Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No more Marching

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up the ringing phone, said hello, and heard that moment of silence and slight confusion that indicates some sort of telemarker is calling. I said hello again once or twice, and the voice finally came on. She confirmed my identity and said she was from the March of Dimes.

Reading from the usual script, she thanked me for my past support and asked me if I would mail out envelopes to about a dozen of my neighbors, collect the donations and return them ...

"No thank you, I'm not interested," I said. I could hear the voice other end talking just before I hung up the phone. I used to feel guilty about hanging up on such calls. Then I read a magazine article about how time was money to telemarketers, and that I was doing them a favor by hanging up if there was absolutely no chance that they would get me to sign up for a particular product or service. I had visions of someone at the other end taking a pencil and crossing my name off the list of potential clients or customers or whatever the names are called.

Fast forward with me, now, all the way to this morning. I'm in the middle of one of those great sleeping periods that's almost blissful. And the phone rings. I take a moment to wake up a bit and figure out what's going on. Then I answer the phone.

"Mr. Bailey? I'm calling from the March of Dimes and I would to know ..." the voice said.

"I told you people yesterday that I'm not interested," I replied curtly.

"But we'd like to ask you to collect donations from your neighbors..." the voice continued.

"Didn't you listen to what I just said? And now, I'm going back to sleep," I said politely but firmly.

This time I heard the voice say, "I'm sorry," just before I hung up.

The next time the March of Dimes asks for a donation, I'm going to reach for my checkbook ... and write a donation to some other cause.

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