Rocky’s Bridal Boutique

Earlier this week I commented that I try not to be angry at callers on the telephone. They can call at inconvenient times, such as during meals or when I’m watching TV. Sometimes caller ID works and I know who is calling, so I don’t always answer if I don’t want to talk to them. (“The Red Cross is calling again? Don’t answer the phone—I don’t have time to donate more blood this week.”) Many times, though, caller ID will display just the number. Even though I don’t recognize it, I will take the call, because sometimes it is a family member or friend calling, even though the telephone didn’t recognize the caller.

I was a telemarketer when I was in graduate school—the job helped pay for my classes and textbooks. My job was not high-pressure sales; the company was offering to place magazines in churches for the members to purchase. I talked with a lot of pastors, a lot of church office secretaries, and various other people. Once I made a sale merely because I pronounced the pastor’s name correctly. Very rarely was anyone rude to me, even when my call interrupted more important things.

In 2014 I became more involved in politics. Every time a telemarketer called to conduct a political opinion poll, I was happy to answer all their questions. I took a lot of calls like that in 2014; it seemed like every week someone wanted to know my opinion. It was as if I was on a list of people who were willing to answer questions. Last winter I decided not to talk to polltakers on the telephone. After a few calls, they stopped. No one asked for my opinion in the spring or summer or fall. I’m not surprised the polls failed to predict the outcome of the election—the sampling clearly is skewed by their focus upon people willing to talk to them.

One time, a caller did manage to make me lose my temper, but I recovered. I was working at a church. One day the phone rang at 8:30 in the morning. I answered, but no one spoke to me; after a second or two, the caller hung up the phone. That happened the next day, and the next, and the next. (This was before caller ID was common.) The day it made me angry was when the silent caller made me run from the bathroom to answer the phone. But then I realized that making me angry might be the reason for the calls. (Another possibility is that someone felt compelled to check, to see if I actually was showing up to work.)

I decided that, rather being angry, I would have some fun with the situation. The next morning when the phone rang at 8:30, I answered with “Public Library, Children’s Department,” instead of the name of the church. The next day, I used, “Police Office, Vice Desk.” Every day I tried to use something unique. My favorite line was “Rocky’s Bridal Boutique.” I used that one more than once.

One day when I answered the phone with one of those lines, a voice responded to me. It happened to be a telemarketer calling the church. We both had a good laugh, and then I listened politely to the sales pitch before saying no. Oddly, the silent calls ended at that very time and never returned.

I am generally polite with telemarketers, but sometimes I try to have fun with them. Those men with south Asian accents who want to sell me software to correct imaginary problems with my computer probably think I’m an idiot. As they instruct me to press a certain button on the keyboard, I stall with questions like, “Does it matter which hand I use to push that button? Would it work if I used my nose?” If I’m not in a playful mood, I tell them that I have googled the name of their company, and I know that they are a scam. They haven’t called in a while either.

The telephone can be a useful device, even though most of the time it’s an annoyance. Even when it annoys me, though, I try not to let anger build. Life is too short for that kind of anger, and the people who are calling are just trying to earn a paycheck. Except for the times that the caller is a machine. J.

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5 thoughts on “Rocky’s Bridal Boutique

  1. “Does it matter which hand I use to push that button? Would it work if I used my nose?” – Hahaha, good one! I have a similar mindset; when a friend told me about a mindfulness course she’s taking and how strange she feels that she has to “look at, sniff at, and then LISTEN to my food!”, I told her I’d probably go: “O yes! I can hear it! This raisin is desperate to go back to his mummy!” Or: “Oooh, I can hear the sea!”

    We both laughed and were then openly grateful I am not part of the course :’) Sometimes people get too serious and they deserve a little laugh. Most of the times I am very businesslike when it comes to telemarketers, though, and I just kindly tell them I am not interested and hang up. Whenever I have someone on the phone about a complaint regarding their company, I always remember the people on the phone aren’t the ones who caused the problem. I’ve had my fair share of people shouting at me for something I didn’t do, I don’t want to be like them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to think of myself having a high threshold for telemarketers; maybe I’m the guy that typically they want to call. But the one group I can’t handle are push polls…where they call trying to sound like they are doing a survey but they are trying to get you to vote for their agenda.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joe just called again. This time he is with Helping Hands and Royal Cruise Line. I told him that I couldn’t hear him, but he kept on talking. He was offering free cruises to qualified travelers in unbooked cabins. I asked what a qualified traveler is, and he paused and then talked about the cost–evidently the question he was programmed to expect. This time I responded, “Logic is a chirping bird.” After a longer pause, Joe said, “I don’t know the answer to that question. I can connect you with a specialist, OK?” Of course I said no and goodbye and hung up the phone. My family says I’m having too much fun with this. J.

    Liked by 2 people

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