Ian (ringbark) wrote,

Telemarketers and other stories

I'm sure you all know these people. Just as you are sitting down to dinner, they will call you and interrupt you for no obvious reason except to try to sell you something you don't want. I take the style from my mother, who was a past master at the art. When I say telemarketer, I include cold callers in real life, for they are just much of a nuisance and take the same risks. Some of my experiences were published in The Guardian, where they were described as pinteresque.

Caller: Good evening, I'm conducting a survey on behalf of...
Mother: [interrupting] I'm sorry, I'm not buying anything today.
Caller: Oh, I'm not selling anything. I'm conducting a survey on behalf of...
Mother: I'm sorry, I said I'm not buying anything today.
Caller: Oh, but I'm not selling anything. I'm conducting a survey on behalf of...
Mother: Well, if you're not selling anything and I'm not buying anything, then we're both happy. [Closes door]

And that was the model. Two telephone examples run like this.

Caller: Good evening. (something about selling subscriptions to the Birmingham Evening Mail]
Me: I'm sorry, I'm not interested.
Caller: Are you aware that the BEM contains the best coverage of news in the West Midlands?
Me: I'm not interested in the West Midlands. I moved here recently from Merseyside for my work, and I am not interested in news from the West Midlands.
Caller: Are you aware that the BEM contains the best coverage of sport in the West Midlands?
Me: As I just said, I'm not interested in the West Midlands. I did buy your paper recently to read the match report of the Liverpool game, and found it disappointing and biased, especially as it mentioned the person who scored Birmingham City's goal but failed to tell me who scored Liverpool's two goals.
Caller: Oh. Are you aware that by subscribing to our newspaper, you would be put into a draw with a chance to win (some obscenely large amount of money) ?
Me: Oh, I'm sorry, I have a moral objection to gambling.
Caller: (Mumbled apology: obviously not in their script book)

My favourite:

Caller: Good evening. I'm calling to promote (some outfit or other) who offer a complimentary dancing lesson for you and a partner without obligation, followed by the opportunity to buy a course of six further lessons at a discounted price.
Me: I'm sorry but I find your offer in extremely poor taste, seeing as I am confined to a wheelchair.
Caller: I'm so sorry. I had no idea.
Me: Oh, that's alright. You had no idea.
I must stress that this story is completely true.

Door-to-door caller: Good evening, I'm here from (some double glazing company - can't remember the name - see why below)
Double glazing salesmen were a blot on the British landscape in the 1980s.
[He holds out a brochure, which I take.]
Me: I'm not really interested at the moment, but I could consider it in the future.
Caller: Well, if you're not interested, can I have my brochure back? They cost me about £2 each. incidentally, that's my first use of a keyboard shortcut for £ on this colonial keyboard - see, there it is again)
[Hands it back]
Me: That's fine, have a good evening.
Neighbour/Friend/Relative/Whatever: Ian, I'm thinking of getting double glazing, can you suggest a company that could do it for me?
Me: Yes, only this week somebody gave me a brochure...oh, hang on, he wouldn't let me keep it...
[well, that last bit didn't happen, but it would certainly be a possibility.

Finally, a story about up-selling, from Georgie Pie, a now defunct New Zealand fast food franchise. Like McD sells burgers, GP sold meat and other pies.
Me: I'd like a small steak pie, a small blackberry and apple pie, fries and a Coke please.
[Their blackberry and apple pie was very good.]
Vendor: Would you like a dessert with that?
Me: What do you think the blackberry pie's for?
Vendor: Oh.
Me: You're supposed to ask "would you like ice cream with the blackberry pie?"
Vendor: Oh. Would you?
Me: No.
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