My name is Susan and I despise the phone.
There, I've said it, I've admitted it to the world. I've successfully completed step one in the twelve step program of dealing with my 'phone phobia phenomenon'. By all accounts I should be ready for my PPP meeting. But, Houston, we HAVE a problem.
I don't want to do the other eleven. I don't want to be cured.
Did you ever notice that, with a lot of people, when a phone rings, they interrupt whatever they're doing, like going to the bathroom, and answer the phone. This is a good Stupid Human Trick, like Pavlov's dog, but more consistent. You wonder if they think that it's the Red Phone from Moscow, and if they don't answer it the world will be destroyed.
I have a phone so that my daughter can contact me if she needs me. She never needs me, but just in case, I'm prepared. Other than that, I have a phone line to connect to the internet. Period.
"Good evening, may I speak with the person who handles the phone bills?" comes the dull and bored voice of the telemarketer somewhere in Bumscraw, USA. With a delicious smirk on my face, I politely answer, "I'm sorry, we don't have a phone." I SWEAR TO GOD they always sit there, the pregnant pause...the silence, as they try vainly to struggle within their own dull and bored minds "but but but, I just CALLED her...didn't I?". 'Click'! Satisfied, my hand replaces the receiver.
"May I speak with Carol Sterling?" My first name is Carol, I've never gone by that. Most of my closest friends don't even know this name. It's safe to presume the caller isn't a friend. I'm always willing to make new friends, but not if it's going to cost me the low introductory offer of $49.95 per month with the first month fee waived of course. "I'm sorry, she died last week", I tell them with a choked voice. I suppose they offer their condolences, I don't wait around to find out.
Okay, so telemarketers are just doing their job, but perhaps the issue here is whether this is a profession the world job market NEEDS! Do we want to be constantly bombarded with 'deals'? In the long run, have you ever gotten sucked into something you got over the phone that was worth it? If it's that good, if it's as good as it sounds, they wouldn't be hawking it to us.
"Hi there, Mrs. Sterling?" I'm not sure about this one, it has all the basic criteria: (1) the call comes during dinner (2) there is a brief pause while a person takes over from the computer dialer and (3) the person is using a 'I want to be your most trusted and best friend' voice. But, in case, in the miniscule chance that this person is real, perhaps the mother of my daughter's friends, perhaps a teacher, perhaps someone calling to tell me I've won that drawing for the mountain bike (which I know is guaranteed, after all I did the accordian fan fold when I dropped it in the box)...I hesitantly respond, "Yes."
STUPID STUPID STUPID!!!
"Mrs. Sterling, because you are a valued customer of First USA Visa..." I lay the phone down on the table, return to my meal and enjoy when she finally finishes her speech, totally unaware that I wasn't listening, and I hear faintly, "Mrs. Sterling...hello?...Mrs. Sterling? Whooop whoooop whooooop... if you'd like to make a call..." Ahhhh....sweet bliss of the smart ass.
I read once that they can use that "yes" you give them when they ask if it is indeed you answering the phone as acceptance of their offer. This has yet to happen to me and I feel sorry for the company that ever practices this criminal and underhanded trick on me. As much as I don't like the phone, I abhor deception more.
"Mrs. Sterling, I'd like to take a moment of your time to ask you a few questions"....states the caller. "Sure", I say, "but give me your name and home phone number and let me call you back during YOUR dinner". Why do they never want to do this? Seems reasonable to me!
My greatest coup is that the satellite TV company we deal with has instructions not to talk to 'the wife' on the customer form. I wrangled that info out of a rep there one day. It's really nice to have a reputation, nice to be feared. I feel empowered.
Had enough? So have I. I have an answering machine, on the rare times the lines are not tied up with the computer I let the machine get it. If the person really wants me they will leave a message. I'm a nice person, I'll call them back.