I was 15 years old when I landed my first job. While many of my friends who were also starting their employment went the fast food or grocery store route, I did something that was much more glamorous.
Well, when I say more glamorous, the only details that made it more glamorous were that I had my own cubicle, a coffee and hot chocolate station with my own company logo mug, and behind me on the wall was one of those inspirational framed quotes with a golf ball on the putting green that could be seen in every office throughout the world in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Yup, 15 years old and living the corporate life.
There is one detail I left out. I was part of the profession that every living being despised the most. From 5-9 p.m. every Monday through Thursday, I was viewed as a descendant sent from the underworld to wreak havoc on your phone lines as I was, you guessed it, a telemarketer.
Over the years I have been a telemarketer, a collections agent, an insurance salesman and a middle school algebra teacher. Let’s just say I might hold the world record for most words thrown at me that aren’t in Webster’s Dictionary. Add these professions to the calls I made trying to get ladies who had my interest to go out to dinner with me, I heard more dial tones than Fido’s got fleas.
Oh, and there is one detail of this telemarketing job that I didn’t tell you. I sold septic tank cleaner. Yes, that’s right, septic tank cleaner, and I sold it during dinner time hours. So, you can imagine how often my solicitation calls went unappreciated. We had a script to read, and for those that fired back with a response, there was a quick response we had to reply with.
“My family and I are having dinner and it is not a good time to talk or think about my septic system. Can you please call back at another time?”
“Mr. Jones, I do understand and it is never a good time to discuss your septic maintenance until it is too late, wouldn’t you agree? Now, will that be a Visa or Mastercard you will be using this evening?” To think that sometimes actually worked still to this day mesmerizes me and makes me question the human psyche. Yes, it keeps me up some nights.
I have always been somewhat sympathetic to telemarketers because I have been there, done that and bought the T-shirt. Well, maybe not the T-shirt but the logo coffee mug. However, there is no screening process anymore to identify if the person answering the phone is your target audience.
That’s right, I’m talking to you Extended Warranty people. You say that this is your “final call” and I really wish you would keep your word on that and maybe even Google the definition of the word “final.” I just want to reply “Oh yeah, well the sound you are about to hear is my final airhorn.”
They even call my son, who is 13 years old. He just got his first cellphone and the telemarketing sharks have a hot new lead.
“Young man, do you own a vehicle?” When he replies yes, they get so excited. “What is the year and make of your vehicle?”
“It’s a 2017 Tonka Truck. I got it for my tenth birthday. You want my card number? Let me grab my library card from school; it has a number on it.” Then, to add insult to injury, I taught my son to add “You should talk to my dad. He owns a car lot and was looking to add a warranty to the 161 cars he has on his lot. But, I don’t have his phone number. Have a good day.” Click!
Thanks for reading, but I’ve got to go. The phone is ringing and it’s a private number. Maybe it’s one of the gals I asked out years ago, and maybe she wants to sell me some septic tank cleaner. I mean, I do own a septic system and it’s 6:18 p.m., so…..