Wednesday, May 30, 2007


You all have Caller I.D., right? So do I. For the last several days, I've seen a number pop up on my phone that is identified only as "Newspaper" with a "623" area code. Mostly, it rang when I was not home, and it never left a message. Sometimes, it called when I was home, but when the answering machine kicked in, it hung up.

I don't know what got into me this evening, but the phone rang, and the same identification popped up, but I answered the phone.

Telemarketer: "Hello, I'm calling from the News Tribune …"

Me: "Oh! You mean that insidious right-wing rag that pretends to publish the news in my little town?"

The telemarketer just flat lost it! He cracked up with laughter. At which point, I realized there was a real human being on the other end of the telephone line.

I informed him that I very intentionally let my local newspaper subscription lapse when George W. was appointed as President and would not be renewing it until and unless there is a "regime change" in the U.S.

There ensued a delightful, albeit brief, conversation between two human beings, in which he pretty quickly (and apologetically) said: "Look! I'm just trying to work off my student loans. OK?" And then he said how much he had appreciated my comment, and we connected like real people. He even apologized for having to be a shill for a right-wing rag. But he has student loans to pay off, and he wants to travel to the Caribbean to work on his tan. He made me laugh!

This doesn't often happen with telemarketing calls. But I sure am glad I picked up the phone on this one. A real person. Who was willing and able to depart from his script.

And I ended up wishing him well, and hoping he made enough money to get to the Caribbean.

What a hoot!


Blogger Kirstin said...

Great story!

I had a similar experience with a telephone recruiter for the military when I was in high school. (I'd taken some idiot test, and apparently done well.) She said who she was, and I hung up on her. She called right back and said, "That wasn't nice!" We both cracked up laughing, and talked like regular people.

No, I didn't join up.

5/30/2007 11:22 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, that is a breath-of-fresh-air story. Human beings are on the other end, at least sometimes, when it's not a recording. We tend to forget that the job may the only one available to the person.

6/01/2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Kirstin, that is hilarious! I can't imagine having a telemarketer call me back to engage in conversation. Good for both of you! (And thank God you didn't join up!)

Grandmère, thanks for dropping in and adding a bit o' class -- as well as wisdom -- to this humble blog.

6/01/2007 7:58 PM  

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