No More Telemarketers
.It’s the bottom of the ninth. Two out. The scores are level. The pitch … silence. It is broken by the ringing of the phone. Hello. The four-second break. “Hi. I’m calling about lowering your monthly phone bill.”
It is a familiar story across the country. The intrusion of telemarketers into your home at the most inappropriate time. During dinner or a ball game or coming through on call waiting.
Finally, America had had enough. People began to complain. It was like a scene out of the movie Network with the late Peter Finch, who played the role as a broadcaster, and encouraged viewers to react obnoxiously if they were not happy.
“I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore,” he said in the movie and then a scene followed as people opened their windows and yelled the same words as Finch.
Even Jerry Seinfeld included a telemarketing segment in his long running and popular TV series when he took a call.
Seinfeld said he couldn’t answer any questions at the moment and asked for the caller’s home number. The caller refused because he said he did not want to be bothered as home.
Seinfeld replied: “Now you know how I feel.” Click. We all related to that. At least he was almost polite. Imagine some of the insults that telemarketers have listened to over the years.
For years telemarketers ruined many nights at home. But now the doors have been closed on them with a sign: Please Do Not Disturb – Ever.
An estimated 20 million have placed their numbers with a countrywide do-not-call-list that is aimed to stop telemarketing calls.
When this registration campaign began, according to the Federal Trade Commission, something like 158 numbers were listed every second in the first few days. Land lines and cell numbers were registered as if it were a raffle with a $10 million prize.
In the first year, says the FTC, about 60 million of the 166 million residential numbers in the U.S. will be on the do-not-call-list after the first year.
America has spoken.
Now we wait for the calls to stop, but, says the FTC, this will not happen until October 1 and then 80 percent of the intruders will be prevented.
The downside of this is that it will have a negative effect on the economy. Telemarketers will be laid off and the industry has already predicted that it may lose half its business, which is about $50 billion in sales each year.
It is one of those good and bad stories. The good news is that there will be no more – or most of them – irritating calls.
The bad news is that some people will be out of work. Now the telemarketers will have to find a way to make contact with us again. The obvious way seems to be e-mails if you happen to be Online.
So it will start all over again. Instead of the disruptive calls we will have to wade through the e-mails that are “out of this world offers” or “this will save you money” to “you can work from home and make a lot of money.”
And while we are pressing the delete key we just might be eliminating the messages we really want from friends and family.
Who was it who said: “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”?
At least we’ll be able to have dinner in peace or watch a game without being distracted.
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