God Forgive Me, I'm a Telemarketing Whore.

Yes, it’s true. My secret sin, I’m one of those people who call you on the phone hoping to get you to buy something. This confession is in hopes of avoiding spending eternity in the Bolgia of the Flatterers. If you can stomach the grisly details, here is what I have done.

I work for a franchise of ***, a company that markets housewares such as cookware and china. It’s very good, high quality merchandise, but it costs a fortune- hundreds or thousands of dollars for complete sets. Our target market is young engaged couples who are going to be setting up house together and perhaps purchasing their “pattern” chinaware together. At bridal shows in different parts of the country, we have booths displaying ****** products where people sign up for our “drawing”. This is where the bullt begins…

The registration form includes the names and phone numbers of the prospective buyers, along with information that determines whether they meet the demographics of the target market. The form misleadingly suggests that some of the china or cookware on display at the booth is one of the prizes to be drawn for. In fact, to cover the bare legal requirements of this hustle, about all that is given away at the bridal shows are some crappy coasters. But now that we’ve got a few hundred names and phone numbers to work with…

A few days after the bridal show, the woman (most often) who filled out the form gets a call from us. We announce that “as part of our advertising promotion” they’ve been selected to receive some “free gifts” from our company. If they ask how many people were also selected for these gifts, we do not say “Every single person who registered at our booth”. The “gifts” are as follows:

-a certificate for a carribean vaction, airfare not included. This is probably the least misleading offer, although it’s only for three days and two nights, and the reason the resort sells us these vouchers is because they get a percentage of people to pay to extend their stay. The actual dollar worth of this offer is maybe five hundred dollars, tops. Of course not everyone will actually use this, so that makes it an even cheaper offer. If they don’t want the certificate, we offer them as an alternative a set of two champange toasting flutes. Now these would cost you pretty near a hundred bucks if you had to pay for them, but wholesale probably cost us fifteen or twenty bucks. The souvenier glasses you buy at bars on New Years are about as valuable. But then we have the second gift

-a certificate to send off for a “travel camera” (as opposed to a stationary camera?) and a photo-finishing package that includes 100 rolls of free film!!!. You pay your own $6.99 shipping and handling to actually get the camera. It’s a cheap plastic thing that you’d pay $15 at your local drugstore for. And the “100 rolls” of film get sent to you one at a time- when you send a roll in to them to be developed, you get the next roll of “free” film back with your prints. You don’t suppose they just roll the cost of the film into their developing charge? Naaah…

-but then, we come to the third “gift”, so-called. It’s a “25 to 50 percent factory direct discount” on purchasing some of ******'s products. Gee, what a swell gift, a chance to spend not quite as much money as it would otherwise cost. Oh, and what we don’t tell you is that that is not on individual items- it refers to how much of a discount you get on bulk orders. So for example, if you purchase $1500.00 worth of stuff, we might only charge you $1000.00. Or for $2500.00 worth of stuff, $1500.00.

Then they are told that they have to come in to “pick up” their “gifts” at one of our presentations. Here you have to talk fast to try to gloss over that their “gifts” are not completely out of the goodness of our hearts. The presentation takes a “couple of hours” (reality: 3 to 3 1/2 hours) where we will try to talk you into paying as much for stainless steel cookware and china and crystal as you might pay for a used car. The bottom line? No attendence, no “gifts”.

Fraudulent? Not quite, at least not according to the letter of the consumer protection laws. Misleading? Hell yes. But I can’t afford to quit my job. Please someone, give me a job I can be proud of, like gunrunning or ballot box stuffing.

All I can offer is a bumper sticker:

“Please don’t tell my Mom I’m a telemarketer. She thinks I’m a piano player in a whorehouse.”

At least you’ve realized that you have a problem. That is the first step.

Well, if this is a shameful confessions message thread…
About 6 or 7 years back, as a high-school student, I took a summer job as a door-to-door magazine salesman.

