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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Just a few words on telemarketing.

My son is a telemarketer. He sells phone/Internet service. I say that with mixed feelings, as I pretty much despise telemarketers. They ring a bell in your house and expect you to drop everything and listen to them rant about whatever it is that they're selling, despite what you wanted to do with that time. And they rarely hear the word 'no' in any of it's varied iterations. Sometimes they call multiple times and it's automated. Argh!

My son is earning money to go on a mission for our church, however, and has had a devilish time trying to find a paying job. So I shut one eye and wait for his incredible stories.

Telemarketers would be the bane of my existence if they weren't so much fun to tease. I enjoy making them cry with frustration--especially guys. Amazingly, they don't call here much anymore, which is good, since I work from home and despise distractions.

One day I got a call from the newspaper (the Tucson Citizen). This is basically how the conversation went (I'm speaking in my best imitation of a Pakistani accent):

TC: Good morning.
Me: Is it?
TC: Uh...yes.
Me: If you say so.
TC: Uh...we'd like to know if you're getting the Citizen.
Me: I am not yet a citizen.
TC: No, the Tucson Citizen.
Me: No, I am not yet a citizen.
TC: NO! We want to know if you get the newspaper the Tucson Citizen!
(By this time it's getting really hard not to fall on the floor and expire of laughter.)
Me: I will be a citizen in one year. Ask me then.

Another time the Citizen called me. I was pretty sick of them calling around dinnertime, so I told them I never get the paper.
TC: Why not?
Me: You know the fibers in those papers are traceable from the air.
TC: Um...what?
Me: You can be traced by aliens using the newspaper.
TC: Aliens. You mean illegal aliens?
Me: No. The outer space kind.
TC: So you're saying that aliens from outer space can find out where you live and watch you by using our paper?
Me: That's about it. That's why I'm not going to buy your paper. And why I wear a tin foil hat.
TC: Um (laughing his insides out) okay. Thanks for your...candor.
Me: Any time...except between the hours of 6 and 6.
TC: Am and pm?
Me: No, Am and the next am.
TC: That would be...never.
Me: Huh. And here I was thinking you were a little slow. You live and learn.

Another time a man called me up and told me his name was Dave. I could tell he wasn't from this country and couldn't possibly have any other name than...say...Rajnapurta Chowdry something or other. So I told him I wouldn't deal with him because he was lying to me.
Telemarketer: I'm not lying to you. It's true. My name is Dave.
Me: No it's not.
Tele: Yes! Yes it is. How do you know Dave is not my name?
Me: Intuition born of years of experience.
Tele: Well that is what they tell me to call myself so that you can relate to me better.
Me: HA! I knew it! By the way, isn't that a little condescending?
Tele: I do not know that word condescending.
Me: Amazing.
He finally caved and told me his real name--which I forget right now so I'll call him Raj. Then he bulldozed on into his spiel:

'Raj': I'd like to discuss your mortgage.
Me: My marriage? Isn't that a little personal? I mean we only just now learned each other's real names. I really don't feel comfortable discussing my marriage with strangers.
Raj: No, your mortgage.
Me: Well if you really have to know, my marriage is fine. We're quite happy, thanks.
Raj: No, your home mortgage.
Me: I wasn't married at home. I was married in a temple. But, hey, that's really none of your stinkin' business.
Raj: NO, your MORTgage!
Me: You're really fixated on this, aren't you. Or maybe a little bit hard of hearing?
Raj: Alright! Then let's discuss your home loan.
Me: Sorry. I'm not home alone. What are you...a stalker?
Raj: No, your home loan.
Me: You don't hear all that racket in the background? I have 5 of my 6 kids here. It's never quiet. Maybe you are a little deaf.
Me: No wonder you can't hear well if you keep yelling like that. Anyway, why do you want to know if I'm home alone so much? Are you trying to figure out the best time to come rob the place? 'Cause if you are, you should know that there's almost always someone here. And I can personally chop the legs right out from under you if you try it when I'm here. Oh wait...you aren't even in this country, are you?
Raj: Here. Please talk to my supervisor. (I could hear the hair tearing out of his head at this point and he was making little whimpering noises. I wonder if he's bald now?)
Me: Alright. But it won't help much.
Muffled conversation.
Supervisor: Hello. We'd like to discuss your mortgage.
Me: You TOO? What is it with you people?
(Open season on telemarketers.)

It's just possible that I will need to repent of the way I treat telemarketers. But I'm thinking it'll be a deathbed repentance. And, son, if you ever call me from work, keep the laughter to a dull roar or our secret will be out...;o)


  1. That is too hilarious. I wish I was that quick witted when telemarketers call.

    Also I just have to say that your background is stunning.

  2. We used to have a phone dedicated to the computer (yeah I'm dating us). If anybody called on it, we knew they were telemarketers. We really honed our skills on that phone. The whole family would jump to answer it...;o)