Sunday, November 13, 2011


I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I hate telemarketing. So this little gem made my day.

Please have a look, and enjoy! But remember to return for the rest of this post, because there's a serious point to be made here.

I said I hate telemarketing, not I hate telemarketers. There is a difference.

As some of the commenters on the baby video pointed out, telemarketers are doing a thankless job, and are only trying to earn a living.

I understand that.

My beef isn't with the individuals involved, although I have to say that everyone has choices in how they live their lives, and it is still a choice whether or not to enter into a business that I believe to be fundamentally immoral.

My rant is against the whole principle of telemarketing.

So, my phone number is in the phone book. I pay for my account, and my purpose in publishing my number is so that I can be reached by people who have legitimate business with me. This means, people I have chosen to deal with in some form or another.

It is not, and should never be interpreted as, an open invitation for you to try to exploit me.

That is what telemarketing is about. Exploitation.

My rant is against the idea that every individual on earth only exists as a potential consumer of your products, and that you have some God-given right to invade my life in whatever way you can in order to sell things to me. I find that particular tenet of free market capitalism to be abhorrent and offensive.

That is why I enjoy seeing telemarketers pranked. Not because I have anything against the individuals, but because I would dearly like to see consumer power render the telemarketing approach ineffective and ultimately consigned to history. The more people resist telemarketers, waste their time, refuse to reward them with sales, the less attractive it will be as a marketing strategy.

For myself, my approach is to say that I have a policy of never doing business with people who've chosen to approach me in this manner. In other words, your unsolicited and unwanted phone call, rather than gaining a sale, has forever lost a potential future customer for your employer. That is my small contribution to the war against telemarketing.

BTW - If you like rather more serious "get the f*** off my line and don't ever call again" telemarketer pranking, a guy called Tom Mabe has perfected the art of dealing with telemarketers. Examples of his approach can be found here and here.


  1. I hate the idea behind telemarketing with a passion, too, Ian. I don't know if this exists in Canada, but here in the States we can opt to be put on what's called a "National Do Not Call Registry" list. Once on this list, telemarketers cannot call you unless you specify otherwise that they may do so.

    I've been on this list for almost 10 years now, and I can say that I've never once received an unsolicited phone call from these people in that time. It's glorious! It's a rare day when the phone rings in this house and the call's not from family or friends.

  2. Hi Ian,
    Ah yes indeed, one of my pet peeves. The number of times I've won a trip to Orlando or an all-exclusive week in the Bahamas. Even being on TPS, (Telephone Preference Service) which is supposed to block those calls is futile.
    Anyway, one time they called me and it went through to my answer phone. I checked the number and because I can make free calls to North America, I called back the one that announced, "Congratulations! You've won a free trip to Orlando!" I stated to the actual human who answered, "Congratulations! You've won a free trip to Stoke on Trent! " Suddenly, all I heard was a click and a dial tone.

  3. You know what's just as bad ? Political calls. We had an election here last week, and they were even robo-calling cell phones. Ugh!

  4. David, we do have a DNC list in Canada. We put ourselves on it a few years ago and it certainly helped. The only thing we get now is charities, which are exempt. However the scumbag business folks are now allowed to call cellphones, which really make me mad because that means they are stealing more than just my personal time.

    Gary, that's a good story, thanks!

    Carrie, haven't had political calls, thank goodness. Don't think they've sunk that low here yet (and we've seen more than our fair share of elections in the last few years).

  5. Didn't get to see the link because it said there was an error or some such message. Telemarketing is a terrible ploy. I haven't gotten any telemarketers or election calls on my cell phone yet but a while back I inadvertently gave my number to a self-publishing company while I was just checking out options and they nearly drove me mad, calling every couple of weeks! They have finally stopped after I told them I was never going to use their services.

  6. I haaaate telemarketing! There is no good time to call me. I just don't want to talk to you people. Ever.

    We're on the do not call list and we pay to keep our number out of the phone book. Charities still find us-at least one a week! Interupting my dinner will not entice me to support your cause. Sorry.

    Those utterly annoying policial robo calls also find us. And people get offended when we screen calls?

  7. Botanist I totally hate it. That's why we have caller ID. It still sucks though. And some of them just nag the heck out of you. We had a lady from Direct Buy call us every day for a month...didn't get it that we weren't interested.

    I read once where a guy answered his phone and told the telemarketer, "here, let me let you talk to the boss." He gave the phone to his dog to play with. I believe the telemarketer talked for quite a while before he figured it out. :)

  8. Danette, all 3 links work for me but Ali mentioned she got an error trying one of them on her iPhone. There must be something funny about one of the sites that some browsers can't handle.

    Hmmm...companies you've previously contacted calling you back can be annoying but doesn't fall into the same category. But if they don't get the message after the second attempt I'm happy to resort to being blunt to the point of rude.

    Jean, my point exactly! And what's worse (I think) is that charities often employ telemarketing companies and only see a fraction of your donation. I always tell them that I only donate directly to charities of my choice and never in response to a cold call.

    Laila, this is an example where outright rudeness is IMHO an acceptable ploy :) Trouble is, they know darned well most people are too polite for that.

  9. I don't know why businesses bother with telemarketing. If anything they annoy many more people in comparison to getting any sales that way. Then if people remember their name, they tend to be remembered as an irritation further reducing the chance of any sales.

  10. I really hate telemarketing calls. I've never once bought anything, or donated anything, or supported anything, because of them. I find them very disruptive.

  11. Cindy and Jennifer, that seems to be an almost universal opinion, and yet it must work often enough for businesses still to use this strategy. I'm sure there's enough smart folks watching the sales figures and deciding that it's worth spending money on telemarketing, otherwise they wouldn't do it.

    Sad but true.

  12. oh my oh my they are really stupid...that's the conclusion that I have reached so far, if they haven't realized that their approaching style is what drives their possible clients away...they are definitely idiots.


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