Don’t Phone, Please

I don’t think telemarketers quite get it. My daughter has been getting bugged by calls from an 800-number. She asked me today if I could get them to stop. For me, that’s an easy solution. And for many, maybe most adults, it’s quite simple. Answer the phone and request that the calls cease.

My daughter and I (who still have our 816 area code, by the way) were getting tons of robocalls from Republicans in December. There’s no real way to stop them. They don’t identify*. The only solace is that by election night you know they’ll be moving on to another state–hopefully not Missouri.

So yes, the operator to whom I spoke earlier today was truth-talking (I’m sure) when she said, “All your daughter had to do was to answer the phone two months ago and tell us it was the wrong number.” But there are other truths here. Some teens are still children in some aspects. Some young people don’t like talking to adults. Some adults don’t like to talk to teens, nor do they listen to them. Sometimes when you’re calling a number for two months and you don’t get any results, you chalk it up to the other person–whoever they are–not wanting to talk to you for any reason. And during an election year, sometimes even adults don’t want to be bothered talking to strangers. Sometimes you don’t need to talk to get the message.

Meanwhile, I will encourage my daughter to stand up for herself and, when appropriate, tell strangers who call her to stop the attempts and remove her number from their lists. For her part, the young miss will probably remind me that teenagers usually roll their eyes, grunt, and/or mumble, and that usually is enough to scare away the adults.

* Personally, I would prefer to see no anonymous calls at all anywhere. I think if every caller had to identify herself or himself, and communicate that in some way, we would have a greater level of honesty and truthfulness in telephony.

About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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8 Responses to Don’t Phone, Please

  1. David D. says:

    Telemarketer is the only job I’ve ever quit. In fact I walked out in the middle of a shift without a ride and several miles from home. That’s why I’m usually nice when receiving such calls though fundraising calls from schools I’ve attended really try my patience.

    • Todd says:

      Man, are we brothers or what? The second day, on lunch hour of a commission-only calling job, I walked away and biked 12 miles home. My only other outright quit was with my alma mater. Same gig.

      • Liam says:

        My first real job (that is, other than mowing lawns and the like) was telephone solicitation for Borden insulation (yes, of Elsie the Cow fame) in the summer of 1978, canvassing NYC and LI via the Cole Directory (people nowadays have no idea what a treasure that directory was in those days), and we were instructed in what census data would indicate people or blocks we were *not* to call….

        Anyway, I rarely made my quota, but lasted 6 weeks, and was told that I was only kept on for so long because people liked me. (A Sally Field moment it was not, however. Nor Stuart Smalley.) The average tenure on the job was about 10 days. The champs were the girls who could do accents well; respondents responded well to light English and light vaguely Germanic inflections.

        It was an *awful* job. I wondered if I would ever make my way in the world. The 70s were like our current times, in economic terms (the crime was WAY worse then, though; how we forget): bleak for young people who were not lucky enough to be in the few booming areas.

  2. Patti says:

    Try this, it won’t block all of them, but there should be some decrease:

    https://www.donotcall.gov/

  3. crystal says:

    One of my first jobs was telemarketing too – I lasted just the one day before quitting :)

  4. Deb says:

    I’m on the do not call registry. I have filed complaints. I still get robocalls offering to lower my interest rate or other telemarketing scheme. I have bill collectors trying to collect for some bill, which isn’t mine but the person who had the cell phone number before me and skipped out on his Sallie Mae loans. Some people are nice when I explain that I now have the phone number; others aren’t so nice. I do a reverse look-up to get a general idea where the phone call is originating from, but I can’t get details unless I’m willing to pony up some $$. The commentary indicates that a lot of the calls are scams.

    We were able to stop some of calls that my daughter received when they were notified that she was a minor.

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