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Annoying telemarketers.

  1. Aug 17, 2004 #1
    Yeah, we all get these calls. Yeah, I used to be one (well, technically I did surveys).
    Well, they’ve been calling like 5 times a day lately, mostly no answer probably because their system is slow in switching the auto dialler to an operator.

    Anyway, I just got a call from a company; let’s call them AT&T, wondering if I’d like to buy their great new cell phone and plan. Of course I don’t, but I don’t mind talking with them. I figure I’ll annoy them while they’re annoying me. I’m not being rude or anything, just asking lots of dumb questions. I already asked if it was a full-duplex or half-duplex phone, if I could opt out of the 25cent 911 fee and things like that. I asked about the built in camera’s resolution settings and the lady couldn’t find it…so I scheduled a call back for tomorrow. So I was wondering what other dumb technical sounding questions should I ask? LoL, I’m really bored. :tongue2:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2004 #2
    A lame idea:

    You could pretend to be really dumb and ask:
    You: Now does this phone come with a charger?
    Expected Ans: Oh yes of course Sir.
    You: Does the charger have a 'line' that connects to the phone?
    Expected Ans: What do you mean a 'line'? OR Yes it does Sir!
    You: So, I can go fishing with it then?
    Expected Ans: I beg your pardon!
    You: You see, I like to go fishing and if I buy a phone, I would expect it to have a line so I can use it to fish!
    You: You know, I bought this one cellphone a while ago and they told me it had a very good line! And I went fishing with it like I always do and I you wouldn't believe it! I didn't catch any fish AT ALL!! So I want to be sure that your phone line will actually work you see. Does it come with the fishing hook and everything?
  4. Aug 17, 2004 #3
    Now, I suppose you could save this for the end after you've run out of all possible questions! :smile:
  5. Aug 17, 2004 #4
    where have you been? Sign up with the do not call list with the government. If a telemarketer calls you and you are signed up for the list, they will be fined a hefty amount by the US government.
  6. Aug 17, 2004 #5
    Hahah ah i just read the side of you profile its says your in Canada :biggrin:
  7. Aug 17, 2004 #6
    I'm so polite (desperate for companionship), and they have so much to say without a pause, I just lay the phone on my chest and let them prattle on. It helps me sleep better knowing I have a friend nearby. :smile:
  8. Aug 17, 2004 #7
    Hehe, I was gonna say grave...
    But yeah, I don't mind if they call, I just don't like it when it's a recording or when there's no answer on the other line. Bring on the telemarketers I say. I always have fun.
  9. Aug 17, 2004 #8


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    Well, with that sort of attitude, Canada will never have a do not call list...LOL! That's okay, keep them occupied, I'm sure the rest of the people on their list that they didn't have time to call will be happy you intervened tonight.

    Hmm...I'm much better with obscene callers than telemarketers. With telemarketers, I'm usually stick with something like, "My consulting fee is $300/hour, minimum of one hour, if you'd like to discuss this with me, we can schedule an appointment as soon as you tell me where to send the bill for my charges." (I just make up the amount depending on my mood.) More often, I just used to hang up on them. Now that we have the do not call list, I haven't been bothered other than by the ocassional charity. I used to sometimes just tell them I was busy, please call me back tomorrow around 3 in the afternoon (when I'm at work...they can talk to my answering machine all they want).

    Okay, but I'm not above being amused by telemarketer torture. So...if it's for a cell phone, you could ask them about international plans. If you wanted to sound really dumb, you could ask if it counts as an international call if you call the US (though that's usually more believable when someone in the US asks that about Canada...you'd be amazed how many people in the US are dumb enough to not realize going to Canada is international travel! Or maybe you wouldn't be that amazed.) You could then go through a whole list of countries and ask if each is an international call. Then, list a few provinces...never know what answer you might get there! Name a few obscure villages on another continent and ask what the rate is to call there.

    Oh, and how about asking them how long the cord is for the charger. Tell them you often forget to charge the phone until the battery runs out completely, and then you have to make calls while it's charging, so how far will the cord reach? And what about the car charger? Is the cord long enough to reach the backseat? Cuz you wouldn't want to miss a call while...oh, nevermind. And if you use the hands-free attachment, will the earphone part give you brain cancer, or ear cancer? And what about the phone then being clipped to your waist, will it give you cancer in some other organs?

