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Thursday, May 5, 2016

From the Midway: How to teach a telemarketer to fish

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A wise man once told me that if you give a man a fish, he would eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. But if you take that fish and beat him with it, he will never bother you again.

I am not advocating beating up a homeless person or rolling a bum for a quick couple of bucks. I am referring to the scum of the earth, telemarketers.

I am extremely annoyed when it comes to telemarketers. I'm an old-school guy. I don't screen my calls and I like to take my chances when answering my phone, like a man.

When I pick up my receiver I, of course, say hello, if there is no immediate answer I hang up. I don't have time to listen to a recorded message from someone who is going to save my 10 percent on my credit card debt. Fact of the matter is that I have not had a credit card since 1993.

That makes it hard for me to believe anyone's claim that they can save me a little bit of cash. If they found my name and number shouldn't these geniuses know whether I had a credit card. I don't feel sorry for any telemarketer. You will get no sympathy from me for that profession.

There is nothing more annoying then when you are at home relaxing or sleeping and all of a sudden the phone rings. At that point I usually get excited, there is someone out there who want to talk to me. But as soon as the person on the other end of the phone starts speaking (usually in a weird or southern accent) my stomach sinks and my sporting blood starts to rise.

"Hello, is Mr. Lieakben home?" the timid voice squeaks.

When I hear somebody on the other end of the phone that cannot pronounce my name correctly, that's when I know the game is on.

At this point in time most people would hang up on these bottom feeders but not me.

Since they took me away from whatever I was doing prior to these types of calls, I feel obliged to take away as much time from them as possible, with the ultimate goal of having a telemarketer hang up on me.

It's not as easy as one may think, if they catch on to what you're doing they may threaten you by saying that you're being recorded, but don't let that bluff fool you. Some more skittish operators might say that they are going to tell their supervisors. Good, let them.

I've often imagined that at the telemarketing training school that they have a blank picture of me with my phone number and the newbie's have to pass the Leckband test before they are hired.

I know there are some limited solutions out there to combat the growing telemarketing threat, like the do not call list. Why should I have to be on a list for people not to be able to call me? It's my phone and I pay for the thing. It is they who are the intruders on my land -- landline that is.

One other popular defense against these human mosquitoes is the phone's caller I.D.

I, for one, refuse to get caller I.D. just for the simple fact that it's too much power. I witnessed many people over the years who grab their phones and look to see who is on the other end and suddenly have a look of disgust on their faces and snidely say, "Oh, I don't want to talk to them."

That's fine I guess but a part of me always dies the next time I call that same person and find that they are not answering. Or on the other hand when you call somebody and they answer the phone not by saying hello but by saying your name. That's just too creepy in my book.

Well I guess that there are always cell phones. The telemarketers still haven't learned to crack that nut successfully, yet.

Mike Leckband
From the Midway