Funkentelechy, Part II

Last Saturday afternoon, driving to the gym when the phone rings. Almost at reflex, I checked the screen on my Droid to see who it is -- only to find a number with a local area code that I don't immediately recognize. I know for most people unfamiliar numbers are an immediate send to voicemail, but I've been circulating a story for publication locally lately, and you never know when an editor will decide to call. So I let it ring once or twice more -- contemplating whether I should answer or not. Eventually I picked up the call though, and this is what I found:
Me: Hello?
She: Good afternoon, Daniel. My name is Kirsten, I'm calling today to let you know that you've been specially selected to take part in..
At this point I sorta tuned out. Partially because I was sort of annoyed at myself for falling for this trick, especially considering the recent years I had spent dodging, screening, and eventually finding unique ways of dealing with bill collectors -- but mostly because there's just this sinking feeling that hits you when a telemarketer jumps on the line and starts pouring out their opening spiel.
It's like there's this tiny little voice in the back of your head saying, "Other people don't have to deal with this."
She was still going on about this, that, or whatever -- I wasn't really listening very closely, but whenever a call like this gets through my ever so sophisticated screening process, I immediately consider three options:
  1. Hang the hell up on them.

  2. Let them finish their little opening speech, and then politely decline whatever it is they're hawking (having done some phone sales myself in college, I know that sometimes the reason they bark out the opening speech so insistently is that there's a manager sitting over their shoulder expecting them to do just that. Nice-voiced telemarketers on a day where I'm not too tied up in anything else usually get this treatment -- which is probably more than they deserve, but occasionally feels like earning a tiny bit of good karma for my day.

  3. Immediately turn into my father and demand to know how this person got my number in the first place.
At the same time, this is still me we're talking about -- and her voice was kinda have cute..
She: ..there's absolutely no obligation to buy, this is simply a free trial offer to show you just how effective this amazing new breakthrough in male enhancement can be. All I need is your address for confirmation, and..
Me: Wait, what was that last part!?
She:, it's a free trial offer
Me: No, no -- not that part, what is it you're selling? Male enhancement?
She: It's an exciting new herbal supplement that..
Me: Ugh, seriously?
She: (flustered) well, yeah it's.. (I assume she was checking her script for a moment) scientifically proven to..
Me: It's cool, I don't need to hear all that again. What was your name again?
She: Kirsten.
Me: Well, Kirsten -- although I can't tell you how nice it is to be getting a call on a Saturday afternoon from a pretty girl wanting to talk about my penis -- I'm can't say that I'm really all that interested in buying this pill of yours.
Kirsten: (giggling a bit, then recovering) But it's not a sales call, it's a free trial offer..
Me: ..That comes with a convenient automatic renewal feature that sends me a months supply in 10 days for a low, low price yada yada yada
Kirsten: Well, not exactly -- what we do is..
Me: Where are you calling from? My phone is showing this as a local number.
Kirsten: Oh that, our company uses a service that redirects our calls from local call centers so that we can provide the quickest response to..
Me: Right, sure -- but where are you?
Kirsten: ..what?
Me: Where is the office you're calling from located?
Kirsten: Oh, um.. I'm in Maine
Me: Really? Where at? I have a dear friend who lives up there.
Kirsten: Westbrook
Me: Westbrook? Never heard of it -- What's that like?
Kirsten: Ugh, It's totally boring. I hate it here.
Me: What's wrong with it?
Kirsten: I've only been here for a little while, I hardly know anyone.
Me: Where did you move from?
Kirsten: Boston
Me: What? Why the heck would you move from a town like Boston to some place no one's ever heard of?
Kirsten: My parents moved here for work.
Me: Ah, well that sorta sucks for you, doesn't it?
Kirsten: I know, right?
Me: Still, it can't be all bad -- you just need to get out there and meet some new people. Shouldn't be that tough for a girl with a pretty voice like yours.
Kirsten: (giggling again) ..Thank you.
Me: And yet, here you are on a Saturday calling me to talk about my junk.
Kirsten: (laughing louder, then catching herself to whisper back at me) Stop that -- You're gonna get me in trouble.
Me: You're selling knock-off Viagra over the phone and you're not allowed to laugh? Come on -- If I had a job like that, I'd be cracking up all day.
Kirsten: Ugh, no you wouldn't -- it's soo boring.
Me: Why would you sign up for something like that? Especially on a weekend.
Kirsten: Especially on a weekend. That's the worst part, I don't usually work Saturday's at all. They called me in today.
Me: Wait, you were called in? You mean they called you in specifically to call me about my penis? What are you, ..some kind of specialist?
Kirsten: (laughing) No, I'm covering for somebody else. *sighs* You're funny.
Me: Yeah, but according to your little list there -- I'm apparently not that much fun on a date.
Kirsten: (laughs) No, it's nothing like that -- these names are all come from magazine subscription lists.
Me: What do you mean?
Kirsten: The company buys lists of names of subscribers and their phone numbers from magazine publishers.
Me: So.. what you're saying is that because I read Playboy, it's just assumed that somethings wrong with my penis?
Kirsten: (laughing) ..pretty much, yeah.
Me: That's cold, Kirsten.
Kirsten: (after a moment, with a different tone to her voice) Well I don't know, Daniel -- are you're saying you don't need this free trial offer?
Me: No, girl. Not at all.
Kirsten: Yeah, I'm getting that feeling too.
I'd love to tell you that something else developed at that point, but despite the vibe that was clearly on the line, there really wasn't much further for the conversation to go after that.

Besides, for all I know she could have been some high school chick or something. I know that sounds kinda skeevy and all, but as far as I'm concerned if some company considers you to be mature enough to call me on the phone and talk about erections -- then whatever happens on the line after that is fair game.

Still, it was an interesting way to spend a drive from point A to point B, and if nothing else -- gave me something to grin about as I headed in for my workout.
I do wonder, though what might have happened with Kirsten the cute-voiced telemarketer.
After all, those calls are recorded for quality control and training purposes.

[Listening to:  The Dirty Heads - "Insomnia" ]


Sherri said…

Nice to confirm these things about you, Hex!

-Can't Take It
Maria said…
Recording all calls hardly ever happens.

I worked for a very large call center that had had the ability to record all calls. When the computer recorder thing broke, they never fixed it. And when a supervisor joined a call to listen, a message showed up on my monitor. I had phone sex with a few customers... anyone who got this service for free after calling HH Gregg for appliance and TV repair around 2003, you're welcome!
Bef said…

you are so special
unMuse said…
haha! Only you.