Friday, August 7, 2009


by Jean Henry Mead

Telemarketing calls are not only disruptive and annoying, they’ve been known to cause marital problems. A friend sent me a list of suggestions to handle telemarketers, who always seem to call ten minutes before the alarm goes off or halfway through our dinner.

Rather than hanging up on the caller, the list suggests saying: “Hold on, please . . .” Put the phone down, walk away and return the receiver to its cradle only after the party has disconnected. Or, if you have more than one line, say: “I have a caller on the other line. Please hold.” Then click to the other line.

We’ve been plagued with hang up calls from a “Private Caller” who's never there. The practice brings to mind the old saying, “Hang up if a man answers,” referring to an illicit call which can lead to marital problems. It’s a telemarketing technique which utilizes a devise that records the time of day when a resident answers the phone, so a telemarketer knows when to call.

To discourage such calls, immediately hit the pound key (#) on your phone six or seven times in quick succession, which confuses the dialing devise and eliminates your phone number from their system.

Telemarketing calls are not the only bothersome intrusions. I’m on everyone’s mailing list and receive stacks of junk mail nearly every day. My friend’s list also suggests ways to eliminate the problem.

Return the advertisements enclosed with your payment. And when you receive 'pre-approved' letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to second mortgages, send them back in their post-paid envelopes. According to my source, it costs more than the regular postage if the company receives them back, and hopefully you’ll be removed from their mailing list. It costs them nothing if you toss unwanted mail.

"Sixty Minutes’" Andy Rooney broadcast the following tips:

1. Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to Bank of America.
2. Send a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you don't receive anything else that day, mail them back their blank application.
3. Send the envelope back empty if you want to keep them guessing. It still costs them postal rates.
4. The banks and credit card companies are currently receiving their own junk mail, but they need to be overwhelmed. Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all, they're paying for it...Twice!
5. Keep our postal service busy. They’re complaining that e-mail is cutting into their profits, and that's why postage rates are constantly increasing. So help them out by increasing the volume of mail.

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