I’m starting to look forward to the next telemarketer who asks me for money or the next business that tries to push unwanted services in my direction. Since I got rid of Caller ID, I’ve been picking up the phone more often. If it rings between 6 and 9 p.m. there’s a good chance it’s a charity, arts organization or semi-legitimate business hoping to make a hole in my pocket.
Charities and arts organizations aren’t too bad and I would consider sending them a few bucks if I had their assurance that my name and phone number wouldn’t end up on the mailing and calling lists of every other worthy cause in the nation. And in fact, I donate regularly to Purple Hearts and am pretty much a soft touch for anything veteran-related, especially when it involves contributing goods instead of money.
I am a Suspicious Aloysius when it comes to people trying to sell me services I don’t need or trying to guilt me into parting with my money. Some of the most aggressive telemarketers are those folks who call on behalf of police functions. When I politely informed the caller that I donated through my employment and my church and had made all my donations for the year, he questioned me. “You don’t support law enforcement?” I roared back with the equivalent of “I’ll enforce YOU!” and asked for his name and his supervisor’s name. He backed off, a wounded and chastened cur slinking off into telespace, phone between his legs.
Another opportunity arose the other day when I contacted a tech provider to get some over-the-phone help. The assistant I got was more interested in selling me services I didn’t want or need than actually helping me to solve the problem. I politely refused one such service, repeating at least three times that I didn’t have the budget for it. But if I had the presence of mind, the conversation would have gone more like this:
Tech Dude: This service is very inexpensive, it’s less than $11 a month!
Me: Sorry, but it’s not in my budget.
Tech Dude: For only $10.95 a month you can have this service!
Me: You wanna repeat my last sentence?
Tech Dude: But it’s only $10.95 a month! That’s less than a tank of gas!
Me: Since you think it’s so necessary that I have this service and you feel it’s so inexpensive, am I to infer that you are willing to personally pay for it so that I can have it?
Tech Dude: [silence]
And that is what the next phone-beggar will get from me. If it’s that important to you that I buy your service or make a donation for which I have no budget, I will turn the tables and ask you for the money.
Bring it on.