Telemarketers are an unwelcome side effect of the progress we have made as a society. The telephone has allowed us to communicate with others over long distances, but it has also allowed strangers to invade our own homes in an attempt to get us to buy crap we don't need and never wanted. Every 40 millionth one-minute call spent getting rid of an unwanted telemarketer is equal to one wasted human life. I do not know how many telemarketing calls are made per day, but I would not be surprised to learn that they fractionally murder one or two of us every month. Here is a way to fight back.

You will need:

  1. A telephone with two lines, or one line and no desire to receive incoming calls for a while.
  2. An ordinary kitchen timer.
  3. An annoying telemarketer.
  1. Sit down to dinner. Wait for a telemarketer to interrupt you. This may not happen immedately, so plan to eat dinner for a few days.
  2. When one finally does call you, act very interested in what they're selling. It doesn't matter what they are selling, just act like it had just occurred to you that day that you needed a new mutual fund, or more magazine subscriptions.
  3. About 2 minutes into their spiel, inturrupt them and say "Hold on, I've got a call on the other line." Then put them on hold. If you're on POTS, say "Hold on, there's someone at the door," and set the phone down.
  4. Set your kitchen timer for 10 minutes and go back to eating.
  5. When the timer expires, pick up the phone again and say "I'm sorry, I just had this major chat with my friend." If you're up to it, you can even make up some details of the chat. The point, as you've probably guessed by now, is to waste their time.
  6. Let them talk for two more minutes. Then repeat the three previous steps. When you pick up the phone again, apologize profusely for making them wait, again.
  7. Let them finish their spiel, and ask you if you are interested. Tell them "Oh my, I certainly like that, but I have to go talk it over with my spouse. Hold on a sec." and IMMEDIATELY put them on hold. Don't give them time to suggest that you put your spouse on the phone.
  8. Give them 20 minutes this time.
  9. Come back and ask them some inane question, like "Are you going to ship those magazines in a protective wrapper? If not, won't they get damaged? If so, won't our neighbors think we'll be getting porn in the mail?"
  10. As soon as you get your answer, say "hold on", and give them 10 more minutes.
  11. Come back on and tell them you're ready to buy. Tell them you want to pay by check, but the only checks you have are drawn on foreign banks in foreign currency. If this is an offer that was given to you because you have a certain credit card, then insist on this.
  12. They'll probably have to check with their manager. When they come back, they should be on hold. Check the phone every 5 minutes to see if they're back.
  13. If they can't do it, then say "Ok, that's too bad, bye bye." and hang up. If they do say they can do it, then say "Ok, but you know, we talked it over a little bit more, and we decided we can't do it at this time. Sorry, bye." and hang up. If you've done it right, you should have just wasted more than an hour of their time that they could have spent interrupting other people.

"But wait!" you say, "Won't they hang up on you?" Well, that's the beauty of it. Telemarketers are almost never allowed to hang up on you. Sometimes, the phone hook isn't even built into their device. And you're acting like you're going to be spending a lot of money on their service. If their call is being monitored, then they'll be in deep shit if they try to cut short your call. Some may argue that this method only torments the weakest members of the telemarketing company and not the decision makers, but if they're taking money to annoy you, then they're just as culpable. It's not like that's the only job for them to take in this market. Personally, I'd rather work in the food industry again than do telemarketing.

As a former telemarketer myself I would like to add the following:
  • If they're being monitored by their supervisor (as oppose to their call quality branch) s/he may intervene and ask them to log the call as not interested/applicable.
  • Further more they can always get the attention of their supervisor and have them authorized the disconnection and get the call logged as previous.
  • If the telemarketing outfit has a really bad rig (these are normally the telemarketing's poor brother teleresearching) after a long period of time of silence if a click is heard, the call can be deemed disconnected. This doesn't apply to guys who have a digital rig. Cause in most cases the digital rig aka internal phone system aka pbx is smart enough to know if the call is still active or if it's been disconnected. In short if you have a manual dialup system you're fine, if it's got a display don't bother.
I personally would have loved these kinda calls. True, commission based guys (insurance agents) would be killing themselves now if they were on a call like this. But you must realize the majority of telemarketers who are on a commission are people who have chosen to become professionals in this field *shivers*.

