What to Say to Telemarketers, and my brush with Jerry Seinfeld.
No Need to Get Angry: Just mess with their heads.
Do you answer the phone and find you're either too polite or too creative to just hang up on those crafty telemarketers?
Do you ever:
- Impulsively answer Out of Area or Caller ID numbers that you don't recognize as friends or family?
- Answer calls from numbers on your cell phone that you've never seen before? Why do we do this? Are we hoping that it will be a long lost love who tracked down our number to once again declare his/her feelings?
- Answer phone calls in the car using your Bluetooth, which can mean that you don't know WHO the flip is calling?
Read on, dear telemarketer victim. Empower yourself, and be a victim NO MORE!
Scenario One - At home - The phone rings after dinner when it seems too late for a telemarketer to not be at home with his own family (if they have families).
Telemarketer: "Is this Mrs. Blah Blah Blah?"
Mrs. Blah Blah Blah: Says nothing, but instead calls the kids to the phone with the secret "telemarketer alert hand signal." (Points wildly at the phone with an expression of disgust and irritation on her face). She hands the phone off to her kids. They grab for the phone with glee (the emotion, not the show). They mischievously rattle off all of the Spanish phrases they aren't allowed to say in Spanish class at school, thus letting off steam. They get it out of their systems and don't ever prank call the neighbors. It's a win/win.
"Our Daily Life" has a great idea!
Mr. Telemarketer: Is this Mr. Blah Blah Blah?
Mr. Blah Blah Blah: Just a moment, let me get him for you...
Your kids aren't old enough to talk yet? No problem! Put them on the phone anyway. Mr. Telemarketer is sure to give up when he doesn't get a coherent response.(Timing this just before a burp would be even more fun).
Daddy's having FUN, Baby's having FUN, Mr. Telemarketer? Not so much...
That's my dad's sign in the background. My dad was not a telemarketer:
The Jerry Seinfeld approach:
Telemarketer: Is this Mr. Seinfeld?
Jerry (very politely): Yes! It is! (immediately hangs up)
The telemarketer asked a question. Jerry answered. No one's feelings were hurt. Easy.
Digressing and bragging about my dad, James R. Griffin, 1939-2011. My dad's sign on the outside of the comedy club:
Me and the boys in the band - Robin Williams suspenders (like his, not from him)
This digression has nothing to do with telemarketing, but a lot to do with Jerry Seinfeld
I worked at The Ice House Comedy Club from 1980-'82. I wrote press releases and took reservations. I was eventually promoted to Promotions Manager (which should have meant that I could then promote all of my fellow employees). It actually meant that I promoted the acts that performed at the club. I was also a singer and performed in the music room on two occasions. (See pic of me and band members - I'm the one in the Mork & Mindy style suspenders).
My dad, James R. Griffin, a wonderful and amazingly gifted artist, designed the Ice House Polar Bear logo. I had a dream one night, and told my dad about my idea. They weren't using the Polar Bear logo prior to 1980.
Working at The Ice House was my dream job. Bob Fisher, my boss and the owner - was the best boss on the planet - but he admits that he didn't think Jerry Seinfeld was that big of a deal. Oops. I loved his act and would sneak in to see him because he was the only comedian that was really funny without being crude. Bob only hired Jerry twice, I think. OOoops! The rest is comedic "Seinfeld" history.
Now back to those pesky telemarketers. Johnny Depp actually once was a telemarketer. He sold pens. If you ever get a call from Johnny - disregard this blog.
The Fourth and final scenario for now - Giving the telemarketer a lesson in empathy
Telemarketer: Is this "Insert your name here"?
You: I can't talk right now. Could I please have your home number and I will call you back later?
Telemarketer: Uh, no...I really can't...
You: Oh, so you don't want a stranger calling you at home?
You: Now you know how I feel. (hang up)
This is another Seinfeld trick, actually. It works best with the surprise cell phone attacks!
Thanks for reading! Let me know if any of these ideas work for you - or amused you - either way.
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Mannequin Monday is my homage to the Twilight Zone show starring and written mostly by Rod Serling.