From: (David L. Cathey)

Tormenting Telmarketers: A Game You Can Play at Home!

   Everyone has gotten a call from a Telemarketer. The new Scourge of the
   Telephone System. Previously when the phone rang, you always wondered
   if it was someone you knew, or another schmuck with something to sell.
   Well, the time has come to turn the tables. We need to take control of
   our own phones. We need to take the ``market'' out of Telemarketing.
          Telemarketers take the brute force approach to making sales. If
          you talk to a whole bunch of people, someone will buy what you
          are selling.
          Waste as much of their time as you can. For each minute that
          you waste means several potential customers that will not be
          reached. Make Telemarketing unprofitable. Hanging up only
          increases the changes for them to make a sale. Don't let this
          Most of the preliminary stuff is done by someone making minimum
          wage, and reads a script. Let them finish. It's easy points,
          and you were watching Star Trek and weren't using your phone
          anyway. It's easy to keep them interested using ``attentive
          grunting'', similar to when your mother calls.
          Basic Point System:

    For each minute spent on the phone          10 pts.
    Getting transfered to someone who makes
                     more than minimum wage    15 pts
    For each minute spent on the phone with
      person making more than minimum wage    25 pts

         Bonus Points:

 Getting them to repeat part of the "script"  5 pts/each
 Getting answers to stupid questions            15 pts/each
 Changing the subject                               50 pts/each
 Making the sales person angry                   175 pts
 Making the sales person use profanity         750 pts
 Get their boss on the phone, and tell them
               the salesman used profanity   1500 pts
 Getting their 1-800- number                     10 pts
 Posting their 1-800- number to as
                   a free "Phone Sex" line   50 pts
 Checking the number a week later and it is
                      busy or disconnected   5000 pts


Me:     Yes?
Them:   Hi, I'm with Fly-By-Night Carpet Cleaning
        and we're in your area [...] [start clock-)]
Them:   [...] would like to know it you are interested?
Me:     Sure...
Them:   Well, we are currently offering [...]
Them:   [...] depending on the size of the rooms.
Me:     Well, how much for the whole house?
Them:   Let me transfer you to <???> [15 bonus pts!]
Them:   Sir?
Me:     Yes?
Them:   How large is your house? [25 pts/min!]
Me:     Oh, about 2,000 sqft.
Them:   [...] Well, that would be about $xxx
Me:     It won't hurt the floor, will it? [stupid ?]
Them:   Oh, no! We use a [..this usually takes some time!..]
        and is completely safe.
Me:     Even with my pets? [stupid ?]
Them:   Oh, yes. The chemicals we use [...]
Me:     Do you have to pre-treat, since I have pets?
Them:   Yes, and we do that with [...] [repeat!]
Me:     But the original offer was for $39.95, does that
        include treating for pets?
Them:   [...]
Me:     Well, it is kindof dirty.  The guys were over for
        the game.  Did you see the Cowboys vs. the Rams?
        [subject change]
Them:   Yes.
Me:     What a game!  That last touchdown pass!  Wasn't that
        a great play?
Them:   Well, back to your house...
Me:     Oh yes, what about moving the furniture?
Them:   [...]
Me:     Do you clean furniture, too?  Those guys spilled some
        beer.  Have you smelled old beer on furniture before?
        But what a game, eh?!  I couldn't believe that they
        couldn't move the ball in the second quarter...
        [...] [subject change]
Them:   Ahem... Would you like us to come out? [angry???]
Me:     Well, when could you come out?
Them:   How about next week?
Me:     Hmmm...  Morning or afternoon?
Them:   Either would be fine.
Me:     Do you have anything the week after?
Them:   Sure, can I put you down for Tuesday?

[Okay, let's try for those last big bonus points:]

Me:     Well, I don't think it matters, since I have all
        hardwood floors here!
Them:   Dammit! (YES!  250 Points)

   Subject: More games to play with telemarketers
   From: (arch harris)
   Some additional ``games'' one can play with telemarketers:

    1. If you recognize they are telemarketers before you have spoken,
       pretend you are an answering machine with a message along these
       lines. ``Thank you for calling CMTCC, Citizens for Making
       Telemarketing a Capital Crime. We now have the support of about
       25% of the legislature. Soon we will be able to execute those
       worthless, money grubbing dregs, making the earth a better place
       to live. Please send your tax deductible contribution to...''
    2. See how many times you can put them on hold. First make sure you
       get the name of the person you are talking to, because sooner or
       later they will hang up. Then if they call you again, you can
       express your righteous indignation at being hung up on, and let
       them know you were going to buy/contribute, but given the rudeness
       of ... you have decided not to. They key to this one is make the
       time they have to hold fairly short. After 30 seconds or so tell
       them you have to turn down the stove and put them on hold for 45
       secs. On returning, ask them to start their pitch again. Every
       time you return have them restart their pitch. Some good excuses
       for putting them on hold for a short while: the kids are fighting,
       the pet needs to go in/out, the baby is into ?, someone is at the
       door, you have a call on another line, ...
    3. If you have an answering machine, turn it on so they can here you
       are recording the call. Make sure you get the person's name, and
       the company's name and address. Then inform them something like
       this. ``Under state law I am hereby notifying you that you (you as
       an individual and the company) are prohibited from calling this
       number (xxx-xxxx) to solicit ever again. If you or the company
       calls again, you personally and the company will be liable for
       penalties up to $10,000. Is this clear?'' Just something to
       hopefully make them nervous. (Actually Virginia came pretty close
       to passing a law like this. Unfortunately, the telemarketing lobby
       bribed our legislature into killing the bill. Maybe next year...)
    4. After they have gone through their entire sales pitch, tell them
       how interested you are. But first, you want to talk to them about
       ... Then launch into a pitch for them to contribute to some
       charity that sounds quasi-legit but is really just for your
       personal benefit. If they do not contribute, then hang up in
       righteous indignation that they are such uncaring human beings. If
       they will, give then a address to send the contribution to, thank
       them, and hang up before they have a chance to change the subject
       back to what they called you about.
    5. After they have given their entire sales pitch, say you are
       interested but first you need the telemarketer's personnel home
       phone number. When they ask why tell them that they have your
       personel home number so before you complete the deal, you want to
       be on even ground with them and you need their number. If they
       don't give it to you, yup, you guessed it, hangup in righteous
       indignation. If they do, say you will call back to
       order/contribute. Then do so at some reasonable hour, in case they
       have given you a phony number. But if it is a correct number, post
       it on the net. Not so anyone would harrass this person, ;) but so
       all of us would have the opportunity to contact this person about
       whatever it is that is being telemarketed. And since so many of us
       are night owls, we will be calling at a time convenient to us,
       like 4 am. ;)