If you think this might possibly offend your reading pleasure today, I urge you to take some time away and return when suitably prepared to participate in my full-bore detonation.
Okay, if you’re still reading, let’s begin.
It was a day like many others. I had worked my way through email, online news, and other assorted tasks. I think I was enjoying the remaining half of a second cup of coffee when the land line phone rang. Of course, I looked first at the caller id and though the number didn’t look familiar, I foolishly answered the call.
“Hello,” said the perky voice, “this is Rachel from card services calling about your credit card …” yada, yada, yada. Now Rachel and her friend Heather are familiar voices on the other end of my phone line … all too familiar!!! Of course, I listened long enough to hear the “Press 9 to be removed.” That I immediately did.
Then I went upstairs to get the last of my Christmas decorations put away. I was removing the wreaths that had been hung outside the dormer windows. In the midst of that task (it was maybe an hour after the first call), my cell phone rang. This time, the caller id said “Unknown” and yet again, I foolishly answered it! And … you guessed it, another Robocall from Rachel!
This time, I decided to press through and I talked with a fellow (Enrique, I think he said) who assured me if I actually understood why he was calling, I would be oh, so very glad to talk with him! (Because he believed in all of the other Rachel-Robocalls I’d received, nobody had thoroughly explained. Right!) So, in addition to insisting on my removal (REMOVAL!) from this call list, I clearly informed him:
(1) I don’t have credit card debt … not $3,000 … not $300 … not even $30! I pay every credit card balance − in full − every single month!
(2) I am registered with every DO NOT CALL list I can find and it is against the law to call me!
(3) So once more, with feeling this time, remove me from your &#)@% list!
I’m pretty sure Rachel’s going to be calling me back.
Ha! All of our numbers are on the government’s so-called “do not call” list, and we update them regularly! I’ve been on this registry since it was first announced. Over the last couple years, every time I receive a Robocall, I’ve gone to the website and filed a complaint. Has it made any difference? Pshaw! What do you think?
Cynicism has definitely set in. I can just envision how that government program began. A couple bureaucrats sitting in a back room complain about fielding complaints from Americans who are sick and tired of telemarketers. Some are even complaining they’ve had to get new phone numbers just to keep the telemarketers at bay!
So one bureaucrat says to the others, “Hey, we could put up a website! Get people to sign up.”
Other guy says, “Great idea! They might even get the impression signing up will stop the calls.”
Third guy hops on the bandwagon, “Yeah, it’ll be easy. A website proves we’ve taken measures to fix the problem and if the calls don’t stop, people should understand. I mean, we’re not miracle-workers.”
First guy comes back, saying, “Dude, people love cruising the web! It’ll be great! If they like their phone numbers, now they can keep ’em. Period!”
All three bureaucrats raise their hands in a group high five! Second guy mimics Jim Carrey (with exaggerated lower jaw jutting outward) and says, “Oh, yeah, we have a winner!”
And the rest of us are saps for having expected this farce to carry the effective force of the federal government. (Can you feel my cynicism growing?) I guess I’m not the only one who’s disgusted with the farcical do-not-call registry. Columnist James Lileks describes its usefulness as something akin to using a piece of paper for a “shield against a rocket-propelled grenade.” Too true.
Last year, I decided to just let the guy on the other end talk and try to convince me I needed his great offer. He began by claiming he could access my accounts. That’s when my blood pressure started to rise. I asked him how he could access my accounts since I’d never given him permission to do so! I asked him which credit card information he was accessing − without my permission. He hemmed and hawed and every time he tried to proceed, I’d interrupt him with the same question: why are you accessing my information when I’ve never given you permission to do so???!
Of course, my intent was to keep him on the phone until he answered my question. What right do any of these “card services” have to access sensitive data without permission? Eventually, this man got angry and said, “You’re wasting my time, you bitch!” He then hung up. I don’t like confrontational calls − and I certainly don’t appreciate being called ugly names, but I felt justified in repeating my pertinent question until I received a response. In the end, I didn’t receive one, but perhaps … I don’t know. I was going to say, maybe he’ll take my name off his list, but that’s probably more than I can hope for.
Not long after that hateful call, my son-in-law let his two year old daughter handle what looked to be (on the caller id) a Robocall. (It was.) She babbled and baby-talked for about ninety seconds and given her short attention span, eventually got bored and concluded, “I love you.” Then she walked away.
I think she handled the call better than I would have done. But I’m starting to worry that they may have believed her “I love you.” Now they’re calling me back hoping for a little more love.
Grrrr! It’s not going to happen!