A few years ago, there was a big push to get everyone on the National Do Not Call Registry for your home telephone. After wives, senior citizens and anybody else who just wasn’t looking for a phone call to come to their house because they were lonely had signed up, and the evening local call volume decreased. It was a pleasant time for those of us who really didn’t care to buy light bulbs by the case or to cruise the ocean with soap opera stars. That time of life was good and the phone receivers of America laid dormant for the betterment of man and womankind.
As our country prospers and all our worlds become part of the Worldwide Web, our phone numbers have also become a part of other cultures who don’t respect the “Do Not Call” system, along with those who use telemarketing in ways that are not fair and seek out those unsuspecting individuals as their prey. Being one who has become older in age, I am also being sought by these telemarketing phone number seeking highwaymen and it is becoming an exercise that causes one to look for ways to challenge their activities.
Over a day’s time, my home phone will receive as many as ten calls asking me to buy something, check my computer, change my bankcard or let them send me my brand new one button alert system ordered free for me by a friend. With most of the calls I have problems understanding the callers language due to the fact they don’t speak Tennessee and I don’t understand half sentences. I know my name is not that easy to begin with, but when you are trying to sell a person something wouldn’t you think you would attempt to avoid insulting him by calling him a name that sounds like a disease or something else unmentionable.
I have also wondered if a friend had reserved me one of those special alert systems that calls someone when I fall in the tub, would they not have let me know they were going to do so? Maybe my friends are not tub buddies, but I’m pretty sure they would have said something, even if it was a joke. First of all, it’s not that simple to get one of those devices on one of us old dudes in the first place like they show on television. It’s more like roping a steer that didn’t want to be a steer, because I tried to do it for my mother and it wasn’t easy.
The calls I get about lowering the interest on my credit card must number in the hundreds. The interesting thing is I don’t use a credit card with interest and recognize the call as soon as the little lady begins to talk.
Many of these calls have started to become a game to me. The ones that pertain to my computer sending out signals around the world that this little guy wants to fix for me, and he can’t say the word “computer” in the first place, has been sort of fun. He relates the problem to a PC and I own a Mac. When I start questioning him, he loses interest real fast and our conversation is over.
One afternoon, I got a call about my free burglar alarm system that someone was going to give me. Before I could say anything, this young lady began asking me some personal questions about my home, family and things she really didn’t need to know. If any of you have ever watched the cartoon Foghorn Leghorn and know his girlfriend Prissy, I changed my voice to Prissy and became a sweet little lady giving her answers that caused her to think she had sold a system that she could retire on. I had more fun that day than Foghorn would have had with the chicken hawk.
You can still place your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry by going to www.donotcall.gov. To register by telephone, consumers may call 1-888-382-1222. It’s still a good idea to do so and there are a lot of calls it does stop. But, for those who try to get around the system, just use the Foghorn strategy and enjoy the game. It’s fun when the telemarketers are the ones being had!
Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com