By: Gertie (Angela Gillaspie © October 2001)
I don't know about y'all, but I'm so mad I could just about spit! Here recently I throwed my back out, so I've been spending more time in the house sittin' in my recliner watching The Price is Right. Since I've been inside more, I've noticed how much my phone rings during the day. Purt-near all of the callers are citified pests lookin' to sell me something over the telephone.
You can always tell it's one of them solicitors when you answer the phone and you hear a pause, then a click, and then a bunch of noise in the background. And next, some feller mispronounces your name, "Hi there, Mrs. Grail-vey?"
Heck far, if they're gonna interrupt my daily price guessing with Bob Barker, you'd think they'd at least say my name right!
What really bugs me is the poor excuse for crap they're selling. The worst is:
- Carpet cleaning services. Oh please. I done ripped up my wall-to-wall rugs years ago. After all the dogs and kids that have traipsed through my house, I gave up on trying to keep the stink and stains out. Hard wood and linoleum! That's the way to go!
- Cemetery plots. Like I need this. We just bury our dead out in the family plot over on Aunt Earline's property next to the peach orchard.
- Handouts for laid-up folks or them infernal politicians. If I want to contribute, I'll hop on my tractor and drop off some cookies, pies, or cash. On the phone? Nope.
- Water testing. My well water is fine. A few dead frogs never hurt nobody.
- Lawn service. This is an insult. I take pride in cutting my own grass and pulling my own weeds. Besides, they probably are looking in my bushes to steal my prime 1978 El Camino that I've been working on for the past several years.
- Credit cards. Oh sure, just what I need. They don't take credit cards down at the mercantile where I shop anyways. I can only imagine the heck that old Don would give me if I was to try charge my horse feed and baling twine.
- Travel deals. Leave the south? You've gotta be kidding.
- Security systems. That's why I have a dog and a double-barreled shotgun for.
- Insurance. I've been dealing with the same insurance feller for years and years and I ain't gonna change because of some slick talking sales creep called me at bedtime with some rates I couldn't beat. I don't think so.
- Vinyl siding. And cover up my cedar? Nah.
- Salvation. Last I heard, Jesus don't charge admission.
I was thinking, why can't they sell something I actually want or need? Why can't they sell stuff like:
- Toilet paper? I can always use this! Emergency delivery within 30 minutes like those pizza parlors would be a bonus!
- What about selling foods like corn dogs, Oreos, pork rinds, oh, and fat back! Hey now, I would definitely buy that!
- They could sell feminine hygiene products like maxi-pads, panty liners, etc. They could put your name on a list and just call you during THAT time of the month.
- Other products to sell would be those useful (and embarrassing) medications like Hurt-a-rhoid salve, castor oil, enemas, etc.
- How about tickets to the races, football games, gun shows, Merle Haggard concert tickets, oh, the list goes on!
- And don't forget the items we use every day! Stuff like WD-40, duct tape, batteries, 15-pound test fishing line, gasoline, and motor oil, just in case.
Telephone solicitors serve no purpose except to take money from us. This ain't sales it's AGGRAVATIN'! There ain't no excuse to buy anything from someone who makes a job out of driving folks crazy. Where do they find these people? Do they run an ad in the paper sayin', "Only good-fer-nuthin-no-count need apply"? Are they revenooers moonlighting in the off-season? Did persistence come naturally, or did they learn it by watching them panhandlers at the airport? Dang! They're like a booger you can't thump off.
What can you do?
- Hang up. I usually just hang up and hope that they get the message after a while. At least after the fourth or fifth time, that is.
- If I had the time, I'd hit them where it hurts - taking up their time. They make as many calls to as many people as possible knowing that a certain percentage of folks will buy their crap. If you stay on the phone with them and act like you're going to buy something, you're keeping them from calling other folks.
- Immediately ask them, "Are you calling to sell me something?" This really freaks 'em out. When they admit that they are, then scream into the phone, lay the phone down next to the supper table, and then finish your meal. Make sure you speak loud enough so they can hear your dinner discussion (which will include ugly remarks about solicitin' when good folks are trying to eat after a hard day's work).
- You know, I was thinking ... that solicitor may need some soothing crooning. Why not sing a little Patsy Cline or Roger Miller to 'em?
- If you feel led to preach then you can always get evangelical with the solicitor by asking, "Are you a friend of Jesus?" and then break out singin' yer favorite hymn.
- Barter with them. Offer your mule for a year's supply of free long distance minutes.
- Try to sell THEM something. Tell 'em you're gonna be in their neighborhood next week and you'd like to show off your new yodeling-combination-changing-the-oil-in-the-lawn-mower trick for just $9.95 a month and all they have to do is confirm their address. Heh.
And lastly, you can tell them in detail what they've interrupted. In my case, I usually raise my voice a couple of notches and loudly reflect on the thrilling memory of guessing the price of Jif™ peanut butter within five cents. Sigh, if I'd only been on The Price is Right show, that gorgeous dark green hopped-up 1975 Vega would've been mine.
Here are some links, info, and tips on how to handle them soliciting varmints: