Saturday, August 13, 2011

On Excuses

As a telemarketer, I've heard all kinds. People make up all sorts of reasons why they can't buy, sell, or participate. They lie about physical conditions and instruct others to lie, all because they don't want to participate.

To be fair, I'm not selling anything, I'm not asking them to buy anything, and I'm not asking them to donate anything that they don't have plenty of to share: a little bit of time and a little bit of blood.

I can usually tell when they're lying, not always, but often enough. It's not that I'm gifted at telling that sort of thing, but because people are so terrible at it. Tell me you're not interested, and I'll take you off the hook. It doesn't matter how convincing I am, if you're not interesting, then we're just wasting each other's time.

I get my share of pick-up-hang-ups too. For those who don't know, that's when someone answers the phone and then immediately disconnects. The first thing I do when that happens is hit redial. If they do that again, I pop them out of the system for three days. Three days! If you tell me to stop calling, I can take you out of the system for a year! Isn't that worth the five seconds it takes to ask me to stop calling before hanging up?

About a year ago, I had someone do a pick-up-hang-up, and I hit redial per usual. The second time, they picked up the phone and asked what they had to say to get me to stop calling. I answered, "Ask me to stop calling." They hung up the phone again, without asking. I hit redial a second time, something I do only very rarely, to give them another chance. They picked-up-hung-up again. I took them out of the system for three days; I have no idea what happened the next time someone got their name.

Far more often, the customer's child picks up the phone.

"Daddy, someone wants to speak to you."
"Tell them I'm not home!"
"He's not home."

It's often funny. Depending on the age of the child (determined by the sound of their voice), I might follow it up with, "Would you tell him that we need his help?" More often than not, the kid obediently passes on the message right then and there, without hanging up the phone. Sometimes the father comes and picks up the line (always gruffly) and sometimes all we hear is a click.

Seriously, folks. Those receivers have much better pick up than you might think, and teaching your kids that it's okay to lie to people isn't a good idea; if you're not careful, they might do the same to you one day. Just come to the phone and tell me you're not interested... or shout it, and you won't even have to get up.

Don't bother me with excuses unless you want to help, but can't due to medical procedures, conditions, or travel plans. Those I all understand and will cut you some slack.

Busyness though is just an empty excuse. I worked full time while being a full-time college student, and even paid my own tuition. Bite the bullet and take some time to help someone else for a change.