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hell is for telemarketers

Everyone once in a while I get a phone call from someone trying to sell me life insurance. It is my cynical belief that these people aren't really selling life insurance at all, but are just trying to weasel my personal information out of me. Usually I hang up on them. Then I realized that this only keeps them calling back, hoping to perhaps catch me at a vulnerable time, or wear me down with persistence, hoping I'll just give in and listen to them.

I think I got rid of them last night.

The guy goes into his speech about the necessity of extra life insurance, especially during times of drastic weather. Tornadoes and hurricanes and rainstorms, oh my!

So I listen to him a minute because it was better than listening to my kids fight and finally he stops talking. I say:

Well thanks for asking, but I have no use for life insurance.
Why not?
I'm immortal.

[complete silence]

And then I closed the deal by saying "You know, the road to hell is paved with the bodies of frozen telemarketers." [which I ripped off from Good Omens]

He hung up on me. A slimy, phony, cold-calling salesdemon hung up on me.

If he calls back again, I'll just read some Dante to him.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference hell is for telemarketers:

» Over the phone from Amish Tech Support
Michele deals with a telemarketer with a slow-boil cruelty that must be admired, revered, and worshipped. Why is it that the hundreds of thousands of job cuts don't include parasites like telemarketers? Is it because the telemarketer phone-bank employe... [Read More]

» Over the phone from Amish Tech Support
Michele deals with a telemarketer with a slow-boil cruelty that must be admired, revered, and worshipped. Why is it that the hundreds of thousands of job cuts don't include parasites like telemarketers? Is it because the telemarketer phone-bank employe... [Read More]

» You know your ploy worked when they hang up on you from Swanky Conservative
Michele's achieved the impossible. She got a "slimy, phony, cold-calling salesdemon" to hang up on her. The guy goes into his speech about the necessity of extra life insurance, especially during times of drastic weather . Tornadoes and hurricanes and... [Read More]

» *click* from Inoperable Terran
Michele tortures telemarketers. Sounds good to me.... [Read More]

» Purgatory from Abraca-Pocus!
I did my time in Purgatory. Only, I called it Montreal. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful city and I love it. It's a great place to live if you have spending money. I was a member of the [Read More]

» Links of the Day from IMAO
I forgot to mention the Carnival of the Vanities yesterday. It's the one year anniversary and back at Bigwig's. Harvey [Read More]

» BLOG: Telemarketing from Baseball Crank
Michele Catalano proves that it is, in fact, possible to be both clever and rude enough to get a telemarketer to hang up on you, and without erupting in a stream of obscenity or vitriol.... [Read More]


Random comments like "I can smell your soul" put the weak-minded at unease.

You crack me up!

i got one better for you
i always say the person they are calling for
was just killed by a hit and run driver
we are in the middle of a memorial service
for her
do you want to give a message to her family
her children are sitting right here
that usually freaks them out
pretty friggin bad


The one time we told a telemarketer that the person she was calling for had just died, it was a life insurance call, and it was true.

"Why couldn't you have called yesterday?"


I just say "He's not here, he's in Africa for the next two years and I am just a housesitter."

There can be only one!

I needed that today, thanks for the grin!

And the younger demons like to skate on the road on their day off. (Ah, I love that novel.)

All hail Satan! :)

I don't know what I'd do without Caller ID...I haven't even picked up the phone for a telemarketer since I've gotten it.

I just hand the phone to my three year old.

My 13 year old daughter handles all the telemarketers. After a few "if my parents wanted to talk on the phone they would have answered it" or "this is my private line, my parents aren't allowed to use it." they quit calling.

I sometimes yell in to her, "who are you on the phone to?" and she'll yell back, "some idiot trying to sell me something." They always hang up on that one. :)

Aren't kids great!

Nah...that's not how you do it!!!! I talk to them....and talk and talk and talk some more. I never let them get a word in edgewise. I talk about anything and everything under the sun EXCEPT what they are tring to sell...heh By the time I am done, I have ate up a good 30 min- 1 hour of their time (remember they either get paid by commision or have to meet a sales quota). The plus side of it, I will never need to pay for a shrink, I just wait until i get a call from someone offering me a free vacation....lolololol

You may very well be immortal, but remember: In the end, there can be only one!

That is classic... Love it! Or, you could be like my uncle, who actually sits there and talks to these people... They just get so sick of him and hang up!

If you read "Paradiso" to him, he might die of boredom... "Inferno" is too good to waste on a telemarketer.

Come on now guys. Remember, those are real people on the other end, and traumatizing them with stories of funerals is cruel.

That very thing happened to my ex-wife, and years later she was still bothered by it.


Never mind. I hadn't looked at it that way before :)

A slightly grimmer recent telemarketing torture to relate: TM guy calls asking for my husband by his first name (the fake-chummy "jus' making contact with an old buddy" routine). I tumble immediately, we establish he's hawking financial services (we'd made some enquiries about these a while back and have been placed on umpteen lists), and I say politely that we don't take unsolicted telemarketing calls but thanks very much. Pause. TM guy: "then why don't you just go suck a dick?". My ears goggled. Did he just say what I thought he said? (Maybe it was "then why don't you just go sign a chit?"). While I splutter, he makes the suggestion again in a drawly hey-you-can't-catch-me voice. THEN he says "do you want to speak to my supervisor?" Astonished, I say I did want to very much actually. Supervisor (in retrospect, no doubt the sniggering hairy-palmed creep in the next cubicle) comes on the line. I start to complain and "supervisor" interrupts: "why don't you go suck a dick, like he said?". Hang up. No way to trace number ("the number you are trying to reach"...etc). Just a bright little splash of poison in my day. But, increasingly, you cannot call them back - outsourcing, I guess?
Pace a previous post, I've also tried the "in the middle of a funeral" ruse. Yup, pretty effective.
And has anyone else got the Actors Studio pre-recorded guy who stutters "uh, hang on a moment, yeah, uh, I've had your number for a while and I called you a couple of days ago and, uh" - and it's a shill for some local firm? Or is it only Long Island?

