Guide | Telemarketing | Begging | Call waiting | Contribute


"You answer the phone and someone asks you if you can spare five minutes to answer a few questions".
I tell them I'm not interested, and promptly hang up, in much the same fashion that I close the door on the Mormons or the Witnesses, even when they have their foot in in, or throw out all unsolicited raffle books and Xmas cards. And yet I support many charities on a regular basis- many Jewish ones of course, but also the Deaf-Blind, Children with Cancer etc. I can't remember how these charities found me in the first place, but I doubt if it was on the telephone then, although it is most likely how new donors are found today. Today they wouldn't find me through an unsolicited telephone call.
"Does it matter if it is a charity wanting to know how to market more efficiently and find a target audience?"
If in the unlikely event that I hung on long enough to hear the question, I might suggest that a person knocking on my door would be more successful than one telephoning me.
"For the telemarketer, it is just a job. Do you let them get on with it or try to make more human contact, risking their job?"
I don't understand this question. Why would my initiating more human contact with the telemarketer risk them their job? On the contrary, if I were talking with the telemarketer, I would prefer a personalized conversation, rather than a standard format computer generated exchange, and should they comply with the former, they would be more likely to achieve their end, thus keeping them in their job. Another thought .... Why is it that people who have few "people skills" choose professions and businesses and jobs which necessitate them dealing with people? I think of restaurateurs, and school teachers, and psychiatrists, and commercial gallery directors, and, and, and .... Why don't these people just sit behind a computer? Perhaps because they really do want to deal with people, but just don't know how. Is it too late to start hugging them? To be or not to be .. human? Like Hamlet, what choice do we have? We are human, whatever that means, and for as long as it lasts. And we can only do what feels right to us, so long as we remember that if we think we are right, it does not make somebody who disagrees or who has a different way, wrong. We may both be right, or wrong.
Luba Bilu

I usually tend to be assertively polite and express my lack of interest immediately - and am becoming quite efficient at dealing with the ubiquitous fertiliser companies. However I do make an exception for the RSPCA because they have to read out their catalogue over the phone, (this is kind of perversely enjoyable) have high quality goods at a cheap price and the cause is one I support. I especially like it when the labrador or the kelpie phones me! So I usually order stuff twice a year. On the other hand, my father will buy anything and everything over the phone - he seems to think someone wants to be his friend and is radically and regularly exploited, to the exasperation of his children. Aluminium windows @ $7000. hundreds of shitty biros, and now a $300 burglar alarm for a bargain $2, 500!. I really hate this but it seems to make him feel appreciated and that he's helping people.

Pamela Zeplin

Jerry Seinfelds method of asking telemarketers for their phone number so as to ring them at a more convenient time has intrigued me although I have never had the guts to actually do it. I think what bugs me the most about being called up out of the blue is continually being called Mrs Hutchinson - they all seem to assume I am married. I often wonder if married people are statistically more likely to purchase or answer questions for them. My general rule of thumb is to quickly ascertain what they actually want and if it is to sell something I say no regardless of what or who it is, if they are asking for donations I consider whether to give, if they are carrying out a survey that may lead to better services for myself or someone else I participate in it unless I cannot spare the time.

Ruth Hutchinson