Monday, June 04, 2018

I hate telemarketers

I’ve had a landline for thirty years. Don’t call it. I won’t answer. You can leave a message, but don’t expect a speedy reply. I check the messages maybe once a week.

I’m guessing you know why. You probably don’t answer your phone either. It seems like 90% of calls to my landline are spam, asinine telemarketers. And now they’ve invaded cellphones.

So if I get a call on my cell from a number I’m not familiar with I let it go to voicemail. And this is becoming more and more frequent.

Here’s the thing I don’t understand – who in their right mind is going to listen to a sales pitch and buy something in 2018 from a stranger calling on the phone?  Right.  Idiots. 

I know there’s that theory if a guy goes up to a hundred women and says “Hey, you wanna fuck?” he’s going to get slapped 99 times and then get laid. But this is like getting slapped one billion times before getting lucky. Even Quasimodo could get better odds.

And along the same (land)lines – pop up ads. They’re annoying and infuriating and the result is not a sale but hating the product. So who thinks that’s a great strategy? Have you ever bought anything based on a pop up ad? And it’s gotten to the point where there are now websites I just won’t go to anymore because I know I’ll be bombarded by pop up ads. So not only does the product lose out, the greedy website that accepts their sponsorship does too. Some sites won't let you enter if you've blocked pop up ads.  Great marketing all around.

The most mystifying thing to me is that the telemarketers KNOW we hate them and do it anyway. They have thousands of numbers so if you block one they keep coming. Wouldn’t you think that if I blocked your number I am not a good lead to buy your stupid land or insurance or whatever?

Anyway, I bring this up today because primaries are coming in many states and it’s a time you would like to cold call people and remind them to vote. You would like to reach undecided people and state the case for sanity. But again, who answers cold calls? The idiots.

Technology has made it that much harder to reach people who don’t own swampland in Florida. Oh well, at least I get in my 10,000 steps by going door-to-door.

36 comments :

Curt Alliaume said...

But idiots need to be reminded to vote, because they don't remember.

15-Seconds said...

Great way to deal with telemarketers from Tom Mabe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7OgWcwgB50

Ted said...

I keep my land line for old friends and elderly relatives, but mostly as sort of a spam filter: It's the number I provide when I buy or sign up for something, so telemarketers won't have my cell-phone number. (I still get robocalls on my cell, but most of them seem to be random.) But as the cost of maintaining this service has crept up to more than $50 per month, I don't know how much longer a phone I almost never answer will be worth keeping.

Mike Barer said...

The the first time I payed attention to the California Primary was when it was a "must win" for RFK 50 years ago.

Aaron Sheckley said...

The only reason I even have a land line any more is because Spectrum makes you take one as part of your cable package (and it's not really even a land line, it's VOIP). The phone sits in a corner, unplugged, but it's always nice to see a big message flash on the TV that we're getting yet another call from Nebraska.

Ublock Origins is your solution to popup ads. They haven't sold out (yet) like AdBlock.

Aaron Sheckley said...

@ Curt Alliaume:

If a person is an idiot that only votes because he gets a call reminding him to vote, maybe he shouldn't be voting at all. Some really bad things can happen when idiots vote.

kent said...

"AT&T Call Protector" helps.

McAlvie said...

Oh yeah. I still keep a landline, too, but not for much longer and I don't have voicemail on it because I refuse to waste time screening messages from telemarketers. As with my cell#, I have caller ID. If it can't identify you, I don't answer. I've noticed they are getting sneakier and trying to imitate my cell #, with just a digit or two different. Am I supposed to be more curious if I think my phone is calling itself?

Why do they do it? I have to assume it's really really cheap, enough so to warrant keeping at it until person 9999999 actually picks up.

Barry Rivadue said...

I like it when I get a cold call mentioning they're calling because of a resort I've been to. I've never been to the resort. Why listen more?

John in NE Ohio said...

RE:idiots
It is the same theory as scam emails with misspellings and bad grammar. The scammers want replies from people so stupid/gullible/greedy/desperate that they don't notice or don't care about the bad grammar. It is all about increasing their odds.
For your 1/100 women example, it would be like going up to women in a bar called "Hot Sluts Only" on free cosmo night. You wouldn't have to ask 100.

blinky said...

My personal favorite spam call that I get once a week:
Filings from the headquarters which will get expired in 24 working hours and once expired after that you will be taken into custody by the local cops as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment we would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you.

