Sunday, October 4, 2009

"They Never See It Coming"


Three mintues in my life as a telemarketer.

Should've known. After nearly 8 years of losing my hair at IPA, you'd think I'd have considered the odds on someone bringing you back a pen, lighter, or dollar you so kindly put into their hands. The odds-at least in the Business Coordination Dept.-are roughly 146,000-1.

As my old buddy & ex-roommate, "Metzy", came ambling toward me from across the sales floor-I don't recall feeling immediately threatened...but I should have. I look up at him-fumbling with his usually perfect full-Windsor tie knot, and raise my eyebrows for a moment or two, because I was on-call with an absolutely irate business owner. The sharply raised eyebrows are an age old sign for " I'M BUSY! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU NEED?"

Metzy cocked his head and squinted his eyebrows together as if to say, "Whatever do you mean? I need nothing-why the look?"

I extended my hand, palm up, signifying that I demanded an answer. All the while I continued with my angry client.
"Sir, if I had it MY way-all us telemarketers would be lined up against a wall and shot" I tell him sternly,
"But we don't always get what we want, so let's just be professional." I deeply needed to calm this guy down.

Metzy, just standing there laughing at my candor with this jackass on the other end of the line, gives me the "hang on a minute" symbol raising his pointer finger. Then he grabbed all the pens off my desk, gave me a filthy, shit-eating grin, and ran away. That dirty Italian bastard had done it again. Attacked while I was defenseless; trapped at my desk with the phone glued to my ear.

"You guys are a real pain in the ass." the enraged President of National Geotech, Inc. yelped into the phone at me. I could tell by looking at the information on my monitor that we really hadn't bothered him that much. This guy was apparently just some loser who wanted to put any telemarketer's head on a lance. I decided to fuck with him using the information I had in front of me.

"Sir," I interjected, "Let me get this right. This is National Geotech Inc., correct?"

"Ya," the owner proclaimed.

"And you guys are the ones with the shop over on Lincoln Ave.--the one across the street from WALMART, right?"

"Ya, uh huh" our angry engineer responded.

"Well sir...for a second I thought there was a mix up...but you are Bob Jeffries, right?" Strangely, the business owners in this type of situation never remember that I already verified who I was speaking to.

"Yes, yes-this is Bob!"

I increase the excitement in my voice in direct accordance with their rising frustration.
"Bob the owner, right sir"?

"Ya! So? I want you to take me off that list of yours, howa 'bout that?!" Bob yelled. They always act like when they say that I should suddenly double over in pain, beg for forgiveness; like Superman against a sack of kryptonite...

"But, sir..that's the problem." I say confidently.

"What's the problem? JUST TAKE ME OFF..." At this point I just cut him off.

"Well Bob, I've got all your information down correct here, and even one of your business cards, and well, you've already signed up for the program--are you trying to cancel on us before your contract expires?"

At this point Bob sounds like he's gonna pop,
"What the hell are you talking about?! What program!? I didn't sign up for anything" he screeched.

"Well sure you did!" I shoot back. "We've already received payment from you in full. So, Bob, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I CAN'T take you off the list--it would be a breach of contract."

Bob was utterly confused and about to reach terminal levels of frustration at this point, but was one of the weird ones that just won't hang up on you unless things went WAY too I decided then and there to end it before my boss figures out that I'm harassing a potential, or at least previously potential, client.

"Bob, do you sleep in the nude?" This one usually results in a swift hang up.

"Excuse me?!" the perplexed owner asks.

"Nevermind," I say sharply "Bob, are you a married man"?

"Well...ya...but what the..."
This one called for the big guns.

"Hang on, hang on there sir." I say tauntingly.
"All that really matters is this..." I take a deep, exaggerated sigh and continue, "... if worse came to worse would you rather have to tell your wife you slept with another man or afemale sheep"?

"Why you son of a bitch!!!" he screams and the slams the phone down right in my ear.

Maybe it was something I said, but I guess Bob just wasn't into opening up to strangers.


  1. It takes a special kinda person to sit in a cubicle and call random strangers. Tip of the hat.

  2. If more telemarketers were this entertaining, they wouldn't have such a bad rep.

  3. HA, true dat. I think I would have a telemarketing freak out about 3 minutes into the job. Not my bag, I just don't trust folks on the other end. who knows what sorta face they are making on the other end of the line, those swine.

  4. Yeah, A special kind of DAMAGED person!

  5. You already know what kind of face they are making; a disgusted one. I was just the next asshole after the Insurance salesman, the Investment banker, the stockbroker, the office equipment salesman, the telephone company, and the Advetising Firm who all just called with THEIR pitch on why Joe-business owner should crack out his check book. The only way to survive a 10 hr. shift was to channel a Jerky Boys mentality and have some fun when the boss wasn't listening in on the call! I've got a dozen other games I'd play on them all the time.

  6. Back home the call center is the place where you get paid 10 bucks an hour to be 'trained' for a coupla months, then quit before the torture that is a live call becomes a reality. Hey it's that or the unemployment line.