Charlie Brown – Charles Schulz
This is the time of the year when the feeling is great. If only for a few weeks, you allow your guard down and throw your caution to the winds, imbued with the spirit of peace, generosity, and goodwill towards your fellowmen.
It’s in this vulnerable state that savvy telemarketers and solicitors from various charities know you’ll be an easy target for their sales pitch. As a result, they make sure you get all the calls they think you deserve.
It was early morning when the phone rang. It made me nervous. When I got a call this early before, it was from my sister in the Philippines who told me that dad was rushed to the hospital in serious condition. This time, however, it was from a telemarketer offering a long distance plan.
“Are you a Filipino?” the friendly voice on the line asked.
“Yes,” I answered groggily, feeling relieved and annoyed at the same time. “Do you know what time it is? It’s 5:00 am.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. but we have this great promotion that can’t wait. Now you can call the Philippines for only 12 cents per minute. What’s more, for a limited time, you can try our service risk-free. We’re offering you 20 free minutes.”
“I’m not interested,” I mumbled.
“Why not? Don’t you want the 20 free minutes?”
“I have my reasons.”
I hung up the phone and went back to bed.
How did I get this call? It must have originated in Manila. In the u.s, the law prohibits telephone solicitations before 8 am and after 9 pm.
The other day, I was sitting on the john when the landline phone rang. I had to wipe my butt quickly and ran to the phone, almost tripping in my unzipped pants in the process. When I lifted the receiver panting, all I heard was a click and nothing more. Good grief! It must be from a telemarketer’s predictive dialer. Since I wasn’t quick enough, the call was considered ‘abandoned’ and it wasn’t transferred to a live sales agent.
But still the damage was done. When I stumbled back into the bathroom, I was unable to resume the peace and quiet that I was enjoying before. Worst of all, nothing would come out anymore no matter how I tried. It had to wait another day.
It seems nowadays everybody wants your money whether you can afford it or not. To their credit, some charities are willing to charge your donation to your credit card. They will even allow you to pay it on installments if you wish. Every possible accommodation will be done to compensate for your generosity.
Of course, you have the right to say ‘no’ or make excuses like ‘I’m having dinner. please call some other time.’ But honestly, when somebody from the Sheriff organization calls, what are your odds? How many times can you refuse before they finally exhaust your resistance from their incessant pleadings? Trained in psychology, they know it’s just a matter of time. So, why not give in right off the bat and save everybody trouble?
I understand that times are hard. It’s getting more and more difficult to get a buck. But does anybody have any idea how I can get rid of these enterprising folks and enable me to enjoy the rest of the holidays ‘risk-free’ as some of them would put it?