Sunday, June 7, 2009

Take My Money...Please!

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.

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