A friend of mine got a telemarketing call while he was trying to make dinner. He said, "Oh, I'm so glad you've called; I just wrote a poem and I'd like you to hear it." Then fetched a volume of Rilke in translation off the shelf, opened it at random, and started reciting.

The telemarketing guy stuck it out through two stanzas. I was impressed.

I had a German professor who would deal with telemarketers by pretending not to speak English...

All good suggestions.

A good one is to sound enthusiastic and tell them you need to fetch a pen to jot down all the details. Then, you leave them on the phone til they hang up.

Or you just speak to them as a sailor would.

Our favorite of all time evening entertainment was to let the 4 year old answer all calls that were unidentified on the caller ID. She would have wonderful conversations with them. Put the phone down when she was bored, tell them to hold on then pick the phone back up and say "are you still there?"
The cable lady who stuck it out for 20 minutes and then finally got her to give me the phone won me over by first telling me what a sweetheart I had! LOL! I actually listened to her spiel. LOL!

Here's my standard response.

"Hello, is Mr. Ezekiel there?"

"Sorry, he isn't here right now."

"How about Mrs. Ezekiel, then?"

"Nope, she's out too."

"Do you live there?"

"No, I'm a burglar. But I'd be glad to take a message."

"Right, thanks."



For that post alone I've put you in my favourites, I'll have to come back. I have a form I printed from a site (I'll put a link on my site if i can find it) that I keep by the phone, it's like a flow chart of questions and depending on the TM response directs you to the next question to ask them. It covers all the questions that they usually ask you; income, do you like your job, where do you live, what number can I call you back at. Only problem is I always remember it after telling them to go away.

In Wisconsin, they offer a service called "privacy manager". Any phone call that doesn't send a real phone number to your caller ID has to go through a screening process where they have to state their name and you get to choose whether to accept the call.

Between that, caller ID, and the answering machine. I talk to a telemarketer about once a month. And then I just hang up on him.

"I'm afraid you have reached the Do Not Call Hotline based out of the office of the Attorney General of the State of New York.... How may we help you today."


Another off the cuff thought...

"Department of Tax and Finnance, investigations. . . What was your question?"

Ha, that's excellent. I might have to try that one (and some of the other suggestions). I've always been a big fan of the anti-telemarketing counterscript:


It's brilliant.

The ONLY thing I will say to them nowadays is "Take me off your list."

I used a good one the other day. Of course they were selling siding or long-distance, I told them, "Sorry I'd love to chat but I'm in the middle of sacrificing another child for Lucifer, can you call back in an hour?" I never had another call!!!!

yea well Im a telemarketer, but I gotta say, some of these are pretty cool, I gotta give props. Other then that, in another sence it is kinda screwed up....... Im 15 yrs old, I live alone, have to pay rent, bills, food, and this is the only job im legally allowed to get. I can barely get by at that.

This one time I was in the middle of boxing when a telemarketer called so when I answered the phone I was breathing heavily so the telemarketer asked, "Is this a bad time?Ē Heh, I think she though that I was in the middle of..."something" although thatís a good way to get rid of them, just start breathing heavily and start moaning into the phone, that might get them to hang up. Oh, and did you ever try the Jerry Seinfeld way of getting rid of them? Just ask them for their home phone number to call them back and if they say no, just say "oh...I suppose you donít like it when people call you at home?" and when they agree just say "Well, now you know how I feel" and just hang up the phone.

I for one...am a soo called, "telemarketer". Most poeple don't realize that this is the only form of income for some people. I understand not wanting to be bothered. There are however some telemarketing scams and people have been taken advantage of through these. My company is not a scam in anyway, or i would not be working for them. I get loads of hang-ups, told "I'm not interested" before they've heard my pitch, or had stereos blasted in my ear. To the people that do this, I simply tag their call as "not available", or "not interested" resulting in those people getting another call by my company in the same week or a month down the road. I don't understand why people don't just tell me to "take them off our list" and be done with it. There's no reason for people to be rude, yell at me, get their kids to lie and tell me that the person I'm asking for is the one that answered the phone and they tell me that person isn't home.

I get people who think they can throw me off guard by changing the subject, think they can have phone sex with me, or tell me that they just had a crisis, death, or recent illness in the family. With those people I give my sympathies...even if it isn't true, because one day it will be. Too the phone sex, I tell them I have a boyfriend, but they can speak to my manager if they want to continue. I get paid well by the hour regardless if I book an appointment for my company or not.

I for one do not like telemarketers calling my house but I will listen too what they have to say because there maybe something that catches my interest. And if it's something I don't want or need, I will let them know that I thank them for thinking of me and politly ask them to "take my name off thier list".

For people who think screaming in my ear, hanging up on me, getting thier kids to lie, telling me that they are not interested and try to change the subject......you are only making fools of yourselves. It doesn't hurt my feelings, bring me down, or encourage me to get another job. In fact it makes me work harder, be more determined, and gives me great conversation to share with my family for sunday dinner.

When a number comes up on my screen, it doesn't tell me that it's your dinner time, that you just walked in the door, that you have company, that you weren't home, or that you were on your way out. When I see your number I see you as a potential personal client for my company. If this is not how you want to be identified, there is no reason for you too tell me lies, that your not interested, or be rude. Because REMEMBER "WE" have your phone number, your address and your name. It would not be wise to piss of someone who may have a psychological problem and perhaps live near you who has that information about you. This is not a threat....just something to ponder.