Tormenting Telemarketers

Subject: Tormenting Telemarketers
From: (David L. Cathey)
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 93 4:30:02 EST

Tormenting Telmarketers: A Game You Can Play at Home!

Everyone has gotten a call from a Telemarketer. The new Scourge of the Telephone System. Previously when the phone rang, you always wondered if it was someone you knew, or another schmuck with something to sell. Well, the time has come to turn the tables. We need to take control of our own phones. We need to take the ``market'' out of Telemarketing.
Telemarketers take the brute force approach to making sales. If you talk to a whole bunch of people, someone will buy what you are selling.

Waste as much of their time as you can. For each minute that you waste means several potential customers that will not be reached. Make Telemarketing unprofitable. Hanging up only increases the changes for them to make a sale. Don't let this happen!

Most of the preliminary stuff is done by someone making minimum wage, and reads a script. Let them finish. It's easy points, and you were watching Star Trek and weren't using your phone anyway. It's easy to keep them interested using ``attentive grunting'', similar to when your mother calls.


Basic Point System:
    For each minute spent on the phone               10 pts.
    Getting transfered to someone who makes
        more than minimum wage                       15 pts
    For each minute spent on the phone with
        person making more than minimum wage         25 pts
Bonus Points:
    Getting them to repeat part of the "script"       5 pts/each
    Getting answers to stupid questions              15 pts/each
    Changing the subject                             50 pts/each
    Making the sales person angry                   175 pts
    Making the sales person use profanity           750 pts
    Get their boss on the phone, and tell them
        the salesman used profanity                1500 pts
    Getting their 1-800- number                      10 pts
    Posting their 1-800- number to as
        a free "Phone Sex" line                      50 pts
    Checking the number a week later and it is
        busy or disconnected                       5000 pts
Me:     Yes?
Them:   Hi, I'm with Fly-By-Night Carpet Cleaning
        and we're in your area [...] [start clock->]
Them:   [...] would like to know it you are interested?
Me:     Sure...
Them:   Well, we are currently offering [...]
Them:   [...] depending on the size of the rooms.
Me:     Well, how much for the whole house?
Them:   Let me transfer you to <???> [15 bonus pts!]
Them:   Sir?
Me:     Yes?
Them:   How large is your house? [25 pts/min!]
Me:     Oh, about 2,000 sqft.
Them:   [...] Well, that would be about $xxx
Me:     It won't hurt the floor, will it? [stupid ?]
Them:   Oh, no! We use a [...this usually takes some time!...]
        and is completely safe.
Me:     Even with my pets? [stupid ?]
Them:   Oh, yes. The chemicals we use [...]
Me:     Do you have to pre-treat, since I have pets?
Them:   Yes, and we do that with [...] [repeat!]
Me:     But the original offer was for $39.95, does that
        include treating for pets?
Them:   [...]
Me:     Well, it is kindof dirty.  The guys were over for
        the game.  Did you see the Cowboys vs. the Rams?
        [subject change]
Them:   Yes.
Me:     What a game!  That last touchdown pass!  Wasn't that
        a great play?
Them:   Well, back to your house...
Me:     Oh yes, what about moving the furniture?
Them:   [...]
Me:     Do you clean furniture, too?  Those guys spilled some
        beer.  Have you smelled old beer on furniture before?
        But what a game, eh?!  I couldn't believe that they
        couldn't move the ball in the second quarter...
        [...] [subject change]
Them:   Ahem... Would you like us to come out? [angry???]
Me:     Well, when could you come out?
Them:   How about next week?
Me:     Hmmm...  Morning or afternoon?
Them:   Either would be fine.
Me:     Do you have anything the week after?
Them:   Sure, can I put you down for Tuesday?

[Okay, let's try for those last big bonus points:]

Me:     Well, I don't think it matters, since I have all
        hardwood floors here!
Them:   Dammit! <Yes! 250 points!>

Subject: More games to play with telemarketers
From: (arch harris)
Date: Sun, 30 May 93 4:30:02 EDT

Some additional ``games'' one can play with telemarketers:

  1. If you recognize they are telemarketers before you have spoken, pretend you are an answering machine with a message along these lines. ``Thank you for calling CMTCC, Citizens for Making Telemarketing a Capital Crime. We now have the support of about 25% of the legislature. Soon we will be able to execute those worthless, money grubbing dregs, making the earth a better place to live. Please send your tax deductible contribution to...''

  2. See how many times you can put them on hold. First make sure you get the name of the person you are talking to, because sooner or later they will hang up. Then if they call you again, you can express your righteous indignation at being hung up on, and let them know you were going to buy/contribute, but given the rudeness of ... you have decided not to. They key to this one is make the time they have to hold fairly short. After 30 seconds or so tell them you have to turn down the stove and put them on hold for 45 secs. On returning, ask them to start their pitch again. Every time you return have them restart their pitch. Some good excuses for putting them on hold for a short while: the kids are fighting, the pet needs to go in/out, the baby is into ?, someone is at the door, you have a call on another line, ...

  3. If you have an answering machine, turn it on so they can here you are recording the call. Make sure you get the person's name, and the company's name and address. Then inform them something like this. ``Under state law I am hereby notifying you that you (you as an individual and the company) are prohibited from calling this number (xxx-xxxx) to solicit ever again. If you or the company calls again, you personally and the company will be liable for penalties up to $10,000. Is this clear?'' Just something to hopefully make them nervous. (Actually Virginia came pretty close to passing a law like this. Unfortunately, the telemarketing lobby bribed our legislature into killing the bill. Maybe next year...)

  4. After they have gone through their entire sales pitch, tell them how interested you are. But first, you want to talk to them about ... Then launch into a pitch for them to contribute to some charity that sounds quasi-legit but is really just for your personal benefit. If they do not contribute, then hang up in righteous indignation that they are such uncaring human beings. If they will, give then a address to send the contribution to, thank them, and hang up before they have a chance to change the subject back to what they called you about.

  5. After they have given their entire sales pitch, say you are interested but first you need the telemarketer's personnel home phone number. When they ask why tell them that they have your personel home number so before you complete the deal, you want to be on even ground with them and you need their number. If they don't give it to you, yup, you guessed it, hangup in righteous indignation. If they do, say you will call back to order/contribute. Then do so at some reasonable hour, in case they have given you a phony number. But if it is a correct number, post it on the net. Not so anyone would harrass this person, ;) but so all of us would have the opportunity to contact this person about whatever it is that is being telemarketed. And since so many of us are night owls, we will be calling at a time convenient to us, like 4 am. ;)

Edited and converted to HTML by Dan Bornstein.