Same sorta gimmick, we’d suggest we were giving away some free magazines as a promotional, then try and maneuver them into a 5 year contract on three or more magazines.
Housewives were the best, they were most likely to sign, especially when the boss threw in a complimentary gift with the paperwork (cheap watch or something like that)
Generally we’d only manage to sell two or three subscriptions a day, at $50 bounty each.

Bleah. I still feel dirty. And what I was making must have been a miniscule fraction of what they were making if those people were intimidated into upholding the contract.

Thankfully, I learned my lesson and turned down the recruiters at college in later years who tried to get me to join their student door-to-door evangelical book selling program…

Sigh, I once sold tickets to one of those ‘fundraising events’ for a local charity. Thing is, the charity got something like 3% of the profit, the rest of the profit going to the guy who ran the operation, who travelled from town to town, wherever he could find some hard-up charity willing to trade their name for a hundred bucks or so. I felt pretty dirty.

I also worked the phones for some Amway-esque company that sold laundry balls (which worked through ‘quantum ionization’ or somesuch claptrap), vitamin supplements, and air filtration devices. It wasn’t telemarketing, I just took orders, but I still felt bad about it.

For a period of two weeks in the summer of 1993 I worked as a telemarketer for a local carpet cleaning company. It was illegal as all hell.

  1. Our pay was in the form of personal checks directly from the owner. No deductions for taxes, social security, whatever. Very under-the-table.

  2. There was no such thing as a do-not-call list. In fact, we called people straight from the phone book. Rip a page out, go down the list, calling every single number and reciting the spiel. “Hi, my name is Joe, and I’m not selling anything” was the exact first line. “I’m just here to share some information about a great deal in your area.” Ok, now I’ve contradicted myself before I’ve even taken a breath.

  3. There was no automation. No computers, no anything. We were given a cubicle in a small 10x10 room and a telephone, with a phone book in the corner. Oh, we also got a pen to cross out the phone numbers as we called them.

Our ‘job’ was to cold-call people and read a pitch to them, and then ask if they wanted to hear more information. If they did, we’d have one of the two “salesmen” call them back. You had to generate at least one of these leads every half hour- so sixteen each day. I was lucky if I got five.

After my first week of this, I hated it so much, but the money was too good for me to quit. So, I followed Homer Simpson’s advice – “Son, if you hate your job, don’t quit and find a better one. Just do it really half-assed. That’s the American way!” So I did my job very half-assed. I’d pick up the phone, listen to the dial tone, and listen to the piped-in Muzak for eight hours. After a week of that, they fired me.

I guess I shouldn’t feel ashamed. I gave them a week of work, and robbed them of a week of pay, so it all balances out in the end. I just wish I could have drained them of more money, both for my benefit and for the rest of the world.

Just feel the need to point out that, legally, there is nothing wrong with calling people straight out of the telephone book.

I mean, that’s what the book is for.

Of course, if the call you are making is not legal to begin with, that is another story.

I did telemarketing for a carpet cleaning company also for 2 1/2 of my last teenage years. Was quite good at it, as a matter of fact. I never met more untrustworthy, under-handed bosses in my life! I loved the scam stories they told. Although the job was a little dirty (the cleaners themselves actually did most of the bamboozleing, we just got them in the door) I still have very fond memories of that little smoke-room. I learned a lot about how to take charge of a conversation, talk people against their better judgement, and patience, sweet patience (about 200 cold calls until someone would listen, and most calls were made into the jewish community in West Palm). Although the money was good and the job had a laid-back atmosphere, thank god they went under or I’d prolly still be doing it now!

I hate when you fuckers call me. Goddamn, nothing pisses me off more than getting a call at home from somebody wanting my money.

