Working from my home office, I run the risk of answering either my home line or my business phone and hearing that oh-so-familiar telemarketer banter: “Hi, Mrs. Papa – Um, Papas – Um Paspacotta [they can never say my name], how are you today?”

As if they care.

Normally I am polite with telemarketers, feeling sorry for someone who has to make a living phoning people who don’t need their carpets cleaned.

This morning’s experience was particularly galling. The home line rang and a deep male voice with sloppy diction rapidly spat out the following sentence: “This is XXX Windows and Doors.” [I couldn’t make out the name and I don’t want to cite the wrong company, so let’s keep it anonymous.] “We have a 25-percent-off special on windows and doors.”

I said, “No thank you, I’m not interested,” and hung up.

Two minutes later my office line rang. Same guy. Same spiel.

Two minutes later my home line rang yet again. Same guy. Same spiel.

Arrrrgh. If I didn’t need to invest thousands of dollars in new windows and doors the first time, why would I want them the third time? And how often do people BUY windows and doors anyway? I receive so many of these calls, you’d think windows and doors were like milk and bread, to be purchased a couple of times a week.

I know it’s hard to sell by phone. But at the very least, telemarketers need:
1. Reliable auto-dialers that don’t redial the same number.
2. A solid script that engages the person at the other end of the phone and relays the benefits of the product. Not easy, I know.

In the meantime, I’m screening my calls for the rest of the day.


  1. So true! I get quite a few telemarketing calls throughout the week and generally try to screen calls so I can avoid the silly conversations that ensue. One of my favorites was a call I received from a police group asking for donations. The caller tried to guilt me into giving him money by asking, “Don’t you believe the police provide an important service by protecting the public? “ Yes, but… I’m still not giving you my address or credit card number. My other favorite happened years ago. I was receiving several telemarketing calls a day and finally created a voice mail greeting that stated if the caller was a telemarketer, to please never call again since I wasn’t interested. This particular instance I happened to pick up the phone in the middle of the message; it was a telemarketer who screamed at me that my message was rude and disrespectful and that I was trying to prevent him from making a living. Go figure.

  2. Andrea, I too have received many of those calls asking for money for police officers!

    If I DO get a call from a charity I think is legitimate, I ask them to send me something in writing.

    I like your voice-mail greeting idea!

    Thanks for commenting,

  3. Thanks for YOUR comment, Dan.
    Yes, I wish that call display were foolproof.
    One more point: I do distinguish between a telemarketer who is trying to sell the same product to the whole universe (and doesn’t know my name) and a cold caller who knows who I am and believes I possibly could be interested in his product. In the latter case, I give the person the benefit of the doubt and listen to the pitch.
    Thanks for the trackback and the comment!

  4. This might be just a really old British thing, but going back a decade or so ago the initial greeting for picking up the phone was to quote your phone number.
    I was almost going to suggest answering the phone with that greeting adding “if you are a telemarketer please delete this number from your database” or something similar.
    But a voicemail is that one step better and so much more 21st century. 🙂


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