Your average student-type (from University of LoCash) who takes a job as a telemarketer would happily wait for you. Because it would mean not having to a potential of 10-30 (depending on your market's sales per hour reqs) calls in that hour (assuming it was for duration of an hour). :)

This is a trick I like when I have time to kill and some one calls with a survey. You make them a deal; for every question they ask you get to ask one, usually they will play along. This is fun because now you are wasting the money of the higher-ups and both you and the guy on the other end can sit back and have a conversation. I have found that most people doing the questionaires are starving students like me who have taken a temp job.

Another one I like is when someone calls to sell you something try to sell them your old lawnmower or something. Have fun with it.

Finally if you are really in a bad mood pretend to be an employee of the FCC. Asking them for their home phone number has been done so many times they expect it, but just for shits and giggles incorperate the two:

Hello, this is Phil. I have a deal for you on an electric curtain pull.
Hey, Phil this is Dave. Tell me, what is your home phone number?
I.. umm, I don't think that is really relevant
Oh, Phil, of course it is; in fact I think it's only fair. I mean, you have my home phone number, why shouldn't I have yours?
I umm well...
Tell ya what Phil, let me talk to your boss. Is he there?
Well, actually he stepped out for a moment (note: the boss is never out of contact)
Really, well did you know I work for the FCC? Do you have any idea how many federal regulations you are breaking right now? I want the name of your company, your boss' full name and your full name, right now.
Oh, here's my boss, he just walked in.
Hello, this is Jake, the Supervisor.
Well Jake-the-Supervisor, I was just telling Phil that I work for the FCC....
You get the idea.

Once I got all the way up to one of the company's vice presidents before they caught on. He threatened to press charges

"Really, you want to admit that more than half your company was outsmarted by some dumb college kid? That's pretty ballsy of you." *click*

Hello sir! Are you interested in a long-distance savings plan?

Well yeah, I would be, but I'm gonna kill myself once I hang up the phone... unless you can stop me.
Two words: Subtlety and tact.

I am at the house of a friend whose last name happens to be Boatti. This is pronounced, "Bo-Ahtee," by the way. So Mr. Boatti (well, actually it's his father, but whatev) gets a call from one of the aforementioned telemarketers. He decides to let me handle him.

Him:Hello, Mr. Boatti (pronounced "boat-ee"), I'm from (insert cable/internet company name here), and I just wanted to let you know that we're currently offering a super one-time deal on cable modem internet access, with... (goes on for some time)
Me:I see... That sounds very interesting. I just have one more question: what race is the baby?
Him:.... I'm sorry, sir?
Me: The baby. I mean, I'm assuming that it comes with one... I was hoping for an Asian male, or perhaps West European... Though I understand that a healthy African-American female will fetch quite a nice price on the black market. How flexible is your baby plan?
Him:(long pause} You have a nice day, sir.
Me: You too, now.

And I always thought a telemarketer would get fired if they hung up first.

"Hello, is Mr. (name) there?"

"Wha? What did you say?"

"May I speak to Mr. (name) please?"


At this point, begin to sound very distraught, possibly crying.

"Is something wrong sir?"


Now, at this point, you can either hang up, or since they usually can't hang up, keep the act going. Remember children, improv can be fun! I just DARE you not to laugh.

Yes, I realize the act has a slight lack of plausability, but odds are the telemarketer will be so taken back by it, they won't realize that...


"Hello Mr. Johnson, this is Boe Jow and first of all I would like to emphasize that we are not trying to sell you anything, we would simply like to offer you a free estimate for a new credit card."

"Could you please take this number off of your call list?"

At this point the Tele-marketer is obligated by law to do as you ask and hang up.

"Yessir, goodbye."

It isn't necessary to torment the poor guy who's on the phone all day to earn minimum wage.

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