Monday, June 4, 2018

Communication Meltdown!

It seems as if the phones in our household are ringing more often than usual. It is lovely to hear from our children and grandchildren and other family and friends. It is annoying to be in the middle of something or simply just chillin' and have the phone ring only to be a telemarketer. Some total stranger taking up our time. Some are for real and some are scams. Even the 'for real' telemarketers are not wanted by most. If you are like me, if I need something, I have a phone and I know who I want to call. Certainly I am not going to buy it from some stranger calling me on the phone.

Many people across the country are having this problem. After doing a bit of research an interesting fact that I came across was that even with the so-called better telemarketers have a 96% chance of getting turned down. This may explain why they are so relentless in pulling us into their web of selling.

Depending on the company, you might be surprised at just how much information they have about you. Some of the smaller firms may just have your name and phone number, while others may have your address also, plus much more than you can ever imagine.

You can put your phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. Hmmmm...I have all three of our numbers on this list. Still, we can get anywhere from 4 - 12 phone calls a day. Then there are apps for cell phones, some of which are free and others charge a fee. The problem here is that calls are blocked that are not on your own private call list or you see the number and choose to accept or decline. This will not work for me due to the fact that I have companies returning calls that I may not have in my call list and I would miss important information that I need.

All of your calls that you do not answer can go to Google Voice, if you get that set up. (no fee) If I already have voice mail then why have another one? One of the last resorts is to look up the number that called you on the internet. There is a lot of spoofing going on, which means the number showing up is not the real company number calling you. There is always the FTC that you can call for help at 1-877-FTC-HELP or write at

To me, it used to be quite easy to get rid of a live human telemarketer just by interrupting their script and asking them again who their company is because I need it to report them to the FTC. That always was an instant CLICK. This always put a smile on my face.
You can't do this if it is a recording. The only recourse is just to hang up and press block number on your phone. Not quite as satisfying.

Let me share with you that I know someone who when he has the time, likes to play the telemarketer for all he or she is worth. You may want to try it yourself. First example is one that most people have received from a person with a heavy, thick accent who says his name is Bob and he is with Microsoft Windows and that our computer has a major problem that he is calling to help fix the problem. My husband has tried several different tactics. One was to tell Bob that there are no computers in this household. CLICK.

Another example is to let Bob tell him from his script of what he needs to do to help him help fix the problem. He asks for all kinds of information that he should not have. Steve gives him false numbers and tells him yes, that he has clicked that key on the keypad and for about 3 - 4 minutes had Bob very excited that he had someone who took the bait. Then when Steve had all he could take, he shared with Bob that he just wasted his scamming time.  None of the information that was told to him was true, in fact, the computer was not even turned on. CLICK.

Let me end with two humorous stories. There are some calls that are for real. One was a lady calling for her non-profit agency selling hummingbird feeders. Steve has a big heart and knew this to be a real company and decided to buy a few for Christmas gifts. They arrived and they were quite beautiful. End of story? Oh no! He bought once so she came after him again about 4 months later. Only this time I answered the phone. Once I knew who she was, I told her that we were not interested in buying more or anything else at this time and please put us on her do not call list. Let me say, that this #%$#@ had the nerve to try again a few days later. Steve answered the phone. She told him that she had called and had spoken to a very rude woman. Then she went into her sales pitch with Steve. He told her that he was not interested at this time with lots of patience because she was not giving up. I am proud of him. He stuck to his words and finally she gave up.

Last story is about me (hard-hearted Hannah) giving in to a call from the local Fire Fighters Committee that sells tickets to concerts of older bands that never really made it big, yet most people know of them. The tickets were not much money and I thought that maybe we would go. It turned out we couldn't go, however, I was able to give the tickets to an assistant who worked very hard for me on a major project. She was extremely thankful. 

This is a once a year sales contest for the Fire Fighters. Steve knew the story and when the guy asked to speak to me by my first name he told him that I was not available. This man asked when I would be returning and my husband went into a sob story about he had no idea. He told him that I had run off with some man and it is breaking his heart. This poor man started talking to Steve as if they were long lost friends and told him that he knows how it feels. He is so sorry. 

End of story? Not quite! The next year the very same guy called back and Steve answered the phone. This man had remembered the conversation and asked if I ever returned. He said that I was out of the picture now. So Mr. Firefighter just said that he was sorry and did not try to sell or bother us again.

Moral to this whole telemarketer blog. Let them stress you out or have a little fun with them. When the phone rings there is no need to drop everything and run to answer it. Those who know you and need you will leave a message and you can call them after dinner or when you have time. Telemarketers will just move on to their next victim.

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