

    3) ask them “if your child decided to leave your cult would you still be friends?” then when they say no tell them they are unfit parents.

    4) ask them why they stay in the cult. Is it because their parents will disown them? ant for added fun say that religion is only a way to keep the weak minded people under control.

    5) ask them general questions or to explain their beliefs and then make fun of them saying what retard would believe in that.

    6) when you want them to leave and for your house not to be bothered for at least 2 years say this to them ” sorry you will never get me back in that cult, i used to be in it when i was younger over in , by the way i am DISFELLOWED and dont like the way my family ignores me because i am too smart to be brain washed into a cult”

    When you say you are disfellowed, they are supposed to turn their back on you and shun you. You will then be added to the “avoid that house black list”.

  88. dragonfire1481 says:

    @jst07: Many telemarketing companies, especially the sleazier ones, work on commission only or something very close to it. If you don’t sell you don’t get paid (and promptly fired in most cases).

  89. Valhawk says:

    @SkokieGuy: You see, but then I can just file a chargeback, and get them fired by taking their company to small claims court for mail fraud. So they better tread lightly when it comes to fraudulent magazine subscriptions.

  90. MercuryPDX says:

    @bobbleheadr: Can you answer my phone at work? Maybe the guy trying to extend the warranty on my car and the other one who wants to consolidate my debt will listen to YOU when you tell them “This is an office. Please stop calling here.”

    In the meantime, I will put the speakerphone on with the mute button, and let them prattle off into space until they realize no one is responding and they hang up.

  91. SchuylerH says:

    No one else finds it fishy that when the telemarketer hangs up, we immediately hear a dial tone? Clever bit, but phony.

  92. Wow. There is a lot of anger here. I tend to put my vote in the “ignore” or “hang up” category. I odn’t respect what they’re doing, but even more so don’t want to sink to their level.

    Anyways, *yawn* I think the whole “let’s be a dick to the telemarketer” joke was done and over with when they did it on an episode of Seinfeld. Everything after that just seems like a dull knockoff. Seconds?

  93. battra92 says:

    I get telemarketers at work a lot and some are really crafty.

    Indian Woman: “Hello this is tech support for your copier. Can you please give me the model number?”
    Me: What one?
    Indian Woman: all of them please
    Me: Don’t you have that? (I knew she was a fake so I played dumb employee)
    Indian Woman: It’s the number on the front or the top usually.
    Me: Why do you want that?
    Indian Woman: Sir we need to know that for our records.
    Me: Well you should know what we have or else send the tech to look at them.
    Indian Woman: Sir, please can you get that number for our records.
    Me: Wait, is this Xerox?
    Indian Woman: CLICK!

    I like to catch them in their lies and make them keep lying until they can’t get out except by hanging up on me.

  94. dallasmay says:

    Yeah, that was pretty funny. I’m not for “tormenting telemarketers”, in fact playing games with them just legitimizes them, but it was funny. That said the telemarketer was funny too.

    “Are you a moron?”
    “Good, just getting that on record.”

    He probably played that to his friends later too.

  95. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    You were part of the problem. Telemarketers need to have their time wasted so that companies stop employing them. They are a drain on the system. They make things more expensive and produce nothing. The sooner that job is eliminated the better off society will be.

  96. SkokieGuy says:

    Hey all, now Tuesday and I want to make one last comment to the thread. I am totally NOT defending telemarketers. I am suggesting in a civilized world we avoid random cruelty to strangers.

    The time wasting and intrusion most of you resent is minimized by “No thank you” – click. All this toying and teasing and messing with telemarketers is taking up YOUR time. Many of you don’t like telemarketers, I don’t either. I also don’t like the sample people in the aisles of grocery stores. I don’t like being asked to sign up for an discount card at every retail store I shop at.

    The constitution doesn’t guarantee the right to go through life without irritation. Should we all ‘mess with’ the clerk at Border’s who is required to ask us if we want to sign up for a membership? Why not waste 10 minutes of your life messing with them?

