The Telemarketer Rings Five Times

I completely understand that people have jobs to do, including telemarketers. However, I don’t like scammers or rude people calling me.

I was scammed, and they got me, once about 20 years ago. I answered my flip phone and a young woman on the other end of the line said that she was from Sears and wanted to confirm that I had purchased several very expensive cameras, totaling over $3,000. I told her that I did not make such a purchase and she sighed and said that she didn’t think so, so she was going to transfer me to the security team. I was all in. She transferred me and the phone tree machine asked for me to enter my credit card number. I did so. About thirty seconds later, a man got on the line and started talking to me about the fraud and I answered his questions. And then, when he must have gotten all the information he needed from me, the line disconnected. At that moment, I realized that I had been scammed and called the number on the back of my Sears credit card.

The Sears Card customer service person answered the phone. With significant urgency, I said, “I need to cancel my card!”

I heard computer keyboard tapping. With the same level of urgency, the young man said, “It’s cancelled. What happened?”

I explained that I had gotten scammed and told him what happened and he said that with the cancelling of the card, there would be no problems, and then he sent out new cards. Whew.

But that was scammers and regular old telemarketers are just people trying to do their jobs and make a living. I accept that and generally, I am polite with telemarketers. I don’t call them names, I don’t say mean things to them, and I don’t just hang up on them. That’s rude.

“Thank you so much for your call, but I’m not interested in your product/program/vacation right now. You have a good day, though.”

One evening, many years ago, I was sitting in the family room, watching TV with the wife and kids, when my cell phone rang. The young woman asked for me by name and began her sales pitch. I used my regular “Thank you so much” line and expected her to hang up. She didn’t. I repeated that I was uninterested and thanked her for her time. I told her that I was hanging up, now. I hung up the phone.

A few seconds later, my cell phone rang. I answered it, thinking, Wow, busy night, tonight.

“Hello, Mr. Blalock. I’m so sorry that we were interrupted, somehow, the line disconnected.” Same young woman.

“Nope. I thanked you politely and ended the call. I’m going to do it again, right now. Bye-bye.” And I hung up.

A few seconds later, my cell rang. My wife, who had been listening, looked at me with crazy eyes. “Is that the same person?”

It was the same number. I answered the phone, unsure how best to handle this.

“Mr. Blalock, my apologies, sir. There seems to be something wrong with my phone line. We keep disconnecting.”

“There is nothing wrong with the phone lines. I’m not interested in your program and I’m not interested in listening to your sales pitch. I have hung up on you twice now. I’m going to hand up on you a third and last time.” And I hung up.

My wife nodded in approval. But we hadn’t yet turned our attention back to our television show when my cell phone rang. My wife’s mouth hung open in shock. I stood up and walked into another room and closed the door.

I answered the phone and yes, it was the same young woman. When she got back into her sales pitch, I asked her a very impolite question, implying that I would be interested in her product if she performed some sex acts with me. I expected her to hang up. She did not. She tried to deflect, but I persevered. As she continued, so did I. I became very graphic and obscene, in a struggle to make her be the one to hang up.

Yes, I know that sounds stupid, but I had been challenged. My hanging up had not worked.

I tried to express every sexual deviation that I could think of, trying to shock and horrify her, still trying to get her to hang up, but she forged ahead. I began to run out of horrible things to say. Finally, she hung up.  

I turned and started to leave the room, the battle completed. I may not have won, because every battle leaves casualties on both sides, but it could be called a draw. And my cell phone rang.

Seriously?

I answered, cautiously.

“Mr. Blalock?” A man.

“Yes, this is he.”

“I’m a supervisor here at the call center and I heard what you said on the phone to our staff member.”

Good for him, standing up for his employee.

“And sir, we’re going to have to call the police to report your making an obscene phone call.”

Ha!

“Oh, what State are you in?” I asked.

“Why does that matter?”

“You’re right.” I told him. “It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I am in California and in California, the crime of making an obscene phone call requires one very important element. Make a call. I didn’t make a call. I answered one. Therefore, in California, I have committed no crime. So are we finally done here? Or are you going to give me a blowjob?”

And he hung up the phone.

That felt like victory.

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