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Best phone solicitor story of all time

LOL! Over at The Buck List, Buck Weber holds forth on his two favorite ways to deal with telephone solicitors. His post reminded me of the time one of my graduate school professors occupied a fair amount of class time telling us about his latest encounter with a call center employee.

At the time—this was long before the Do Not Call law, when most people could expect two to six nuisance sales calls a day, and long before caller ID—we were in the middle of a particularly obnoxious spate of harassment from people trying to sell carpets. So one day Jack picked up the phone and yea, verily, a young-sounding woman asked him if he wouldn’t just love to take advantage of today’s special on gorgeous new carpeting, “only in your neighborhood.”

“Oh, I’m so glad you called,” he exlaimed. “I was hoping to hear from you!”

“You were?”

“Yes. I’ve decided I do want to carpet the house and am very interested in your offer.”

Well, of course the young woman was beside herself with joy. After some happy small talk during which they discussed the types of carpet and the possible color scheme, she asked him how many rooms he had.

He described a typical suburban house, as most housing in Tempe is: three or four bedrooms, a living room, a family room. Lots of carpetable space.

She asked for the approximate dimensions. He gave her figures for all these rooms.

They set up a day for a salesman to come over and measure each room and show him carpet samples. He gave her an address and made an appointment.

As the conversation wound down, she thanked him profusely for his business (probably the first sale the kid had ever made). He said she was welcome, happy to talk with you, etc., and then, just as she was about to hang up, he said…

“Oh, by the way, I have one question…”


“These carpets can be installed over dirt floors, can’t they?”

A moment’s pause ensued. “You have dirt floors?”

“Why, yes,” he said. “Doesn’t everyone?”

The line went dead. For some reason, he didn’t get any more calls from carpet sellers.


2 thoughts on “Best phone solicitor story of all time”

  1. I don’t know…the people on the phones are not the “enemy” here. Usually this is an entry level desperation job. So why waste their time? Not to mention yours? I just say “I don’t respond to phone solicitations.”

    What I hate are the political calls during dinnertime–these are recordings, not real people at the other end.

  2. @ frugalscholar: Yes, they are. They surely are the enemy.

    Burglars are desperate, too. But that doesn’t give them any more right to break into your home to steal whatever they can than it gives a phone solicitor a right to break into your privacy to extract money from you.

    IMHO, the only difference between a burglar and a phone solicitor is that I can’t get at the phone solicitor with my shotgun.

    Yesh. Political calls. ANY call that’s a recording, which includes a lot of commercial calls these days. If I fire my shotgun into the receiver, all it does is take out their machine. Darn!

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