Do Unto the Telemarketers…

So, I’m kind of a grump these days. I picked up a head cold then hopped on 3 red-eye flights with my weary kids. My ears very nearly exploded and I didn’t sleep for almost 40 hours. Also, I am no longer a few steps away from a spectacular beach and a poolside bar serving over-priced (but delicious) daquiris. Woe is me.

I blame the crankiness for my snarky post yesterday (Modern Day Torture, aka The Timeshare Presentation). I won’t apologize for everything I said, because timeshare presentations are universally acknowledged as a painful test of financial resolve and politeness. But I feel bad for denigrating the salespeople.

It is honest work and I have to respect that.

In fact, I kind of have a thing about it. I am prepared to drag one of my most dreadful skeletons out of the closet. It’s not something I share with many people (until I got a blog and lost all sense of privacy and self preservation apparently).

Brace yourself.

I once worked as a telemarketer.

I know. Not my finest hour. To be fair, I was only 17. The money was AWESOME and I didn’t actually have to sell anything. I simply called to set up a complimentary lawn assessment from a highly qualified lawn care specialist. It was free of charge and absolutely no obligation.

It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I had no idea that perfect strangers could be SO mean. I didn’t even mind the hang ups, but I couldn’t understand the bitter, hateful rants. I was just doing my job. Would they prefer I was out there looting convenience stores or stealing car stereos?

If I happened to come across an out of service number, I would call it over and over again, to buy myself sometime to recover. I left in tears every evening.

With my father’s admonitions about work ethic and stick-to-itiveness ringing in my ears, I returned not once, but twice before throwing in the towel. It was the first time I quit something since my nasty piano teacher pushed me too far (my mom thought I was exaggerating until she decided to take lessons in my place and the mean old lady brought her to tears also).

The golden rule applies to everyone, no matter how obnoxious their profession. I need to treat people considerately, even telemarketers, door to door solicitors, timeshare salesmen, mimes, and even squeegee kids.

It’s hard having a job like that annoys and offends almost everyone, believe me. If nothing else, we can respect their work ethic and value them as people. I’m still figuring out firm, but polite. I don’t need to listen to the whole spiel and I’m not going to buy, just to be nice, but I do need to be nice.

It’s a sneaky way to measure what is really in my heart. How do I treat the JWs who come to my door during dinner? What do I say to the telemarketer who calls in the middle of my favourite show? What is my reaction when people I never have to see again rub me the wrong way?

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus?

Anybody can do that...

In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up…

Live out your God-created identity.

Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.

Matthew 5:46-48

Was it kind and gracious to mock my timeshare sales friend in blog format, even though I was nice to his face? Probably not. Fail.

So here’s me, still figuring out how to say “shut up and leave me alone” to pushy sales people in the most kind and loving way possible.

Any ideas? How do you deal with these people in a kind, but expedient way?

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About So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

I'm a bookworm, nature lover, kick-boxer, candy fiend, sci fi geek, home body, progressive Christian and part-time student. I love my crazy life and the messy, fun, stubborn, silly, brilliant people who populate it. View all posts by So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

4 responses to “Do Unto the Telemarketers…

  • B

    i say no politely. then when they get pushy i ask in a nice voice, “i have politely said no, would you like me to be rude now?” that usually works and is expedient. i too have my telemarketing days far behind me, but remember the rude response so this has been my solution.

    • So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

      That sounds pretty good to me. I think ‘no’ is all that is needed. In fact, as long as you avoid all yelling, profanity and insults about a person’s parentage and/or dog-like characteristics, you’re probably on the polite side.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with this skeleton in my closet 😉

  • Georgina Flynn

    I’ll never get mad if it’s only one to two calls every few days. I can handle that. And I respect the job, too. But when it becomes 5-10 calls EVERY day!? That’s irritating already. Won’t you agree?

    And I bet, everybody who’s reported telemarketing phone numbers at Callercenter.com shares the same sentiment.

    • So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

      That does seem extreme! I can imagine some bored/lazy/weary telemarketer just wasting time until their shift ends by calling the same number over and over… I used to call the weather report several times a shift.

      Whatever the reason, telemarketing can test the patience of a saint. Extra points for being polite when it’s so excessive. I think reporting harassing calls is a good idea, at that point it’s not helping anyone (the company isn’t selling their goods and you aren’t getting any peace). Good tip.

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