[Tough love]Lumpy, I appreciate this post because it opens people’s eyes, but you don’t need suggestions for jobs. Just go out and find another one if this one makes you feel dirty all over. How do you live with yourself? We’ve had a strong economy with low unemployment for years, so you’d better start looking for a job now before the recession hits had. Otherwise, you might be feeling really dirty for a long time, and still pestering us poor, innocent souls at home. [/Tough love]

I’ve had someone call me with a similar seminar scam on several nonconsecutive occasions. Every time, I say send me something in the mail, I’ll look it over, and then I’ll decide what type of bargain I’m getting. Once, someone actually sent me the information (but only after he got me to agree I’d go to the seminar – a pledge I fully expected to break). I just remember that the information in the mail clearly showed the improbability of winning anything of substance.

I’ve also learned to avoid those Mall scams, where you put your name in for a free Bronco, or some other vehicle. Those are the same types of scams you’re talking about, a representative of the Missouri Attorney General’s office once told me. He said you aren’t going to win anything, but they’re going to use your information for marketing purposes.

Beware the business man offering prizes in return for your personal information!

You know what I hate the MOST about telemarketers? Well, I’ll tell you anyway. I live with Furry Beast (my BF.) The phone & other utilities are in Furry Beast’s name, & so are the credit cards. Because of this (I guess), telemarketers have his name but not mine. So when I answer the phone & it’s a tele-fuckin-marketer, they invariably say, “Hello, Mrs. Beast!” GOD, do I hate that. I have learned to say, “No, Mrs. Beast is my boyfriend’s mother, and she does not live here”, then hang up. I just wanna say, “How DARE you assume that I’m an honest woman!! I’m just the tramp who fornicates with him every night! I’m the red-headed Jezebel living in sin with Furry Beast, but you can call me Ms. Fantasia!! Then you can blow me!!!”

[rant]First off, God WILL not forgive you, at least if he’s anything resembling fair. You will burn in hell, being horribly beaten by Satan for days at a time in punishment for you sins. You’re the scum of the earth, you suck, and I wish you, and everyone else who performs your job would just die. The world would be a better place without you.[/rant]

There. Now that I’ve said that, I have an opportunity to save your soul.

Don’t just bitch about it here. Do what LNO did. Sink to their level. Just go to work, pick up the phone, and listen to the pretty beeping. Take their money, and provide them no service in return. When they find out, you’ll get fired. And that’s your first step towards recovery.

Get a real job. I don’t care what it is. Work at McDonald’s. Work at the Banana Republic. Work as a secretary. Work as a mime. Anything. There ARE places that will hire you in this economy. Despite what you may be hearing, it’s NOT too late to get a job. Sure, the market isn’t as favorable as it was last year, but there are still plenty of places that are in need of people looking to make an honest buck.

You can do it. And I wish you luck.

What the hell? I just reread this and I have to correct it. It should read: Those are the same types of scams you’re talking about. A representative of the Missouri Attorney General’s office once told me you aren’t going to win anything, but they’re going to use your information for marketing purposes.

I haven’t sunk that low! :smiley:

Mimes should be hung upside down in the scorpion pit, with a sign that says “learn the words” (The Patrician).

On a serious note- or almost serious note, Flymaster is again wrong when he says you will burn in Hell. Wrong- if, perhaps, you do NOT repent, i have it on good authority that you will go to a place where you will walk around, up to your chest in feces- and whenever you open your mouth to complain or scream- more will come out.

However- all you gotta do is repent- but that does mean stopping the telemarketing. Go around & dig aluminum cans out of the trash- it is more honest & rewarding, and folks will think you moved up in the world. It can be argued that holding up liquor stores is more honest that what you are doing- at least those folks KNOW & expect you to rob them.

Daniel, I’ve never figured you out. Half the time, I’m screaming at my screen in disgust at you, and the other half, I’m nodding entirely in agreement. I don’t think I’ve ever felt halfassed about a post of yours. But right now, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Lumpy, take DitWD’s advice, and you’ll go far.

Quit your job. Your soul can be saved.

I always like to see how long I can get them to hold for me. One person once held a little over 30 minutes. Or I tell them I have diarrhea and if they don’t mind while I take a dump while we “chat”. And then play some disgusting sounds on my 'puter.

Any telemarketers want my phone number? Please!!

Gawd, I need to get a life and some friends or something.