Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.
Most people are annoyed by telemarketers and try their best to get rid of them, sometimes politely with a "No thank you," sometimes with a harsh cursing out, and sometimes with a rather indifferent, "Could you please take me off your call list."
The thing is telemarketers are like fleas, where you find one, you're likely to find dozens of others so the whole "Please take me off your list" thing is not as effective as it should be. So what is a person to do? I am probably the first person to say stop being annoyed and start enjoying it, after all telemarketers are free entertainment...
Here are some things that make telemarketers want to hang up on you. Generally speaking telemarketers are out to sell something to whomever they are calling. So what happens when you mirror their motives and answer, "Why no, I'm not interested in X Product but I do have a car for sale. You don't happen to need a car do you? It's a real nice one, doesn't have any funny smells and it's traveled less then 10,000 miles..." Keep going for as long as the telemarketer keeps stuttering.
Recently I've learned the Too Much Information Strategy. This comes when instead of giving the telemarketer a good mark you insist on keeping them on the phone telling them your entire life story in the most pathetic terms available. If your life is good, make something up. I learned this from watching a crazy friend answer the phone and say something to the effect of, "You know I have nothing against telemarketers, I'm sure you're good people just doing your job but could you please take me off your call list because I don't need to be harassed by telephone calls when I'm already living through a huge life crisis! My boyfriend just left me after twelve years because he thought I cheated with my roommate who actually raped me..." This went on for fifteen minutes, got increasingly disquieting and ended when the telemarketer kept repeating with increasingly anguished cries, "I got to go now... I GOT TO HANG UP!" She never called back...
A similar tact is just to act crazy. Answer with a traditional greeting, "You're one of them aren't you?" Telemarketers don't want to deal with anything quite as creepy as that if you can pull it off.
If you have a partner or friend at your house you can always stage the fake argument. This is where two people can play a game of Improv without leaving the house. The more incredibly strange the argument the more amusing it'll be. Start the staged fight simple with something real couples fight about... whether it's a complaint about the toothpaste being squeezed from the middle of the tube or an accusation of infidelity, it doesn't matter. If the telemarketer hangs on get increasingly scary. Make it sound like the both of you were born into a Columbian drug cartel and know no other way to make a living then assassinating politicians and robbing banks. You might get some nervous laughter but if you're good at this you can always plant a seed of doubt into the mind of the telemarketer, "Is this for real? No can't be.... but what if it is? I should really hang up."
Another great one is to answer the phone with something like this, "Hello, you have reached Saucy Sally's Sex Chat Line. Please wait a moment while you are transferred to a live Saucy Sally operator. You will be charged 2 dollars per minute..." You can make it a psychic hotline too or really anything that involves being charged. If the telemarketer buys it they'll hang up, after all they're trying to make money not loose it!
If you are good at impersonations you can also stretch your skills doing this as well. Trust me when I say telemarketers aren't any more fond of choppy hard to understand English then you are.
If all else fails just put a strange message on the answering machine and stop picking up the phone. This can be particularly annoying if you make the message on your machine sound like you've actually picked up the phone. "Hello? Hello? I can't hear you.... what are you saying? HELLO? Who is this? Why aren't you talking??" Be careful to warn friends and family of this little stunt because I knew someone who did this and really confused his friends who called...
All in all have fun and make sure you have nothing to hide just in case the telemarketer decides to report any strange activity in your home...
If this article made you chuckle try some others by Theophanes:
More from this Author:
Catching Marbles - A New England based travel blog
Tales from the Birdello - For all homesteading and farming matters
Deranged Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind - For funny personal anecdotes
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on December 10, 2013:
All the power to you Rick. I pray at some point you pick up a sense of humor, but other than that, props! Got to love an 18 year old that works!
Rick on December 10, 2013:
"im a great person, 18, with a big loving heart.. oh yah and a telemarkter. and guess what IM GETTING PAID more than you and your momma. did i mention im 18?! i have a great life making so much money for my age. you people are honestly pathetic taking about how wonderful and funny it would be to make our lifes miserable.."
Jerk, you get "paid a lot" for making OUR lives miserable. Know what "no call list" means? That you "speak" to people for a living is hysterical. Use part of your whopping paycheck on English lessons. Your "lifes" will be improved and your "momma" will be proud.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on March 21, 2013:
The only calls I get these days are from from phishers, not genuine sales people. I have no pity what-so-ever on greedy con men. As for actual telemarketers, I know if I had that job I'd welcome humor, but that's just me.
Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on March 17, 2013:
There were some calls which were funny, or polite. They weren't all awful. I did appreciate the humour. But, it was hard to endure 8 hours of misery and still have a sense of humour.
Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on March 17, 2013:
I'm Canadian. I moved to the US because my husband didn't want to live where we had actual snow in the winter. So, when I was new in town, knew no one and after applying for jobs all over town. The only people who called me back were the telemarketing jobs. My husband said it was because I was "foreign". Anyway, I worked as a telemarketer. It was an awful job. Not so much because of the people I had to talk to on the phone but because of the management of the place itself. I was bullied, treated like a criminal and threatened with being fired constantly. It was a miserable job. I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who complain about telemarkers. You can just hang up. I wasn't allowed to do that. We had to keep on the call until the call was gone. It was not my dream job. I had a lot of snarky people who thought they were so superior to me. The truth was I didn't want to be talking to them either. If you are annoyed or angry about telemarketing calls have the courage or the intelligence to direct your feelings to the right people. Your local government has more control over telemarketing phone calls than the person actually on the phone. So, sure you can think you are so clever bullying them around, being a jackass, showing them up, or just being plain nasty. But, you are just a bully and an ineffective one at that. You're not even talking to the right person.
