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Inside looking out: A telemarketer’s dream call

Everyone who owns a phone deals differently with telemarketers. Some politely say, “I’m not interested” and quickly hang up. Others slam down the phone. Another may shout out a profanity-laced tirade for the bothersome call.

The fact is that telemarketers are just trying to make a buck. Most work on straight commission. Selling on the phone is often a second job for them to help pay their bills. Despite what many of us think, telemarketing is very effective for company profit; otherwise, they wouldn’t waste their time calling us.

Just for fun, imagine I get a sales call and I respond like this.

Me: Hey, how do I send you the money and how much do you want?

TM: (startled) What did you say?

Me: I don’t want to listen to your sales pitch, so let’s cut to the chase. How much do you want?

TM: Is there something wrong? You can’t be serious.

Me: I’m not drunk. I’m not high and I’m not playing you for ha-has. I’ve had calls that asked me for money for new windows, saving animals, helping the homeless, feeding hungry children, protecting trees, research for cancer cures, autism cures, muscular dystrophy cures, political campaigns, the Salvation Army, veteran housing and some guy even asked me to contribute to help prevent the extinction of the yellow-bellied sapsucker. So after all that, I said to myself when the very next telemarketing call comes, I’m just going to give him the money and you are the lucky guy.

TM: You are kidding me. Let me at least tell you about our product …

Me: Nope. I don’t care if you’re selling an extended warranty for my 1995 Toyota or a newfangled gutter guard system. How much do you want?

TM: My supervisor requires I go through the sales pitch and then we can discuss what you want to pay.

Me: I’ll give you 10 seconds. Go.

TM: Today, we are offering a one-time special discount on …

Me: I’ll take it. And don’t give me a discount. I want to pay full price.

TM: I think you should talk to my supervisor.

Me: I don’t have the time. You’re the man, my friend. What did you say your name was?

TM: I didn’t. It’s Chris.

Me: And how’s your day been going so far, Chris?

TM: Not very well. No sales yet. Three hang-ups. One curse out and a whistleblower.

Me: A whistleblower?

TM: It happens more than you would think. Some people hate telemarketers so much, they keep a whistle by their phone so when I call, as soon as I say hello, they blow the whistle through the phone as loud as they can. The sound goes right through me. Sometimes I get a bad headache.

Me: And that’s why I want to make your day for all the haters out there who don’t understand you’re just trying to make some extra money. You on straight commission?

TM: Yes. I get 20 percent of my sales.

Me: Good. I’ll pay you $3,000 and then you’ll make 600 in commission.

TM: I can’t do this until I go through my sales pitch with you and explain the options on what you can buy.

Me: Let’s just say you already did. Let me give you my Visa numbers for the payment and we’ll call it a day.

TM: But I need to know what you want to buy so I can send it to you.

Me: Surprise me. Send me $3,000 of whatever. If it’s not for a product, but for cause, then put me on your Golden Giver list.

TM: Well, you certainly are going to make my day, sir. Actually, you’re going to make my month. All of last month I only made 150 bucks. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

So imagine I paid $3,000 for something, but I know not what it is and I get a delivery of 206 pounds of Canadian-caught frozen walleye filets!

Of course, this story is a hoax, but to be honest, telemarketers often take it on the chin and don’t deserve to be treated badly. Some people think they’re scammers trying to rip them off. Then some will play along with the sales pitch and then change their mind just before they have to pay. They hang up, leaving the telemarketer with a waste of his selling time.

Research says telemarketers get hung up on as much as 70 times a day. That has to be frustrating, especially if people are rude, and at the end of the day, zero money is made from no commissions.

I’m no different from many people who believe telemarketers always seem to call when we’re too busy or we just don’t want to buy their “junk.” If we keep in mind that they’re just doing their job, we could end the call politely.

Someone I know says, “Please don’t waste your time on me. I’m not interested, but good luck on your next call.” I think that’s a good reply I’m going to use the next time one of them calls me.

Unless he’s selling walleye. I love fish.

Rich Strack can be reached at katehep11@gmail.com.