>How does one define audacity? Dictionary.com has this to say:
boldness or daring, esp. with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.
effrontery or insolence; shameless boldness: His questioner’s audacity shocked the lecturer.
Me, I prefer:
1. Telemarketers that call you up with an “all our representatives are currently busy, please stay on the line” message
2. Telemarketers that do it over and over again.
Now I know what you are thinking. Actually I have no clue, but I hope at least one of you is thinking the following “Wintersong, why the hell don’t you guys put your name on the Do Not Call List? Of course, I would hope that if you thought that, you would immediately say to yourself “this Wintersong fellow sounds like a sensible if perhaps overly eccentric sort, I imagine he has thought of this (apparently between thoughts you moved to England).”
Of course we thought of that. Our number is on the Do Not Call List. However, there is an exemption made for charitable organizations. Or more importantly, paid telemarketing companies working on the behalf of charitable organizations. We get a lot of these. We’ve been getting a lot of these for some time, but I will admit I may have exacerbated the situation.
You may or may not have deducted from previous posts on BarkingShaman that I struggle with depression. Or more accurately I live with depression since for some reason the term “I struggle with” always evokes images of high school wrestling in my mind. Which is weird since I’ve never wrestled, my high school did not have wrestling, I’ve never attended a high school (or any other kind) wrestling match. Despite the stereotypes, I never even masturbated to the idea of high school wrestling.
Strange brain associations aside, anyone who lives with depression, like many other neurological issues, will tell you that the medication that works great one week may not do crap the next. During one of these “medication not doing crap” periods, I answered a charity telemarketing call. We’d been getting a huge number of them at the time and saying “no” to disabled vets, retired police associations, active police associations, and such was not doing anything positive for my sense of self-worth. Hanging up on poor bastards that probably get called worst things in a day than some serial killers get called in a lifetime didn’t help either. Interestingly, I have since determined that most or all these calls may have been coming from the same call center.
When the fourteenth caller called (ok, couldn’t have been more than fifth but you get the point) I relented. Actually I tried to get him off the phone but he kept saying things like “Surely you can free up just fifteen dollars for our returning wounded heroes” although as depressed as I was, my brain chose to interpret it more like “If you just give us fifteen dollars I won’t have to kill this kitten I have here.” In the interest of saving kittens or war veterans or my own sanity I did so.
To say that the rate of calls has not slowed would be both obvious and completely predictable.
However, we have gotten quite good at dodging them. For financial reasons we do not have caller ID, but after a while we reacquired the pre-caller ID skill of recognizing the several seconds of empty line that often is what greets you when a telemarketing firm’s auto-dialer is moving more quickly than its agents. If you know this sound, or lack thereof, you can put down the receiver or hit the “off” button before a voice filled with the “I know I’m not fooling you, and you know that I know that I’m not fooling you, but my manager might be listening” kind of artificial cheer comes on in order to ask you for money. If you can get off the phone before this happens, you can do so with no guilt. The computer doesn’t give a fuck if you answer or not, it just auto-dials the next person having diner, a shower, or sex. Hanging up on the computer has a null effect on your daily “how big a shit have I been today?” meter.
In response to either a much higher rate of outgoing calls than staff, or to people getting better at the sound of silence trick, one of the companies that calls our house has now added the hold message I mentioned at the beginning of the post. As my problems with insomnia have yet to be resolved, and perhaps as a result (or perhaps for some other whacked out reason) my thought processes have mostly not been up to much deep thinking, I have spent a decent amount of time wondering what the reasoning behind this message is.
I simply cannot conceive of an remotely healthy individual who patiently waits on hold when a telemarketer calls. It is obvious that the call is from a charity telemarketer because it says so right in the message. “Company A is a paid solicitor calling on behalf of the Pay Us Not To Kill Kittens Foundation. All our agents are currently with other callers. Please stay on the line and a representative will be with you shortly.”
After much (way too much) thought on this question I’ve decided that there are very few groups of people who this particular method could work with: the very stoned, the very drunk, the very senile, and the very mentally challenged. All groups of people that have members who, when hearing that message might conceivably get confused into thinking that they were the ones who had made the call and wait for a representative to assist them. Even taken together these groups cannot account for much in the way of revenue.
Perhaps they are hopping that, baffled and weirdly compelled, people will stay on the line just to see how long it takes before they are transfered to an agent. In this case, it is a method that is likely to only work once.
Combined with the fact that there is a movie coming out about rouge man-eating killer sheep, this has to be a bigger sign of some sort of end of times than gays getting married or the availability of a vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. The right wing needs to reevaluate their priorities and get a handle on this automated telemarketing thing. It would be a shame for them to spend all this time looking for Satan in internet pornography only to find that he’d been in the telephone system all along.
You can expect that plot to hit the theaters in a few years, once the killer-sheep people decide to do a new project.