Friday, June 26, 2009


I'm not a rude person, in general. I'm very patient in grocery stores and traffic jams. I'll put up with inefficient servers and cashiers. I'll ignore most of the stupid things that people say to me and chalk it up to when a family member said having breast cancer would get me a free boob job.

They weren't trying to be offensive and insensitive. They thought they were pointing out what seemed like an awesome benefit to them.

Everyday incidents like that, I seem capable of releasing. However, I wonder if I really just store up my frustration to keep ready for my true enemies: telemarketers and door-to-door salespeople.

This past week two people came to the door trying to sell us the local paper. I told them we already had a subscription to the paper. They proceeded to try and convince me we needed another local paper, so we could have two different perspectives. I told them I wasn't interested, thank you. They continued to try and persuade me, at which point I simply closed and locked the door in their faces.

The Rationalist was shocked. He'd never seen me do something like that.

"Mom! That was so rude! They were trying to talk to you and you just closed the door in their faces!"

"Yep...I did."

I'm such an unrepentant sinner.

My stance is that if I have been nice enough to politely listen to a person's opening spiel and inform them that I am not interested in their magazines, cleaning solutions, or meat products....and they refuse to accept my verbal decline of their services....then I am under no further obligation to be "nice."

They are coming onto my property, interrupting my day...usually while I have something on the stove, or have visitors...and being generally obnoxious and pushy. They are ripe targets for my wrath.

Telemarketers also fall victim to my discourteous replies, especially if they have called us more than once. Discover has called me 4 times to get me to enroll in an extra program. I declined nicely the first 2 times. The most recent time, frustrated by their repeated attempts to enlist me in something I have blatantly refused, I was not pleasant.

Today, as I was leaving the store, I answered my cell phone only to have someone ask for my dead father. I mentally tried to figure out who would have associated our cell number with my father and drew a blank.

"May I ask who is calling?" I said.

"'s Wachovia. We are calling our business customers and asking them to take part in a survey about customer service, and to see if we can interest them in any of our other services."

I was perturbed and annoyed. My father's account was closed and a new account was estate account which is clearly labeled Estate of Daniel M. It was through this account that Wachovia had obtained my cell phone number. It should have been clear to anyone looking at the account that my father was dead and that I was the personal representative of the account.

"My father has been dead since October. He won't be able to help you out. You would notice that if you actually looked at the account."
I hung up.

I should have been nicer, I know. I was just too annoyed by the idea that a banking professional would have no clue about something so basic as the fact that estate accounts don't exist for living people.

I felt guilty a little while later.

I asked myself if 70 times 7 should be extended to telemarketers and salespeople.


Talon said...

I made the mistake of talking to a Jehovah's Witness, now they come to my house regularly and try and talk and give me tracts. If you are nice, they won't let you alone.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Talon - the cure: "I will read your material if you will read mine. Then we can discuss both." They wouldn't take my proffered CS Lewis book, and left.

As to telemarketers, one of my imported sons gave that a try as a summer job. We rolled our eyes.

Retriever said...

I once had a summer job as a canvasser for one of the PIRGs (I was young, foolish, and desperate for work). Had dogs set on me, and unemployed people treat me courteously and contribute, and others swear at me. Ever since, I have been polite but brief and sent the poor kids on their way, sometimes giving them a can of soda. It is a godawful job.

My husband is cruel to the telemarketers. He gets tons of calls from people trying to get him to buy stocks, invest in weird projects, etc. Calling from cheesy firms, really aggressive. He listens, lets them talk forever, asks a couple of killer questions, sadisticly lets them fumble, then eventually says goodbye. He basically takes up their time by seeming like he might take the bait. From his standpoint, as someone who used to work on the Street, it's interesting to hear the latest spiels and ripoffs and pitches.

I just say "Thanks for calling, but I'm busy and have no interest.

terri said... should record your husband's tactics and put them on youtube. I bet it would be hilarious!

Talon...I used to discuss things with the Mormons and JW's that frequently canvassed our neighborhood. I got tired of that so that I just play dumb now, pretending like I have no clue. Although the Mormons don't come back anymore...I must have scared them away. condolences to your son for his summer job choice. I'm sure he's thinking he could have done a lot more with that summer.

terri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Like you, I try to be nice to telemarketers. I try to remember it's the job they are doing. But after many calls involving the same company, I now politely say that I have already been informed of the benefits of said xyz and do not wish to take advantage of it. If they insist in talking over me, I then tell them I have a whistle and I will use it so they should take the headphones off - if they wont stop talking. Only had to use it once.


terri said...

A whistle...that is like an evil genius idea! :-)

Lifewish said...

I'm always nice to Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, canvassers etc. It's not easy doing that kind of job, even if you feel the cause is good.

That said, there's a difference between choosing to be nice and having an obligation to be nice. You have no obligation to these people. If they abuse your niceness, you have every right to give them the cold shoulder. This is where the ubiquitous bucket of cold water comes in handy.