    I am not arguing to support telemarketers. I wouldn’t mind if the industry dissapeared. I am simply arguing that we live in a mean ugly world where the impersonal nature of the internet has created a shift where it is okay to be hostile to strangers.

    I’m arguing about being a kinder gentler person. And while you’re moving in that direction, you’ll also have an extra few minutes of your life that you didn’t waste messing with telemarketers. A win – win.

  97. stacye says:

    My telemarketing story: Some “insurance survey” company kept calling my house. During the first call I helped them out. I used to work as a survey cold caller, and I have sympathy for those folks. (Hint: They actually prefer you hang up, rather than listen to their entire spiel). But they started asking for really sensitive information, and I didn’t feel comfortable continuing the call, so I politely told them I was ending the survey, and they shouldn’t call my house anymore.

    They continued to call during the week, and during the weekend at 9am on the weekend, or 6 – 10pm on the weekday. Every time they called I informed them I would file a complaint with the FTC, that I’m on the Do Not Call registry, and that they needed to stop calling me. They didn’t.

    They called again one day at 6pm, right after a really sucky day at work. I let them go through their script and started answering their questions by rattling off animal species. When the guy asked me what I was doing I told him, “I used to do this, and I know your AHT should be around 3 minutes. I’m going to keep you on the phone as long as possible, and jack up your AHT. The only way I’ll stop doing this is if you take me off your list, and you never call me again. And I promise you, I will do this to every person that calls here.” He laughed, asked me to stop, and I told him if he could assure me he wouldn’t call again, that I would hang up (they couldn’t hang up on me).

    He did, and I haven’t had a call back from them since. (It’s been 4 months now)

  98. Wormfather is Wormfather says:


  99. GrantDenn says:

    @SkokieGuy: If he convinces the guy to leave his job in marketing, he’s doing him a favor.

  100. Ubik2501 says:

    Back when I used to have a landline, I’d just hang up or say “Sorry, not interested” before doing so. A local newspaper, however, kept calling almost daily even though I repeatedly requested that they stop and put me on their do not call list. So one time, I stayed on the line but pretended to be completely obsessed with bread. Every sentence from them would lead to a question about bread, every question from them would get a bread-related answer, and so forth.

    “And at our low new rates, it only cost [X] per day-“
    “Wait, does it come with bread?”
    “Uhhhh, no, but-“
    “How do you expect to sell newspapers if they don’t come with bread?”

    “So, sir, what’s your favorite section of the newspaper?”
    “The bread section. Especially if there’s a good article on banana bread.”

    And so on and so forth. I felt kind of bad leading the poor girl on for a good ten minutes, but it was worth doing once.

  101. Starfury says:

    I don’t get a lot of calls from telemarketers but when I do there are a few responses:

    1. Give phone to one of the kids. This was more fun when they were 4.
    2. Hang up.
    3. Say No and then hang up
    4. Ask them to hold (not my dime) and put the phone down and walk away.
    5. Tell them I’m robbing the place
    6. Ask them to hold, load a game up and let them enjoy the sounds of tanks and machine gun fire.

    Not my fault they got a crappy job and that they decided to call me.

  102. lihtox says:

    I boycott Walmart; should I feel guilty that I’m depriving its employees of some income? Should I feel terrible for wanting to see Best Buy go out of business? Wasting a telemarketer’s time is the only way I have to hurt the telemarketing firm’s bottom line. Verbally assaulting a telemarketer is not cool, but wasting their time sounds fine to me.

    All this toying and teasing and messing with telemarketers is taking up YOUR time.
    So what? I waste time every day; nor is the time wasted, because you might get a funny story out of it, or a sense of accomplishment to replace the “Stupid telemarketer!” feeling which can hover over us temperamental types. Besides, the irritation of a telemarketer (for me at least) isn’t the time lost talking to them, it’s the scrambling for the phone and the disappointment.

    Not everyone bills by the hour.

  103. mizmoose says:

    @Coles_Law: Holy cow, if you’re giving away your last 4 digits of your SSN, gimme! I need a new identity…

  104. jclpdx says:

    Yes..Yes…Yes…uh oh hot dog.

  105. Smitherd says:

    I pulled this off a couple of minutes ago. The conversation went basically the same as the one in the video, except she wanted to verify the DOB and she didn’t call me a moron at the end of the call. She did say, however, that if I wasn’t going to verify that she would be forced to discontinue the call.

    Oh well. Boring conversation anyway.

  106. HeartBurnKid says:

    “The time wasting and intrusion most of you resent is minimized by “No thank you” – click. All this toying and teasing and messing with telemarketers is taking up YOUR time.”

    True, but it’s time well-spent, and I go back to what I’m doing laughing rather than angry that some douchebag interrupted me.

    Many of you don’t like telemarketers, I don’t either. I also don’t like the sample people in the aisles of grocery stores. I don’t like being asked to sign up for an discount card at every retail store I shop at.

    Different animals entirely. You can walk right by the sample people without any incident, and the discount card pitch takes one second while you’re already in line. Telemarketers, on the other hand, interrupt a really good meal, or my favorite movie, or distract me and make me lose my last life on the final boss of a really hard game. And they’re doing it to scam money off of me by selling me useless products for more than they’re worth in deceptive ways, or soliciting money “for charity” and keeping the lion’s share for themselves. They’re irritating, they’re annoying, and they’re scuzzbuckets.

    The constitution doesn’t guarantee the right to go through life without irritation.

    The constitution also doesn’t guarantee telemarketers a 3-minute handle time.

  107. deadspork says:

    I agree with Starfury, if you ask them to hold and just leave them hanging, it costs the company money but it doesn’t waste you of your time. And you won’t leave a telemarketer crying, they’re probably already suicidal anyway.

    I used to work for a company that did outbound sales calls. I sold credit cards for a grand total of about 4 days. It was the worst job I’d ever had, and not just because of the cold-calling. The management was crap, we were treated poorly, never rewarded for doing well but always punished if we messed up. In my lifetime I’ve walked out on only two jobs (I’ve had many!) and this was one of them. I didn’t even walk out on McDonald’s!

  108. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @SkokieGuy: “I am not arguing to support telemarketers. I wouldn’t mind if the industry dissapeared. I am simply arguing that we live in a mean ugly world where the impersonal nature of the internet has created a shift where it is okay to be hostile to strangers.

    They’re inconveniencing me, I’m going to inconvenience them. This isn’t personal, it’s business. I’m going to turn myself as irritating as possible to be put on the “hostile” list. I’m not going about it to be cruel, I’m doing it so they leave me alone. Don’t believe in the “hostile, do not call list” do you? I never signed for up for a DNC list and have had my telemarketing calls drop to near zero, even political BS calls have stopped for the most part. The ones I get are the desperate, and I abuse them mercilessly to maintain my rating.

    I don’t hate them, nor am I into cruelty. The simple fact is: it works really freakin’ well at severely limiting the calls.

  109. r4__ says:

    @bobbleheadr: it would, except they usually hang up when you start saying that or the words “do not call list” so that they don’t have to actually go through the act of removing you from the list.

  110. Bloodboiler says:

    Caller ids and ditching land lines don’t help for long. Finnish telemarketers have already switched to calling cell phones and calling from normal not secret numbers. The bastards even call from cell phone numbers and try to hide the fact that they are selling something.

    I’m tempted to make the next caller help me test my fire alarm, but I’m just not that cruel. I may just come up with an improvised audio play where something horrible happens in the background.

  111. WiZZLa says:


  112. My favorite encounter was getting an illegal pushpoll call during a local election campaign that I was administering.
    “excuse me sir are you voting in the next *** election?”
    “No I am not.”
    “Well can we at *** ask why not?”
    “because I’m the chief election officer and I only break ties.”

  113. nsv says:

    Being nice to telemarketers assumes that they’ve called you at a time which is not inconvenient for you.

    I used to work 12 hour night shifts, and EVERY telemarketing call woke me up.

