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Telemarketers in 2023: Willing to bet you Emily Post would advocate burning them at the stake
Dennis Wyatt 2022
Dennis Wyatt

I appreciate that telemarketers are only trying to make a living.

What I don’t appreciate is that they keep coming as if you are red meat and they are a starving rabid dog even after you clearly say you are not interested.

For whatever reason, it irks me when I simply end the call.

Perhaps it has to do with the number of such calls.

Maybe it’s because  they prey on people with phone etiquette while being completely devoid of any such nuances themselves.

Or it might be they act like an aggressive door-to-door salesman that tries to get the proverbial foot in the door by not talking to you but talking over you to  avoid the door — or in this case phone — from being slammed down.

That might just be it. You used to be able to vent frustration when you were bombarded by such calls by finally slamming the phone down.

Do that today and you run the risk of destroying an $800 investment.

Then it dawned on me.

How dare they.

Verizon, like most carriers, has software in place that alerts you to a potential spam call by announcing it as such on your screen.

I imagine it is easy for wireless carriers to identify such offenders since they probably place close to 200 calls a day using the same number.

Telemarketers however, have gone over to the even darker side and copied scammer techniques by bouncing their number around to the point you can be getting calls from Akron, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa all in the same hour from someone trying to get between you and your money.

It doesn’t help that for my convenience — and those who try to get ahold of me for reasons related to my job — I have all of my calls come to me on my cell.

I get a lot of calls. And a lot of calls go to voicemail because I’m either on the phone or I’m occupied.

But when I can I take calls given they are a lot easier to do so than tackling a ton of voicemails.

Because of that and the fact someone in Manteca can have a phone with a number they get before they moved here from Butte, Montana I will answer numbers I don’t recognize..

Seven times out of 10, calls identified as being out-of-state are telemarketers or scammers.

There was a serious uptick in such calls abuot about two years ago when I turned 65.

Clearly telemarketers and scammers can glean basic such as my phone number, address and age or purchase such data from infinite sources.

I realize I belong to the prime target group for people that ply their trade reading from scripts.

It doesn’t help when you get so many calls that having just three to five a day is on the low side.

I normally hang up when they don’t understand what “no” means even if I have a tinge of guilt that was instilled in me back in  the Stone Age about phone etiquette that abruptly ending a conversation in that manner was rude especially if the other party was pleasant.

Two things change my attitude about six months ago.

One was the same lady calling me like clockwork Monday through Friday around 4 p.m. trying to sell me life insurance. She would always call from a different number.

I started hanging up when I heard her voice and she hadn’t placed me on a no-call list as I asked..

After the 11th or so time I lost it. She was an irritant. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. And she kept calling.

Clearly, she thought she had a live one based on my age that she could wear down.

I told her in a not-to-pleasant voice to stop calling me.

She informed me I was rude. I told her she was the definition of rudeness for completely disregarding “no “ as an answer when I was being polite. And then, to top it off, she always called from a different number basically forcing me to answer the phone as she wasn’t triggering Verizon’s “potential spam” alert.

The other thing that happened was a serious uptick of desperate real agents that likely have never stepped a foot in Manteca texting or calling you to sell your home who have the audacity to address you like you are a long lost friend.

To be clear, I would never buy or sell a house without the services of a real estate agent.

I was in a bizarre mood a few days ago when I took a call from Napa.

After they asked if I was Dennis Wyatt they wanted to know if I was interested in selling my home.

Lets see. Someone calling from Napa wanting to list my home  in Manteca.

“I said yes, but only if you have a better offer than the $950,000 I already have.”

There was a pause.

“You’re not being serious,” he said.

 And neither are you,” I shot back. “If you think I’d ever trust the sale of my biggest asset that I happen to live in to someone’s whose business plan involves calling up  people out-of-the-blue and irritating them.”

He hung up without even saying good-bye.

It felt good.

Ten minutes later, my smartphone rang again. The screen displayed the words “potential spam.”

I decided to play along.

I took the call saying, “Dennis Wyatt,  coordinator of the fraud division of the  State of California speaking, how may I help you?”

You could hear the click of a machine alerting someone they had  a live one.

A man came on. He proceeded to ask me if I was Dennis Wyatt and in the very same breath started to tell me about some great offer I couldn’t resist.

 I cut him  off, repeating word for word how I initially answered the phone.

“What?” he asked.

For the third time in the most professional and calm voice I could manage, repeated the same words again.

He hung up.

Two unidentified telemarketing bogies taken out in less than 10 minutes.

It felt  good.

It may seem kind of childish on my part but after years of telling cold callers “no thanks” and for them to simply keep talking as well as being asking to be placed on no call lists but to no avail, it felt good to waste their time when they pick up the phone just as they waste my time when  I pick up the phone.

In another day and age, I’m sure the late Emily Post wouldn’t have approved.

But if she were alive today, I’m willing to bet she would think I was being too polite.