A Message to Telemarketers and Telephone Solicitors

In Creating Happiness, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

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It is 11:30 on a Sunday morning and our home phone has rung 4 times.  The first time, I hung up immediately, seeing that the call was not from a number that I recognized.  The second time I waited on the line to hear that someone was calling from the local newspaper and wanted to know if I would be interested in participating in a short survey.  When the third call came in, I waited on the line for the automated dialing system to transfer to a live voice for more than 10 seconds and then hung up.  The fourth call was from a firefighters’ organization

In this day and age of scammers creating all sorts of ways to bilk people out of their money, why would any company or organization think that an anonymous voice on the other end of a phone line is going to get me to believe anything?  What makes them think that I would make any commitment or give them any information about myself or my accounts?
soliciting funds and when I asked whether they could just mail me something, I was told that they don’t do that until they get a commitment of a donation because it is a waste of postage.

I don’t know about anyone else but I never do any business over the phone – period.  You may have the greatest offer in town but if you want me to know about it, let me know in writing and I will check it out.  In this day and age of scammers creating all sorts of ways to bilk people out of their money, why would any company or organization think that an anonymous voice on the other end of a phone line is going to get me to believe anything?  What makes them think that I would make any commitment or give them any information about myself or my accounts?  And, equally important, what makes them think that waking me up on a Sunday morning or disturbing my family during breakfast is going to endear me to even listen to what they have to say?

This is the 21st century and in this day and age of technology, the absolute only reason that we even have a landline is for emergency purposes.  If an emergency arises and we need to contact local authorities, they can trace our location and respond in case we are not in a position to provide them with the information for any reason.  And in case of a natural disaster, the likelihood of reaching help or notifying out-of-state residents that we are okay will be likelier since the cell phone towers become jammed very quickly.  Our home phone doesn’t even have a long-distance provider attached to it.  For our outgoing calls and probably 99% of our incoming calls, we use our cell phones and computers with our long distance provider or Skype.

As a consumer, if I want a particular product or service, I will do my research and make my selection and contact the appropriate business.  That includes whether I want to receive the local newspaper.  Why would you try to get me to buy the paper by contacting me with a request to take a survey on a Sunday morning?  Oh, come to think of it, I know why!  All I have to do is remember all of those hang up phone calls on my answering machine that accumulated during the week when they tried to reach me and I wasn’t home.  It makes perfect sense to call me instead when I might be sleeping in on the weekend.  That will really get me predisposed to engaging in a meaningful conversation about my thoughts about your paper and why I need it.  And as for those solicitors who will not send me anything in the mail unless I make a financial commitment, please understand that you can send me official looking correspondence that can be heading to a totally fake destination.  Furthermore, the post office does work with non-profit organizations like the firefighters to send out mailings that can be created by computers and assembled by volunteers.

As for the solicitors for worthwhile organizations, I do not need a call from you asking for money.  I have limited resources and while I would love to be able to help out everyone, I am not able to do so.  I believe that most people feel the exact same thing.  Because you call me for money does not change whether I am in a position to make a contribution.  Furthermore, in this particular case, I would love to know how you got my name as well as my phone number as we have an unlisted residential number for which we pay an extra annual fee.  And I just realized that you are the only supposed organization that has ever solicited funds from me over the phone, period.

I guess at this point my only option is to find out what business or organization is calling and to request that they not do so again.  For those who choose to respect my request, I will continue to do business with them.  For those who choose to continue to harass me and my family with phone calls, I will not only cease any business that I do with them currently but I think the time has come to actively let others know how they choose to do business.  After all, isn’t that why Yelp was created?  Okay, I am going back to bed now to try to catch up on my sleep!