    When this happens several times a day, I do get a bit cranky. Imagine getting telemarketing calls at three in the morning. Would you politely say “I’m not interested, please remove my name from your list, thank you, have a nice day”?

  114. memphis9 says:

    My husband is so danged nice saying no even to the boiler room “law enforcement” non-charities that I just know I’m a horrible person by comparison. But he does tend to go nuclear on the occasional pollster. “I have to choose between candidate “A” or “B” only?” “You’ve just asked me 14 questions about Iraq and now you want to know if I take a cholesterol medication?”

    I’ll give telemarketers this – you generally can figure out what they want from you, and in the first 60 seconds of the call.

  115. RvLeshrac says:


    I get telemarketing calls on my home phone, on my cell phone, all over the place. They refuse to hang up unless I hang up on them first.

    What *should* happen is that they *should* be legally liable for the use of my time over the first minute or so. I’d be happy to talk to them for an hour after my first “Sorry, I’m not interested” if I was pulling my standard $50/hr consulting fee, especially when they’ve called while I’m on a job.

    I frequently point out that it isn’t even *legal* to telemarket to my cellphone number, and their answer seems to be to simply call back from a different number.

    What’s far worse, though, is bill collectors. The telemarketers at least leave my voicemail alone – but the bill collectors will leave ten minutes long diatribes. I’ve tried being nice and telling them that Joe Foozle is not at this number many times. I’ve tried being a little more firm with them.

    The real kicker, though, was when I finally got sick of it and spent a good three minutes or so screaming at one of them – to which the response was “Well, you don’t have to talk to me like that.”

    There’s a reason we do these things – I’m perfectly nice to most telemarketers, and I try to be patient with the six-year-old-phone-number bill collectors, but they REFUSE to stop calling. Perhaps if they paid attention when we told them not to bother us, we wouldn’t constantly belittle and berate them.

  116. RvLeshrac says:


    Totally forgot about that one!

    That’s easily the most irritating call to get. Especially when you’ve JUST gone to sleep at 6 or 7 AM and they start wardialing you at 8. Even worse when you’re on call and can’t simply take the phone off the hook.

  117. RedSonSuperDave says:

    @RvLeshrac: If I’m not feeling particularly creative, my “go-to” method of dealing with telemarketers is to tell them that they are calling my business line, and that I do computer troubleshooting and support over the phone. My rates are $75 for the first minute and $35 per minute after that. Then I tell them that the clock is running, and I will be happy to talk to them about whatever it is they’re trying to sell, but I need to get their billing information first. Whatever they say, I just keep telling them, “I’m sorry, I need a valid form of billing information before this call can continue any further,” and maybe give them occasional updates on how much they owe me.

  118. biswalt says:

    @stacye: Not sure if this applies, but since it was a survey the do not call list might not apply, the do not call list only covers commercial enterprises. Scientific and sociological surveys are excluded and some have truly random dialers. I worked for a survey place for one day. So if it was some organization collecting data on behalf of the insurance industry or something then it was probably not affected by the do not call list.

  119. redkamel says:

    well usually I ask to be taken off the list. If they call back again, I either hang up or deal with them HARSHLY. For some time I would get calls, always from a different man with a thick asian accent asking if Jeff such and such was there. Every day. For 2 weeks. I explained this was the wrong number multiple times. Of course I got pissy.

    skokie, it is acceptable to make fun of people. Sorry. And I feel no remorse. If you are a telemarkerter, this is part of your job because everyone hates your phone calls.

    Maybe one day companies will realize I am more likely to like them if I never have to deal with BS from them. For example: Amazon: The only time I hear from them is: receipt, shipped, package. Best Buy: still emails me stupid offers (although I boycott BB for other reasons too)

  120. RvLeshrac says:


    I don’t think anyone seriously minds the real, legitimate survey calls. Unfortunately, it gets harder to tell the real surveys from the fake “We’re just asking questions to lead into a sales pitch” calls.

  121. that was funny.

  122. banmojo says:

    Priceless, simply priceless. I would have ended with “No, but your job is moronic” *SLAM*