Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Telemarketers, Cell Phones and Hobbits

At a recent fundraising seminar, I was told that the best time to call people and solicit donations is between 6-8pm. Allow me to describe my house during this time. The entire family is just getting home. The kids are tired and cranky. Mum and/or Dad is making dinner and very tired. Other parent is helping kids with homework and/or doing other chores (pay bills, clean house, fold laundry). Between all this activity, family tries to find time to sit around a table and ask how each other’s day went, what we learned, or discuss some monumental change in the world.  

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The phone rings. It is surely a friend who needs help, another kid asking our kids a question about homework. It is certainly NOT a stranger trying to sell me something, or a good samaritan trying to engage me in a conversation that will lead to me wanting to support their cause. At least the good samaritan is trying to do some good in the world. But the telemarketer…

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And here are two gripes:

1) How dare you use an automatic voice to call me! If it is not worth your time to pick up the phone, why do you suppose it is worth mine! I’m sure you are busy right now – maybe making dinner for your family or helping your kids with homework.

2) I am paying for these calls. At least when it comes to my cell phone. I didn’t ask you to call and you are not my friend. Why should I pay? 

So here is my suggestion:

1) If it is automated … hang up!

2) If you have a cell phone, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. Remember, you must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.

Remember the old days, when business was done down the pub and cemented with a round and a handshake. No? Me neither, but I would like to. Then again, I think the world would be a better place with hobbits. And I bet they don’t spam your cell phone.

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Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.  

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2 thoughts on “Telemarketers, Cell Phones and Hobbits

  1. Reblogged this on ElvesWriter and commented:
    Never seen a hobbit with a cell phone – perhaps there isn’t reception in the Shire.

  2. The world changed when t.v. and phones came into active use. People started eating in front of the t.v. off folding tables. When the cost of phones went down, more people got them and used them at all hours instead of for emergencies. Before that, we sat at the dinner table because there was nothing else happening and usually there was an interesting conversation going on.

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