It’s not that I don’t like telemarketers

It’s that I don’t like *some* telemarketers.

It seems like whenever I’m home during a weekday, the phone rings off the hook with telemarketers. Usually you can tell by the fact that there’s no one on the other end when you pick up. It takes a few seconds for the autodialing system to connect you to an operator. If you’re quick about it, you can hang up before that happens.

Which is all well and good when I’m not feeling sick and trying to sleep, or when I’m not waiting for a phone call.

I don’t have a problem with telemarketers who are friendly and understanding. But if I tell you that I’m busy or don’t have time, then you should just thank me and say goodbye. Don’t ask if I can spare five minutes to save money on this or that. Don’t accuse me of not wanting to save money on my insurance. Just hang up.

I don’t like telemarketers who act like I’m inconveniencing them. That’s EXACTLY what it is. Hey, I didn’t call you. You got my number from some list and called me.

Some people have said that I should just hang up…even if the person starts into their little scripted spiel. But I can’t do that…no matter what I think of telemarketers in general, I simply can’t hang up on someone. It’s rude, and I wouldn’t want to have that done to me.

Besides, it could be one of the nice telemarketers. I’m not about to judge them based on the practices of a few bad apples.

Life would be so much better if we all lived by the ethic of reciprocity, otherwise known as the Golden Rule.

You can read about it on Wikipedia, or I can sum it up for you: don’t be a hypocrite.

Okay, that’s not quite it, but close enough. I don’t like pushy telemarketers, so if by some random chance I end up as a telemarketer one day, I’m going to be polite about it and try not to waste people’s time.

Actually, this extends beyond telemarketers to sales calls in general. I get lots of sales people calling me at the office, and I’m rarely interested in what they have to say. If I tell them no thanks, they should just go away. It’s that simple.

This, of course, is why I am completely ineffective as a salesperson…I take ‘no’ for an answer. And possibly why I’m ineffective in the dating world as well, but that’s a topic for another day.

This, of course, leads us to another age-old question: when does ‘no’ mean ‘no’? On the surface, it always means no. But that’s not the case. Often there’s room to bargain or persuade. Heck, I admit that I’ve done that with friends before. With friends (and coworkers), you can tell when there’s some room to persuade…when ‘no’ means ‘maybe’. When you just have to give them a good reason to say ‘yes’.

But when you don’t know the person well, then you have to accept it for what it is. ‘No’ means ‘no’.

And that’s why I’m an ineffective salesperson. And yes, it probably doesn’t help me when it comes to relationships.

But that’s a topic for another day.

So to sum up: ‘No’ means ‘no’. Telemarketers are sometimes bad. And hypocrites suck.



  1. I feel as though I’ve mastered the technique of hanging up before they start talking. It always feels very satisfying, knowing you’ve avoided what’s going to be at best an awkward conversation. It’s funny you mention the insurance thing, as I recently had my credit card company call me and offer me insurance which in the end, I only agreed to because they said there was no cost to me unless I carried a balance (and I went to great pains to get this confirmed). Wouldn’t you know it, my next bill, I get a few bucks tacked on (I never carry a balance). I called them up right away and cancelled the insurance and they actually refunded me the money without any questions!!! Frankly I was amazed as I’m used to them harrassing me about it.

  2. When it comes to ‘no’, it all depends on how it comes out. If the voice sounds unsure, then maybe there’s room for persuasion.

    But if you can read body language (and there are books out there showing you how) then I think you’ve got a better chance to get your way. (If you can see the person, that is.)

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