Todd Everett said...

Idiots are the last people I'd encourage to vote -- look what happened last time!

Eric J said...

I don't mind the helpful ones from Microsoft and the IRS.

Microsoft called to warn me about something bad coming from my computer and offered to fix it. I wasn't anywhere near the computer, but I said OK.

"OK, hit control-R. What do you see?"
"A blue screen."
"What do you mean, a blue screen?"
"It's all blue...just blue."
"You did something wrong. Reboot the computer."
"OK, done."
"Try control-R again. What do you see?"
"A red screen."
"What do you mean, red??"
"I mean it's all red. Just like before only red."
"What is wrong with your computer?"
"You're the expert. You tell me."
"You're wasting my time." [Click]

Yeah, I know.

I'm thinking of setting up some appointments with the next solar panel guys that call. With my nasty neighbor so I can watch.


Janet Ybarra said...

What happened to that Do Not Call List we were all supposed to be able to sign up for? That is a joke.

The worst are the telemarketers that call you and then leave YOU on hold, expecting you to stick on the call until someone gets around to speaking with you. Talk about arrogance.

John Nixon said...

I still have a landline too. It's an internet phone line and part of my cable company package that also includes internet and television. I've asked about dropping it and the first time I asked they said that if I did then my monthly bill would go up and the second time they said that it wouldn't affect my bill. So we keep it and rarely ever talk on it. Like yours, it serves as a sort of net that collects annoying never to be answered calls.

What I find interesting is how many things like decisions on product development, political strategies and songs played on the radio are based on call-out research. The research companies who sell this type of 'proven results' must be pretty good at convincing their customers that their statistics are accurate. Maybe this is a clue as to why we find ourselves scratching our heads so often wondering who in the world decided to go with what seems to be an obviously dumb idea for a product that was based on research findings that came from a company with a 'proven track record'.

jenmoon said...

I keep my landline in case I have a power outage, because one weekend we had the power out ALL weekend. I have never set up the voice mail on it but apparently somehow people still can leave messages anyway? I'm not sure how that's happening.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Periodically Ms. Robot calls to remind me that the warranty on my car is about to expire. I don't have a warranty. I don't have a car. How do companies this stupid stay in business?

estiv said...

One person with the tech skills created an AI "robot" to waste telemarketers' time.

https://gizmodo.com/todays-hero-made-an-ai-that-annoys-telemarketers-for-as-1756344562

Mike Bloodworth said...

The so called, "Do Not Call List" is a joke. Too many telemarketers ignore it. I have one friend who will occasionally exact revenge on the callers. Because he runs a business out of his home he pretty much has to answer the phone. But, sometimes he'll engage the telemarketer. He'll act like he's interested in whatever they're selling in an effort to keep them on the line as long as possible. Them, at the last second he'll say, "Not interested." The telemarketers usually get pissed-off complaining that he had wasted their time. Of course, my friend responds, "You're wasting MY time!" And when he points out that he's on the "Do Not Call List" the marketers, ironically, get even angrier. I understand that these people are just trying to make a living. Yet, they still drive me crazy. And I still have a landline, mostly for security. I use it when I have to call the bank or credit card company.
M.B.

Barry Traylor said...

And they always seem to call around dinner time. I refuse to answer the phone that is what the answering machine is for anyway. My wife's daughter for some loony reason never leaves a message when she calls.

cleek said...

i went 64:8 junk to legit calls last month on my cell. it was a high month for legit calls.

when i complain to Verizon, they tell me to only allow whitelist calls.

i tell them their service is broken.

Dr Loser said...

"Who's going to buy it? Idiots?"

You may not realise it, Ken, but you have actually defined the customer profile that internet spammers (and by extension telemarketers) desire. There are a few wrinkles on this, such as scamming senior citizens, but basically Idiots Is It. And -- I'm not kidding -- there are enough of them out there to make money.

Leaving telemarketing to one side, I suggest you pick a random piece of junk mail out of your in-box. It will be mis-spelt. The grammar will be horrendous. It will, in the words of Jim Morrison, "put forth the proposition that you can Petition The Lord With Prayer."

All of which should alert the casual reader to the fact that it is junk. But here's the interesting point -- that is precisely what these people want.

Consider. Do you think the scammers want a 100% success rate? Of course they don't. They'd have to sell to the 99% of people who might finally work out that they are all Snake Oil and nothing but. What they actually target is the other 1%, who don't notice the spelling and the grammar and the lies and so on and please let's not go into politics here.

