#1. Never call me on Friday night. Sci-Fi television’s best night is currently Friday. If you call during Dr. Who or Battlestar Gallatica, you are likely to get a less than cordial welcome.
#2. Cold-call telemarketers suck. There is no polite way to say this. I’m not going to entertain the “They’re just doing their job” argument. That didn’t fly at Nuremberg and it won’t hold water in my court.
#3. Telemarketers that call me on Friday night are likely to experience something strange.
#4. I have a few nicknames bestowed by my workmates. “Jet pack” because I don’t just cross the line, I fly beyond it. “Leader of the Tourettes Choir” because I will say just about anything, anywhere, to anyone.
Ever hear of an auto dialer? Today, computers are used to dial your phone number. If the computer recognizes what it thinks is a live, human voice it alerts the human telemarketer who comes on the line a few moments later. That long silence is your first clue that you are about to be solicited.
(OK. I’m going to use the world “telemarketer” quite often, so let me just shorten it to “Jerk” for the rest of this article.)
The theory behind the auto dialer is to increase productivity for the Jerk. It optimizes the use of their time while still managing to completely waste mine. These jerks are so considerate when it comes to my time and how I want to spend it. Why relax after a day’s work when I can have someone try to sell me yet another credit card, dog shampooer, or insurance.
Friday night, thankfully during a commercial, some Jerk calls. I know it’s a Jerk because of the long silence after I say, “Hello?” Now I have a decision to make: Hang up and run the risk of this Jerk calling back during the show or stay and play, guaranteeing no more calls tonight. Can you hear the baton tapping the podium? Yes the choir is about to sing.
I repeat, “Hello?” Only this time in a soft, creepy, Mr. Mooney (think Gale Gordon from The Lucy Show circa. 1962) voice. Long, drawn out, softly, “Hel-looooooo? Hel-looooooo?” Hel-looooooo?”
Finally the female Jerk’s voice responds, “Yes. Violet?” Not “May I speak with Violet?” or “Hi my name is Jerk. Is Violet available?” (For the purpose of this story, my wife’s name is Violet.) Just “Yes. Violet?” in a tone that would have one believe that this Jerk knows my wife personally. This is the newest trick the jerks use to try to get you to respond.
My response is a prolonged, Mr. Moonyesque, “Nooooooo,” with a waver and upward inflection on the end.
“OK. Sorry. Thank you.” replies the Jerk in a tone that implies, “Goodbye.” But the phone doesn’t disconnect. She didn’t hang up.
“Hel-looooooo?” No response. “Hel-looooooo?” Dead air. “Hel-looooooo?” Nothing. “Arrrrre youuuu naaaaakeeeeed?”
“What?” is the surprised response.
“Arrrrre youuuu naaaaakeeeeed?”
“Sir I don’t have to listen to this!”
Really? Then she should have hung up when she had the chance. She implied that she was hanging up. Why didn’t she? I guess we’ll never know. Possibly she thought I was running frantically through the house, knocking over furniture, kicking dogs, trying to find my wife.
I hung up in hysterical laughter. Not because I pulled some great prank, but because this Jerk was dense enough to wait around for the abuse. More so, because she had the audacity to act incredulous that I would say such a thing. Maybe she was just shocked that she was dumb enough to not know she had called a lunatic at the first, “Hel-loooooo?”
Please don’t call me about this, especially on a Friday night.