As a child, I was always taught to be polite, and I strive to be courteous under all circumstances. There is one situation, though, where I have come to the conclusion that, the normal rules of courtesy simply do not apply. This is when I make the mistake of answering my phone and there is a telemarketer at the other end.
I know these are just people trying to make a living, but their intrusive behavior strains my patience to its limits. Recently, while sitting in my alternate man cave (an office I’ve set up in my basement for when it’s too cold to work in the unheated garage), I answered the phone. After I said ‘hello’ a bright young female voice at the other end of the line asked for a Mr. someone or another, a name that isn’t attached to anyone who resides at my address. I politely said ‘you have the wrong number,’ whereupon, this bright voice informed me abruptly, ‘no, I have the right number, just the wrong name,’ and then launched into a machine-gun rendition of a pitch designed to get me to donate to what is, I know, a worthy cause, but I was immediately turned off by her aggressive approach.
The problem was, once she started talking, she didn’t offer a pause long enough for me to tell her I wasn’t interested, or to otherwise politely terminate the conversation. So, I did what I do when I get frustrated with one of those telephone tree gadgets that walks you through an interminable series of choices of pressing ‘1,’ press ‘2.,’ etc., I hung up. Right in the middle of whatever it is she was saying, I softly put the phone back in the cradle. That is, I know, a rude thing to do, but when someone tells you that you’ve called the wrong number, it is also rude to basically tell them that they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Unfortunately, I doubt the network of telemarketers share information to the extent that my number will go onto a ‘this guy’s a grouch, so don’t bother calling him.’ I’ll just have to remember to let the answering machine continue to screen my calls.
In the meantime, if you’re a telemarketer and you have a sensitive disposition, I’d advise you to stay off my line.