Thursday, May 2, 2013

Please Do Not Hang Up the Phone

Last week I was all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. (See:"Smiling Is My Favorite") This week? Not so much. I've been fighting off a cold for the last few days, so I am grumpy, sleepy, sneezy, and coughy. ("Coughy" is a member of the little-known Second Seven Dwarves, along with Dizzy, Weezy, Stealthy, Stinky, Clumsy, and Burt.)

So, since I'm already in a bad mood, I thought I'd vent a little about one of my pet peeves. (First of all, why do they have to be "pet" peeves? Having a pet is generally a good thing. A pet should be an animal that brings a smile to your face. Peeves do not. I'm a little peeved by the term "pet peeve.")

Anyway, see if this scenario sounds a bit familiar. You are in the middle of doing something. Maybe you're changing a diaper. Maybe you are doing the dishes and your hands are wet. Maybe you are playing a video game and are a few seconds away from getting your high score. Then, it happens. The phone rings.

Should you answer it? Of course you should. You must answer it! Why? Because you never know who it could be. It just might be that call from the Utah Jazz, looking to sign a slow, portly, aging shooting guard. Or maybe it's that call from Spielberg saying he wants to direct that script that you haven't quite written yet. You have to answer the phone. You are compelled to do so.

(And when I say "you," I mean "me." The Wife has no such compulsion to answer the phone. She figures if it's important they'll leave a message or call back. We are wired differently that way.)

So, you pick up the phone and answer it, excited at the possibilities of who might be calling you. And, of course, it is a telemarketer. Not just a telemarketer, but a telemarketing recording. And not just a recording, but a recording that immediately says, "Please do not hang up your phone."

"Please do not hang up your phone."

Really? I don't think there is any recorded message that would make me more likely to hang up the phone than, "Please do not hang up your phone." There would be a better chance of me staying on the line and listening if the recorded voice said, "Please hang up your phone and do not listen to this message." At least then I'd be a little intrigued.

Sometimes the recorded message will say, "This is a very important call." I don't think so. If it really was a very important call, there would be an actual person on the other end of the line, not a pre-recorded message.

You called me. If your message isn't important enough for you to have a real person tell it to me, then it isn't important enough to me to listen to it.

Of course, there are times when it is an actual person presenting the telemarketing message. These phone calls usually start with the complete manglement of my name. I realize that some people might not know how to pronounce my last name, and I'm fine with that. But those people really shouldn't be calling me to try to sell me insurance.

Another favorite is when I pick up the phone and say "Hello," and no one answers. And then I say "Hello," again, and still no one answers. And then, when I'm just about to hang up, someone finally comes on the line. It's like they were calling me, but not paying attention to the call they were making. Once again, you are calling me. That means you should, at the very least, be a real person and give me at least a modicum of your attention.

Yes, I do realize that there are real, actual people at the other end of these calls. People who are just trying to make a living. People who probably hate their telemarketing job. That's why I try not to be too rude to them. I've heard some people who say they yell or scream at the telemarketer. Or blow a whistle directly into the phone. Or do something else to "teach those telemarketers a lesson."I don't think there's really a need for that.

I will generally give them one "I'm not interested." And if they continue their spiel, I'll give them one more "I'm not interested," as I am hanging up the phone.

Sometimes the calls come so often that I wonder why I even have a phone at all. (I wonder if Spielberg could reach me via e-mail?)

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