    Oh, and you could find some obscure song that you insist you have to have as a ringtone (maybe your high school fight song or something equally unlikely to be available from any mass market site for ring tones) and ask them if they have it, or exactly which site you would have to go to get that tone?

    Don't forget to ask about insurance and what's covered. Is dropping the phone in the ocean covered? Do you have to catch the phone and prove it drowned, or will they just take your word for it? What about dropping it in the toilet? Do they want it back to repair if you do that? Accidentally running it over with your car? How big is the phone? Is it small enough for your Great Dane to swallow? If he does swallow it, is that covered by insurance? What about just dog slobber on the phone? Or if the dog chews on it but doesn't swallow it?

    You could also pretend someone else is on call-waiting and keep making them hold. Just put the phone on mute for a bit.

    Do you have local number portability in Canada? That's where you get to keep your phone number even if you change companies. Either way, you can ask for details about that. If they don't have it there, you can tell them you heard the people in the US have it (we do), and ask if they plan to get it, and when?

    How long do you think it will take for this telemarketer to realize you don't plan to actually buy the phone? Do you think they will even call you back, or was that just their strategy to get rid of you and your 10,000 questions?

    Please report back :-)
  10. Aug 17, 2004 #9


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    But you must insist on singing it for them first!! Of course it will take several trys for you to get the tune and lyrics right, so they will have to listen to it several times while you try to remember how it goes.
  11. Aug 17, 2004 #10


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    Ooh, that's even better! Take it a step further and don't really know the song or tune very well. "There was this song, I heard it once, and remember thinking it would be a great ring tone, I have to have that. It went something like....um...la la la love da dum da la la something, something, mine. Oh, wait, no, maybe it was more like...dee dee dee something, la la baby, something something something love." Just pick some generic words that are in pretty much every song ever written...love, baby, sweet, blue eyes. Or, it could be a country song...something about someone's girl leaving him, and he's left with nothing but his pick-up truck and dog. Of course, you're Canadian, so you could ask for a Stompin' Tom ringtone. I'm hopeful that such a thing doesn't exist :wink:
  12. Aug 17, 2004 #11
    Haha, thanks a lot people. I'll use some of your suggestions. The longest I’ve ever kept a telemarketer on was for about 40 minutes. They were trying to sell newspapers so my questions became more and more ridiculous as the call went on…asking about what type of trees the paper was made from, its density so that I could construct world class paper boats with it, if they’d mind editing out all the bad news so as not to upset me. Etc.

    One of the funnier calls I’ve had, I guess the rule for the telemarketer was that they’re not allowed to hang up the phone first. So I just told them I wasn’t too interested and said goodbye, so the lady said ‘goodbye sir’. For some reason I said ‘goodbye’ again…but so did she… Hmmm I thought, so I said bye again and heard ‘goodbye sir’. This went on for about 5 minutes, I kid you not. All the while, the woman sounded just as cheerful. I decided to see what happens if I don’t say anything for a bit. So I kept increasing the intervals between when I’d say goodbye again. I got to 30 seconds or more of complete silence. By that time my sister had noticed and so I gave her the phone and said, “Just say goodbye.” Sure enough, the woman on the other end said goodbye. I said it a few more times when I heard on the other end someone in the background yell, “JUST HANG UP THE GODDAMN PHONE ALREADY!!!”

    Haha, that was fun.
  13. Aug 18, 2004 #12


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    They're not allowed to hang up first? Hmmm...apparently none of the ones who called me ever knew this. I got them to hang up on me often enough.

