Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Woke Up, Got Out of Bed, Hung Up On a Telemarketer

Dear Campaign Telemarketer Person:

Do you remember our phone call this morning? I'm sure you don't, because I'm sure you make tons of calls like this every single day. It's not your fault, but you called me just around the time I was getting ready for work (I start later than most). I don't blame you; I do blame myself for answering the phone at all (I usually don't).

But what happened after I answered the phone intrigues me. You identified me by name and started speaking to me. That's great. You're excited about your candidate. Also great. You wanted to explain to me why you're so ecstatic that your candidate has tossed his hat into the White House 2008 race. I'm happy for you.

You told me all this in about one and a half breaths. You told me all of this in approximately 45 seconds of non-stop talking. At this point I had literally uttered two syllables since picking up the phone. But again, I figured it was partly my fault, so I waited for a reasonable break in your stride, a logical stopping point in your speech, a place where I could my word in edgewise.

As you'll recall, once you took your break in breath, I pounced -- and I pounced politely. I told you very nicely, without raised voice or hint of aggravation, that while I appreciated your enthusiasm, you caught me at a bad time; that I was busy; that I had work to do. You know: a job. Note that I did not disparage your candidate, call you a bad name (some people do that with unsolicited telephone calls), or even get upset. I politely told you that I have no time to listen to you, and that was all.

As I prepared for a cordial ending to this call, though, you piped back up in your cheery falsetto and continued into your script (I can only assume you had a printed script in front of you). You paid no attention whatsoever to what I had just told you: that I was busy and that there were others things I needed to be doing with my time. Well, either that or you just didn't care about my time.

You may or may not realize it (since you were apparently talking without regard to me, the person on the end of the phone, by this point), but it was at this point that I hung up on you.

Let me be clear: I do not rudely hang up on telemarketers. Nor do I verbally abuse them. That's just not my thing. You have a job to do, and much as it's a job which inconveniences those people who answer their phones, it's your job and I won't begrudge your doing it. But when I've tried to politely get your off the phone and you prove yourself un-receptive to these efforts -- well, it's at that point that I feel justified in rudely ceasing our "conversation," to the extent that what you and I had was a "conversation."

So, uh, sorry. Kinda. But I think you're used to being hung up on by now.

Oh, and for the record: You are promoting a politician. You are not selling timeshares or home air purifiers or vacuum cleaners (although I know politicians have a lot of hot air). Your job is to get people to vote for your candidate. And a pretty important step to getting people to vote for your candidate is getting people to like your candidate. Helpful hint: not letting people get off the phone with you when they've clearly expressed a desire to do so does not endear you to the hearts and minds of potential voters. Also, when someone tries to disengage from you by telling you they're going to work, you're not helping your case with the common worker when you effectively suggest to them that they can put their job on hold while you ask for money -- money that they're trying to get out the door to go earn.

Just some thoughts. Carry on.


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