My new philosophy regarding telemarketers.

Since the Do-Not-Call list was shot down by some bizarro-thinking judges, I’ve been giving some thought as to what to do when telemarketers call. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Option 1: Put the phone down and see how long it takes them to hang up.

Option 2: Scream as loud as I can into the phone.

Option 3: Start having a converstaion with the three other voices I’m hearing as the telemarketer speaks to me.

Option 4 (Incidentally, the one I chose to use for the call I just got): Just hang up the phone without a word.

Option 5: Get an airhorn and blow it in the phone when they call.

Option 6: Engage in phone sex.

Option 7: Ask for their home number so I can call them back at a better time, say around dinnertime.

Option 8: Start farting and burping at short intervals into the phone.

Option 9: As soon as they start talking, tell them your favorite conspiracy theory in detail.

Option 10 (the most boring and least satisfying, but probably the wisest one) Tell them to put you on their own DNC list, since they won’t abide by the one we signed up for, as if that weren’t enough to give them a clue that we just don’t want to be bothered.

So, it is to be war between us. I want to be armed. The floor is open for your suggestions.

Option number five, while mean as hell, is hilarious.

Option 11: Just say “No, thanks” and hang up.

My main beef with the National Do Not Call list is it excluded politicians and charities.

Option #3 is one of my personal favorites. I do this all the time.

If you’re willing to put this much effort into this, you may as well go whole hog, and pretend to be interested in their product, drag out the sales pitch as long as it can go, and when you’re about to confirm the sale, laugh nastily and hang up. You waste their time and destroy their soul at the same time.

To the person that calls, I will always start off courteous. Explain to them that The phone number that they have reach under n circumstances accepts unsolicited calls and that they are to put me on their do not call list. However, if they start doing that thing where they try to talk over me, I can get pretty rude. At that point what I will do is start repeating the word “STOP” with increasing volume and frequency until they do (I can be rather persistent), I then ask for a supervisor so that I can complain about the training that their drones get. Usually, the folks will hang up before it can get this far.

Another thing that I do, as I usually know the company on whose behalf they are calling (I realize that most companies do not employ their own phone spammers, but contract this out) is that I will write letters to the marketing departments of these companies expressing my displeasure with their sales tactics and expressing that this will be the primary thing that informs my purchasing choices in the future.

Mostly, anger at the person that is actually calling is misdirected. I prefer to go to the source when I can (and God help the fool that admits to me that they have ever purchased something from a telemarketer).

Before I got Privacy Manager (that blocks calls that can’t be identified by caller ID), it was pretty obvious what where telemarketing calls. Either the caller ID was “Unknown”, or there would be a slight pause afterI picked up, while their dialing computer connected a live person to me.

So I would answer “DuPage County Sheriffs Department, Detective Smith”. That really freaked them out - usually they’d hang up. If they asked, it was, “No, there is no Mr. or Mrs. Johnson here. This is the Sheriffs Department.”

I hate to spoil your fun, Airman…but even though they shot down the National DNC list, the state lists are still in effect.
Per the website where you can enroll (see here), the PA list is unaffected by the recent FCC decisions. I signed up when it went into effect about a year ago and haven’t received a single call since.


Let’s see, I’m thinking of trying:

“Who may I ask is calling? Hold on, I’ll go get him.” Set the phone down, a minute or so later, pick it back up “Hello? Yes, he’s coming right now.” 30 seconds later “Hello? I’m sorry, he can’t come to the phone right now, he’s pretending to be someone else in order to waste a telemarketer’s time.”

If it’s Omaha Steaks I’ll just ask them to put me on their DNC list. Since I bought something from them, they can call me even though I’m on the national list.

If I get in a bad mood, I might just start cursing them out. I mean, they called me, right?

I know, I know, everyone who takes telemarketing jobs has plenty of access to better-paying, less-stressful jobs, and/or has no bills to pay. They turn down the jobs as lawyers, programmers, or sports stars because they like annoying you so much and earning seven bucks an hour. Not a single telemarketer has every taken that shitty job because rent was coming due and they didn’t want to get evicted.

Even so, I don’t see any reason to be rude to them. Ask to be put on the in-house suppress list, thank them, and say goodbye.


My mileage does vary. I just got one immediately before starting this thread. This on an unlisted/unpublished number. So, either he was going through the entire prefix list and just randomly hit my number and broke the law, or he got it from somewhere else and deliberately broke the law. Therefore, I am under no obligation whatsoever to be kind to him.


While I’m normally a bit too busy to do this, I have actually found the time and inclination to try robertliguori’s method three or four times. I must admit, it’s wicked fun. It’s like teasing a cat with a little treat, only to make it fall of the side of the bed just as it’s about to get it. :smiley:

I seriously, seriously doubt he broke any law. His boss probably broke a law, but I’d be damned surprised if the poor schmuck you were rude to realizes your number was obtained in an illegal fashion.

Ask for the supervisor’s supervisor and go ballistic, sure. But the folks you talk to on the phone sure aren’t getting rich being there, and they’re not there because it was the best of the dozens of jobs they could find.


Telemarketers would better serve the nation’s economy by going on welfare. There is an economic value, after all, to being stress-free and not wasting money on voice spam avoidance, not to mention the “Quality of Life” improvement which is so often lacking in economic calculations.

I see a new federal program now… :smiley:


My favorite technique is from my hilarious and opinionated radical lesbian hairdresser (let’s call her Ms. Sappho):

Telemarketer: May I speak to Mr. Sappho?

Ms. Sappho: Sure, one second, I’ll just put the phone down on the counter until he gets here.

Given that the telemarketers are arguing that DNC lists violate their free speech rights, I think we should exercise our free speech rights and be as rude to these callers as possible.

Actually I am just too nice a guy to be all that rude. But if you feel like swearing at them, go ahead.

I don’t think it matters if he was ignorant of whrere he got the number or not. He called a number, for an unauthorized purpose, that was on a do not call list. There are specific penalties for this. The individual telemarketer may not have to bear the brunt of the punishment, but it was definitely he who broke the law. If no one was actually making the calls, no penalites would be levied. :slight_smile:

Daniel, perhaps this thread or this thread will dispell some of the misconceptions you seem to have about the poor, pitiful, kind souls who are forced to take telemarketing jobs even though they’d rather be rocket scientists. Believe it or not, some people actually take those jobs because they like doing it – it’s easy work for a decent wage plus commissions. In fact, it might very well have been the best of a dozen other jobs they could’ve taken (in their opinion). I have absolutely no empathy for them whatsoever.

I’d want to see a cite on that – I’m almost certain that it’s his employer who directs him to make the call who’s breaking the law. While you don’t have to know that a specific act is illegal in order to get collared for doing it, you generally do have to know that you’re doing the act.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse – but often, ignorance of what you’re doing is.

If I’m wrong, and if it’s the poor schmuck on the phone who’s breaking the law, I’d love to be corrected.


So, you’re saying that you’re already on the PA DNC list and you still got a call? And this would have been prevented how, exactly, by being on the national DNC list? And being unlisted/unpublished has no bearing whatsoever on getting telemarketing calls, because some companies do exactly what you’re suggesting…calling every sequential number in an exchange. Of course, companies that do this are supposed scrub the list of numbers on the PA DNC list, but some don’t…so if you are in fact on the PA DNC list, you’d have been better served to get the name and address of the company and filing a claim on the PA DNC website and having them fined $1000 rather than thinking up a million ways to be rude to them.

But again, YMMV.