    My favorite one though wasn't really a telemarketer, it was someone trying to get customers for his landscaping business. I had just moved into my house, so he must have gotten the new listings to call. He started out asking for Mr. .... Mistake #1. So, I already know this is someone just cold-calling that they don't know I don't have a husband. He then explains he is looking for the person in the household responsible for the lawncare. So, I ask something like, "Then why did you automatically ask for my husband?" Of course I already know the answer is that he's sexist and assumes a woman answering the phone won't know anything about lawncare. I don't recall exactly how the conversation degenerated from there, but I think I pretty quickly told him I wasn't interested in his services, at which point he asked me, "Well, how do you plan to maintain your lawn?" (Did I mention he was sexist and rude?) This was asked with quite a good deal of attitude, such that the only correct way to interpret this question was that he didn't think I knew how and couldn't possibly get by without his service. Yeesh. I answered something pretty flippant, like, "I guess I'll just figure it out as I go along." He dared respond with, "You must think you're pretty smart, don't you." (This guy had clearly been inhaling too many insecticides to think this was a viable sales pitch.) Well, I don't know what he was expecting for an answer, but he didn't seem happy with, "Actually, yes I do, and it's not like lawncare requires any intelligence." That's when he hung up on me. For a moment I was a bit stunned over the entire exchange, that someone would have that sort of attitude when trying to solicit new customers, but then I just started laughing...I don't think I gave him one single answer he had predicted. I guess he'd never been put in his place by a woman before.
  14. Aug 18, 2004 #13
    I love to pretend I don't speak english, and misinterpret everything the telemarketers say. In fact, I actually get quite a thrill from doing so.

    wow,that's quite an experience, moonbear. :redface:
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2004
  15. Aug 18, 2004 #14


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    Except that AT&T and other phone companies are exempt from the DNC list.

    The telemarketers are also moving their operations overseas, where they also are exempt from the DNCL.
  16. Aug 18, 2004 #15
    The best joke in the world to play when some callcenter n00b calls you is persisting they are a sex-line.

    A female friend of mine gave me the idea (she used it on guys).
    When you get a girl on the line, act as if she was some erotic-line calling YOU, instead of they being called.

    Its a bit obcene, but it WILL get you on their blacklist (as in they won't call you again).
    Its simple, just ask the person on the phone to talk dirty to you, in about 30 seconds (some last longer, trying to start their scrip about whatever they wan't to sell you) they hang up on you and you'll never hear from them again.
    No need to talk dirty yourself, just keep asking them to do it.

    When with a couple of friends, it a good laugh, and it will free you of irritating call during dinner.
  17. Aug 18, 2004 #16
    You should have asked for an example of the sort of articles in the paper.
    Then ask her if she could read an article to you, and another, and another and.......

    After a couple (if the caller is dumb enough) tell him/her you have to go.
    But ask also if they can call you again the day after for the latest news :P
  18. Aug 18, 2004 #17


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    Geesh, I'll bet you folks have a lot of fun at the McDonald's drive-thru. "I'll have a mmmbrgrshllbot and dmshmbltn and shremklinlgn, please."

    This obviously isn't the same crowd that shows so much sympathy for folks trying to make a living on minimum wage .... or maybe it is. If McDonalds paid more than minimum wage, there probably wouldn't be so many folks willing to become telemarketers.

    Just try learning how to say "No". Hint: It's only one word, not an entire sentence (although, sometimes, if I'm in a really good mood, I might expand that to "No, thanks.")

    "I'm not really interested because I save more with the credit card I have" but "Yes, but does your card give out free frequent flier miles?" Any reason you give just prompts them to a new screen with a rebuttal.

    Until you finally get frustrated and scream into the phone "How many times do I have to tell you NO!, you stupid idiot!!??" "Just twice, ma'am." (Oh, wait, they'd never reveal that secret information, even to a 'customer' who hasn't been able to actually mouth the word "NO" even once, yet.)

    I had a teacher who once put the following question on his Physics test:

    "What is the name of the school janitor?"

    Fortunately, it was only worth the same amount of points as the rest of the physics questions, because I certainly had no idea. It's easy to treat 'the menial help' as if they're not really there. (But, we all did learn his name and most of us even talked to him once in awhile after that -- nice guy).
  19. Aug 18, 2004 #18


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    Nope, BobG, janitors outrank telemarketers any day in my book! To me, anyone taking the job of telemarketer knows the job involves annoying people, so it's an ethical choice. If they call me and I didn't give them my number to do so, then they are consenting to me torturing them at will. I've never not known the name of the janitor at my workplace either, and have never been above stopping to chat with them on occassion. This has nothing to do with whether they earn minimum wage, and everything to do with them interrupting me in my home to conduct their business.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2004
  20. Aug 18, 2004 #19
    *sigh* They never called back. Jerks.
  21. Aug 18, 2004 #20


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    Aw, check, that's too bad...guess they were onto you :wink:
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