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.