Well, the elections are over and the phone is not ringing every twelve minutes with an important (recorded) message from somebody who wants to be my personal representative in the government hierarchy. On Tuesday night, watching election returns and seeing mixed results, my main reaction was At least the annoying phone calls are done for this year.
Wrong, of course.
Before my second cup of coffee Wednesday morning, the devilish instrument was buzzing with the first of several helpful calls: “We’re going to be on your street this week and would be happy to give you free estimates for…” Ah, it’s started again. In the last month I could have had free estimates for roofing, painting, driveway replacement, solar heating, and several others that vaguely promised to save me a ton of money thanks to Government Rebates Ending Soon!
In the old days, I really believed that a person who called me with an offer actually was employed by the company he purported to represent. Was actually sitting in his office at Superior Pacific Roofing and Catering Co, Inc, drinking coffee and wondering if the restroom was free yet. Sadly, I’ve come to realize that my name and number have been electronically handed to professional cold-callers. (You’ve seen the ads: “Make a thousand a week working at home!”) At least these are humans
Most of these people are persistent. If I politely say I’m not interested, they counter with, “But don’t you want to save money?” What kind of stupid question is that? Instead of answering in the affirmative, I usually ask for their State Contractors License Board number, so that I can report them for ignoring my inclusion on the DoNotCall list. It’s surprising how many of the calls get–inadvertently, I’m sure–disconnected at that point. The majority, though, disclaim any knowledge of our presence on The List and promise to remove our number from their calling sequence.
It all makes me wonder about how many different lists my personal phone number appears on, and how they collect their information. They’ve managed to deduce that I am of a certain age, because a lot of the pre-recorded calls begin “If you are a senior citizen…” At this point, I’ve already hung up, so I’m not sure if this is the one for reverse mortgages or incontinence supplies. Oh, I used to listen to the spiels, just for the heck of it, but there’s no fun in it anymore.
I’m also getting a bit aggravated with the robotic calls from the cheery-voiced Rachel from Card Member Services who can guarantee to lower the interest rate on my credit card balance (which doesn’t exist) and a whole team of people who want me to refinance with them and reduce my monthly mortgage payment. What mortgage payment? Come on, guys, you can do better than that!
A more recent wrinkle us “Hi, there! When we spoke last January, you said to call you back around this time…” Liar! If I spoke to you last January, it was to tell you to remove me from your list permanently, forever, with dark black Sharpie marker, and to never darken my telephonic door again.
I propose a solution to this dilemma. How about a DoNotCall List that actually means Do Not Call? No exemptions for politics, or charities, or religious groups. No license given to companies that claim a prior relationship because your cursor happened to roll over their ad on its way to the weather report. And most of all, some sort of reckoning for those companies that joyfully claim the prior relationship bit because some poor old person who doesn’t understand the tricks chooses to press “2” to remove your name from the calling list or click here to unsubscribe.
My suggestion would be a 90% income tax rate for any company that abuses the system. That would take care of the national debt and get the callers off our backs at the same time. As for the political calls, maybe a requirement that any potential office holder or proposition propounder be forced for a certain period to be honest, sincere, succinct, and truly working for the people he calls. Just think what might happen in a single year under such a scenario! (Am I good, or what!!!!)
…which brings us back to the beginning of this little episode. The Presidential Election of 2012 is behind us. I expect the calls for the ________ Election of ______ to begin any day now. Oh, well.
I’ll see you again, after the commercial.