My point is, this is a very efficient way of selling. And unfortunately, the other 99% have to suffer for that efficiency.

Covarr said...

Google's new thing is trying to make ads suck less. They're including automatic blocking of certain kinds of obtrusive ads in Chrome (not all ads in general, mind you, just the awful obnoxious ones), as well as reducing search ranking for guilty parties. I think their reasoning is that if they don't block the bad ones, we'll all install ad blockers and block ALL the ads on our own, which is worse for them and the ad industry as a whole.

Emily Whosis said...

If I answer a telemarketer call, I like to ask, "Seriously, is this the best job you could get?"

Warning: This has been known to elicit vile language...

DwWashburn said...

I love messing with telemarketers. It's getting more and more difficult since most calls to our house are either recordings or computer voices. But when a live one gets on board they usually hang up on me before I hang up on them.

Colin Stratton said...

Unfortunately, there are people who are so lonely and desperate, they welcome a voice. Any voice! I don't think they are all idiots either. Some are elderly who have a hard time hearing and are easy targets.

ken kahn said...

One great feature of some land line phones (e.g. Panasonic KX-TGF374) is the ability to block a range of numbers. I've noticed that most telemarketer phone numbers have the same area code (aaa) and exchange (xxx); e.g. aaa-xxx-####. So you can use this feature to block all numbers in the range aaa-xxx-0000 to aaa-xxx-9999. There also cell phone apps that will recognize and automatically block what they consider spam calls (using some common database). One such app is truecaller.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Move to Europe. The telephone blocklists really work there.

wg

Mike H. said...

Just answer the call and say "Lakewood Pharmacy". Or whatever city you wish. If it's a telemarketer from the US, they will sometimes take you off their list. They won't bother calling businesses with their time shares.
If it's from Pakistan faking a US number. . . you're screwed. We all are.

James said...

I read an article once that suggested that they're actively hunting the idiots--that's the point. It's like those godawful ads in your spam folder that are poorly spelled and written by someone in 2nd semester, 1st year English in Dumbassistan. If you're dumb enough to go for it, you're exactly who they want because they can fleece you.

I don't know how true it is, but it explains a lot.

Rick Hannon said...

Until the robot calls became ubiquitous and live humans were on the calling end, I would answer, forgo the usual "hello" greeting, and say excitedly, "We got it done, but there's blood and bodies everywhere. Send the cleaners," then hang up. Don't know what it did for the caller, but amused me to no end ...

DyHrdMET said...

We have primaries tomorrow in NJ. I've received a couple of phone calls and voicemails on my home phone trying to get me to vote for a candidate. But I got something new this year. One of the candidates has had their telemarketers sending text messages to my cell phone encouraging me to vote for them. And from different numbers too, so it's not like I can block them. It's a lot more effective than phone calls because I almost make it to the end of the text before I delete it.
Maybe they got my number after I clicked on a popup ad from the DoNotCall website.

Marcel said...

Wow, sounds bleak. Here in Germany it's pretty much illegal to cold-call somebody, so that problem (including robo-calls) is basically unheard of (if you don't enter every lottery and tick the "I'm ok with being contacted" box everywhere you go). Probably had 5 spam calls in the last 15 years.

So basically this is not a given but just a legislative problem.

Don K. said...

Then there's the old Jay Leno joke. When a telemarketer would call he'd get their name and say "well Bill (or whoever), I'm busy right now but can I have YOUR home number and call you back since you obviously have mine?"

VP81955 said...

IIRC, Jerry Seinfeld did a similar bit on an episode of "Seinfeld."

sueK2001 said...

I was a telemarketer about 13 years ago..for about six months...hated every minute of it but at that time, it was a rare full time job...I think I made about $7.50 an hour...which wasn't bad pay at that time in my town. A lot of people take the job for lack of anything else available. Some do find their sales niche but most of us did it 'till we were fired or found something else(I found a file clerk job for a time...thank God!)

One thing I will say that works from my experience...that Magic Jack thingy...that was a great way to block calls. It turns your phone line into a fax signal(again this was 13 years ago). Whenever I heard that noise, I dove for my keyboard to enter in "fax machine" for that number and it was immediately removed from the system.

I do answer some calls and if they are not robo-calls, I yell out "CALLER #12, YOU'RE LIVE ON THE AIR!!!!" That gets them to hang up quickly.