A Pause with the Wretches

Phone rings about 9 p.m. I answer and get the “telemarketers’ pause” — that delay you hear in auto-dialed calls. Eventually a voice comes on the line:

Telemarketer: Steffen?

Me: No, no Steffen here.

T: Mrs. Breek? [So much for my deep, manly voice.]

Me: No.

T: Well … we’re calling everyone in California to let them know what’s going on. I’m from the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.

Me: We don’t have any money for you. We sent it all to Iraq.

–End of call.–

[Here’s a brief account of someone else’s call with the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, and here’s a Department of Veterans Affair link to info on the group. I’m holding on to that “we sent it to Iraq” line for when the Democrats call next.]

6 Replies to “A Pause with the Wretches”

  1. I set myself a personal challenge: end the conversation in under 10 seconds while remaining as pleasant as I’m allowed to be.
    Once they become argumentative: fuck’em.

  2. jb: I’m saving my Economic Stimulus Check for a Very Special Tribute to Our Commander-in-Chief (I’d favor a Saddam-scale sculptural tribute on the National Mall — maybe a 300-foot-tall statue of Bush in a flight suit).
    DR: That’s the tack I’ve tried to take lately, too: Sorry — I can’t give you anything, thanks for calling, and then hang up without further ado. I’m more likely to get into an argument/debate with someone from a group I’ve given money to. Partly because once you’ve given something, they never leave you alone for long (i.e., no good deed goes unpunished) and sometimes because I get impatient with something in the “won’t you sign up again?” spiel. In fact, I’ve wondered whether you could build a business around managing donations for regular folks who don’t want to be bothered with further fund-raising calls and mailers.

  3. Have tried not speaking when you answer the phone? Real people offer a puzzled “Hello” and that’s your cue to talk. Without a voice, telemarketer calls just hang there; after a few seconds, you can just hang up.
    Try it the next time you get an unknown number call at dinner time.

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