Why won't telemarketers go away?

So, does anyone here buy anything from telemarketers? I know I don’t. My family doesn’t, neither do any of the people I know. Also it seems as if the general concensus on this board is that they are lower than lawyer guano. So how can telemarketers afford to stay in business if they are the most despised profession on the planet and no one buys from them?

I’ve never been a telemarketer (thank goodness), but I did spend a month or so conducting telephone surveys. The people most likely to participate were by far retirees. See, many elderly people live alone and have few visitors or anything else to occupy their time. This is not a very happy or interesting way to live out your golden years, and some of them get downright desperate for someone to talk to. I had a few actually thank me for calling. I don’t doubt that many elderly people are willing to buy from telemarketers just to have something to do.


My family has bought concert tickets from telemarketers.

When I was a telemarketer, our office of 30 would make about $7500 in sales every day. At $17.50 apiece, that’s only 14 units per agent - not hard at all for the full-time workers who usually average at least $60/hr in sales.

A lot of people think “I’ll never buy anything from a telemarketer”, but when someone’s right there on the phone with a good deal, it’s harder to say no.

Our biggest customers weren’t lonely elderly folks (most of whom would either hang up immediately, or talk for 10 minutes and then let us know they couldn’t part with $17.50) but regular housewives.

I’m sure it helped that we were selling concert tickets and theoretical support for firefighters, instead of something less feel-goody like aluminum siding.

Once, when desperate for a few bucks, I took a telemarketing job. Sadly my hometown is becoming a mecca for these outfits, because wages are low and many people are bilingual or students who can work odd hours (i.e. when you are eating dinner).
It was with a supposedly “reputable” company, but I quit after 2 weeks because it was awful. Anyway as Lamia said, elderly people answer their phones politely much of the time (this was 5 or so years ago, maybe they are fed up too).
Also people who don’t really speak much English, and immigrants would usually go along. I suppose they also have been raised to be respectful on the phone. And on another note, southerners had much more polite ways of turning you down than northerners. And very rarely, I did call someone who actually wanted to switch their long distance. But after a week of being told to “f*uck off”," an average of once an hour; I switched to the more honorable profession of pizza delivery.

There was a good thread on telemarketers in the Pit sometime ago. I’m too lazy to search for it, but feel free to do so. Probably have to go back one year. We vetted our venom on telemarketers in that thread.