And Don’t Call Me Shirley
“Hello, is Skippy at home? Mr. Skippy, we’d like to introduce you to our low-cost, personal VA loan, and with only a few simple questions over the phone, Mr. Skippy, we give you a personal line of credit and with some easy information from you, then, Mr. Skippy, we can give you…”
Wait a minute. Hard to fully comprehend exactly what she was saying, her English was barely understandable, fragmented and broken, even while reading from her prepared telemarketer script. The loud din of numerous foreign voices rabbled in the background sounding like a whole boiler room chock-full of similar telemarketing ilk, calling from, oh, I don’t know, Mumbai, India, perhaps?
The whole thing seemed, quite frankly, rather sketchy.
Every day I would ask her name and company. Every day she would promptly end the call by hanging up on me without disclosing so much as a whisper. If I’d say I wasn’t interested, she’d call again the following day. When firmly told, “No. And stop calling me!” she would ignore me as if swatting an annoying fly into the ethers.
She’s been calling for ten days straight now. A relentless battle of perseverance and wills has been taking place on both sides. She calls as much as four times per day if I don’t pick up. Morning, noon, and night, it makes no difference. When I do pick up, it’s always the same spiel. It’s like Groundhog Day and I’m Bill Murray. Or Punxsutawney Phil. I still don’t know who she is.
Hold on. I thought I was on the Do Not Call Registry. As it turned out, I was signed up– at one time. The Registry, to my surprise, actually expires. It’s only good for five years. After your five years have ticked off the atomic marketing clock, presto and wham-bang! Like a clockwork orange, you and your phone become free game for the tele-masses to prey upon, even if you thought your unlisted number offered some semblance of privacy. Believe me: they’ve got your name and number, they know how to use it, and they don’t have to follow Robert’s Rules of Order. Badges? They don’t need no stinkin’ badges.
So, if you’re one of those who signed up during the Registry’s origin in 2007, you’re due for an onslaught of telemarketing prowess in 2012. If you’re expired, you’ll soon know. You’ll know because the calls will have already started, bringing their dubious fly-by-night sales pitches and cockamamie schemes ringing at you from all sides of the day and evening into the quiet privacy of your humble adobe. Once the madness starts, it takes 30 days for it to stop.
Unless you register again, now. The National Do Not Call Registry is available to help consumers block unwanted telemarketing calls at home.
If you haven’t already done so, you may want to consider registering your phone number, again, with the National Do Not Call Registry. Doing so will limit the telemarketing calls you receive. The Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
You may register your phone number by calling toll-free, 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236), from the number you wish to register, or you can register online at www.donotcall.gov. Calling is much easier and it takes a hassle-free and anonymous 20 seconds to do. Registration is free.
After you register, telemarketers covered by the National Do Not Call Registry will have up to 30 days from the date you register to stop calling you. The Registry covers most, but not all, telephone solicitations. Calls are still permitted from collection agencies and creditors, political organizations, charities, and pollsters and individuals doing surveys.
I called and re-registered. The calls stopped. The lady from Mumbai disappeared into the ethers.
Take that, Mumbai, and don’t call me. I’m surely serious. And don’t call me Shirley!