Monday, April 08, 2013

Do Not Call Me

Patty here...

Lately, I've been flooded with telemarketing calls. Many are robocalls that feature a man's authoritative voice shouting at me: "THE FBI WARNS..." or "DON'T HANG UP!" I find these calls almost as annoying as the smarmy real guy who doesn't know me from Adam but who has been schooled to overuse my name in hopes I am one of those people who responds to chumminess. To me, both approaches are like fingernails scratching on a blackboard.

Many of the calls are from charities, colleges or politicians trying to raise money but most are from home improvement companies, and I think I know why. A year ago I had my house painted. I interviewed several individuals and companies and finally chose one. At the beginning, the contractor showed promise but like so many of my other painting sagas, this one ended in disaster. I finally had to pull a Donald Trump and tell him, "You're fired." The commencement of the calls was too coincidental. That's why I suspect the guy sold my name to a telemarketing company.

During the first wave of Can-I-paint-your-house? calls, I was sympathetic. These are hard times for many small businesses, so I was polite, telling the guy on the line that my house was newly painted and wishing him luck. I also asked him to remove my name from his list. However, when I started to get multiple calls per day, every day, I lost my cheery disposition.

I'm not saying all painting contractors spend too much time inhaling fumes, just the one I hired. Okay, and maybe a few others.

A previous painter claimed he was a Hollywood producer who only took my painting gig while he was between films. He'd come to the house at ten, cover a wall with primer and knock off at three. Then he would head to my liquor cabinet and pour himself a Scotch...or three.

Another painter was making progress on the job until he walked into my living room and spotted a carved, wood head of Saint Antonio mounted on the wall. The guy genuflected, made the sign of the cross and fled the house muttering scriptures, leaving behind all of his brushes, drop cloths and tools of the trade. He never came back.

I'll cut the Saint Antonio guy some slack. With all these junk calls, I feel as if I've been visited by a Biblical plague. Locusts come to mind. I've filed complaints at the website but there are so many bogus numbers to collect I've given up. Luckily, I'm wise to the telemarketers' robo-game. If nobody answers within three seconds, I hang up.

Even the people are not immune to robocall scams. This message is on their website:
"Scammers have been making phone calls claiming to represent the National Do Not Call Registry. The calls claim to provide an opportunity to sign up for the Registry. These calls are not coming from the Registry or the Federal Trade Commission, and you should not respond to these calls. To add your number to the Registry you can call 888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register, or go click on "Register a Phone Number" in the left column of this page."
Here's an interesting Huffington Post article on how to stop annoying telemarketing calls.

And I swear to you, as I'm writing this post, my phone is ringing.



Yeah. Right.


Happy Monday!


  1. from Jacqueline

    There's always that tell-tale gap when the caller's automatic dialer and them picking up the call do not mesh - I just put down the phone. If I'd done it by accident to a friend, well, they'd call back, if only to ask me why the heck I did that - but it's never happened. Even if the telemarketer starts talking, I just hang up - it allows them to get onto the next caller anyway, and I just don't have the patience for it any more. Well said, Patty (but running out and leaving the drop cloths and paintbrushes? Can't have been a good painter, because a really good painter spends serious money on the best equipment, and would not leave it behind - my father was a Master Craftsman painter and decorator, and was very, very fussy about his brushes and other tools).

    1. Our J, I did not know that about your dad. Very impressive guy. Too bad he never had a satellite office in L.A.

      I have never hung up on a friend, either. I'd guess that the percentage of my personal versus telemarketing calls is now about 30/70. Bummer.

  2. Telemarketers are the reason I have an answering machine. However, that doesn't stop the constant ringing of the phone...

    1. Sandy, that's my problem, too. I've tried to turn down the ringer volume but it's still loud and distracting. Once I read a suggestion that you blow a whistle into the receiver when you recognize the call as a telemarketer but I was always afraid I'd damage somebody's hearing.

  3. My husband is more patient than I. I will simply hang up but he expends the energy to tell them to take our number off their list and do not call again. He will then file a complaint to the Do Not Call registry for repeat offenders. I wish no organization was exempt, especially during elections.

    1. I used to be polite like your husband, Mo, but I doubt the people who call have the authority to take your name off the list, so it's a good exercise in humanity but probably a waste of time otherwise.

      Don't these people know we will not buy their products if they irritate us?

  4. From mims:

    The irony here is that one prays to Saint Anthony in order to recover lost things....

    1. That's hilarious. Only you would point that out, Mims.

  5. That sounds so frustrating!

    When the caller is for a survey, my husband will sometimes spend 10 minutes talking to them while lying about every answer. He calls it 'skewing statistics' :)

    1. A profile is emerging here. Men tend to talk to these people. Woman don't. What does that mean?

      Thanks for stopping by ayjay!