Fun with Fones

I’m not getting so many telemarketer calls lately. Maybe the word is getting around that it’s a waste of time.

As I work from home alone and often do a considerable amount of assembly work that isn’t brain-taxing, a telemarketer call is often an opportunity for some fun on the speaker-phone (so I can keep working). One of these days I’ll set up a recording device and transcribe the results. They’re sometimes amusing.

The most common ones I get are people trying to sell me printing supplies, folks doing surveys and salesmen for “financial services”.

The printing supplies (toner, ink) people usually ask “how much are you spending on toner”. This is when I tell them that we are using the new Kanobishi Plain Paper Thermal Imaging printers, which use precisely focussed laser technology to char the surface of normal plain paper, a technology that looks like making toner obsolete. They usually hang up sounding rather worried!

I always ask survey people what they are paying. Believe it or not, some of them actually *will* pay you. If they won’t, I ask if the survey is being done for a commercial company for financial gain. If so, I do the survey, being as creative as possible, getting more outrageous with each question. After a few minutes, the surveyer may catch on that I’m not serious. My reply to the accusation? “You get what you pay for!”

I’m about to try a new strategy to see if I can trick the TM into giving me a name and phone number as follows:
“Congratulations, you’re Caller 10 on the 3SC AM radio contest line for the Bali holiday package! What’s your name?” …. ” “All you have to do is answer three questions” …. you get the idea, after answering 3 questions, they “win” the prize and I tell them we’re going to an ad break so I can get their name, address and phone details…. I wonder if it will work!

Yes, I know…. get a life!

What’s your strategy? Any fun ideas?

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4 Responses to “Fun with Fones”


  1. 1 kate r February 23, 2007 at 6:22 am

    No need to be ingenious around here–we have a national No Call List and if a telemarketer calls you after you sign on, you can sue them. It’s been a lovely change.

    I mentioned Osbert Mudgrubber at my blog today.

  2. 2 microsoar February 23, 2007 at 7:07 am

    At present, Australia doesn’t (as yet) have an official no-call list, but there’s an “industry” self-administered one. The cynical among us (me included) figure it’s just a way to get more phone numbers, as it just doesn’t seem to make any difference to the number of calls we get.

    Most of the calls we get seem to be coming out of international call centres in places like India. It’s generally easy to figure that you’re about to be telemarketed to; there’s always a delay after you pick up the phone while the autodialing system they use connects the other end after successfully detecting that you’ve picked up the phone.

    Hmmm.. Does the US legislation prosecute the telemarketer themselves or the people who hire them to push the product?
    ——

    So, “Osbert”‘s getting around. btw, according to my family tree research, my most distant traceable ancester was one Cudbert Rannouldssonn, the progenitor of a long line of illiterate peasant lead miners in the Yorkshire Dales, whose surnames were variously misspelt over time.

  3. 3 Kate R February 24, 2007 at 2:30 am

    I dunno about who has to pay the fine. I think it’s the telemarketer and not the clients.

    Charities and political parties are exempt from the law, and last election season I got 15 calls, some of them robo-calls and push polls, the two most egregious inventions since the invention of the phone which was number one on the list.

    BTW, Cudbert’s name is way less believable than Osbert’s.

  4. 4 microsoar February 24, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Kate, cross my heart and hope to die (painlessly but spectacularly and a long time from now), Cudbert was for real.

    If I think of my ancestors, I get a mental picture of Tony Robinson as “Baldric” in Blackadder. (Maybe that didn’t get air play in the US).

    Mind you, the likelihood of anybodies’ male ancestral line actually following the surname for several centuries seems a bit dodgy.


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