LemX on July 23, 2012:
And what if a family member is in hospital, and you're waiting for a phone call from them, do you know what its like having your heart in your mouth 4 or 5 times a day?
MarkusRabbit on July 14, 2012:
The Telemarkers are gathering in the masses. I know it's annoying to have your time at work wasted but have you ever considered how annoying it is to be spammed twice a day for something you don't need. I mean messing with a Telemarker annoys one person and solves some problems, Telemarketers annoy hundreds of people a day every day. Lighten up, we need our fun.
Maisey on May 01, 2012:
Sorry, but wasting a telemarketer's time by attempting to keep them on the line by playing with them doesn't make the day go faster. It keeps them from, you know, doing their job. And, killing spree? No, just toying with their obviously more important employment in the same fashion so that they may lose it would be revenge enough. Or, simply calling their homes at 3am every few nights a week from a pay phone. Yeah, that'd be just about square. Hope you'll see the humour in that, too!
Rita Tierney on April 29, 2012:
SERIOUSLY .. MUST WE ALL BE SO CRUEL .. I MEAN THEY ARE JUST TELEMARKETERS .. THEY NEED THE WORK TO FEED THEIR FAMILIES .. LMAO OHH PLEASE .. I USUALLY SAY WHAT DO YOU WANT AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT THAT I ANT GOT ..IF IT MORE THEN THE 25 CENTS I GOT IN MY POCKET IM NOT INTERESTED AND TAKE ME OFF THE LIST .. I LOVE THE ARTICLE .. KEEP IT COMING .. I NEED SOME MORE IDEAS .
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 29, 2012:
Wow, yet another case of a telemarketer going on a killing spree. Seems to happen a lot these days... or does it? You know I have had a telemarketer tell me this article was funny that people who add humor to the situation (who are never going to buy anything anyway) make the day go by faster. Would you prefer we all take the usual cussing them out routine? People take satire so damn seriously these days. I pity people who have no sense of humor, your lives must be miserable!
Maisey on April 29, 2012:
Yes, how very funny and wannabe clever. Except, do you even consider that these are real people you're jerking around, and some may not shrug your funny little stunts off, especially when it's their job hanging in the balance? How can you feel so safe doing these things when they know your name and phone number, and often times, ADDRESSES, and you don't know theirs. Don't you think that some of them take notes of the calls that left them feeling like crap? If they're jilted enough, or even get fired from lack of selling, then it may be quite worth their unemployed time to take their notes and seek some personal revenge. The best part is that you won't even know it's because you've pissed off a telemarketer. Never mind common courtesy, but where is common sense for your personal safety?
jasmine on April 16, 2012:
Im actually a telemarketer, and the only reason why is because right now, its the only job i can have while trying to get my bachelors in accounting and still being able to feed my kids everyday. my job is to try and sell vacations- at least 3 a week or else i get let go.
On a daily basis i get yelled at, cussed at, and told to go to hell for trying to offer someone a vacation.
If my job wasn't already hard enough, having a bunch of pathetic losers like you answer the phone and give me hell for NO REASON makes it torture.
We arent machines, we are people. My co-workers are the funniest, most friendly, genuine people ive ever met in my life.
So, before you start making up terrible things to tell 'telemarketers', think about how you would feel if someone were to do that to you.
Day after day after day after day.
fuzzycat on March 30, 2012:
By Gawd, Epeezy, You're one of them, ain'tchu?
Epeezy on March 07, 2012:
im a great person, 18, with a big loving heart.. oh yah and a telemarkter. and guess what IM GETTING PAID more than you and your momma. did i mention im 18?! i have a great life making so much money for my age. you people are honestly pathetic taking about how wonderful and funny it would be to make our lifes miserable..FUNNY thing is we laugh more at how stupid you people sounds yelling on the phone..fyi: we dont like bothering people all day..the job pays the bills damnit. call ya later ;)
Meghan on January 17, 2011:
I like to answer with "Buddy the elf! What's your favourite colour!?
Sally67 on January 14, 2011:
A female telemarketer once called my dad. He asked her number, so he could call back when he felt like buying the product. She hung up.
heather XD on January 09, 2011:
I always go for the classic: "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" But on a few occasions the telemarketer plays along and it just gets awkward...
Hannah on January 09, 2011:
If my caller-id would work I would answer with
"County Morgue, you kill 'em, we chill 'em!"
!!YazzY!! on January 09, 2011:
I am SO gonna try all this! xD
thx for all the ideas guys!
Karen Wodke from Midwest on December 02, 2010:
This is great! I found a cd on cdbaby.com one time that recorded just such calls where people messed with telemarketers. It was hilarious.
lindz83 on November 15, 2010:
or you could just break into song...hello i love you wont you tell me your name...hello i love you wont you jump in my game
Jack Cola on October 15, 2010:
Here are my methods I use to get telemarketers to hang up on you. Overtime, you will get less and less calls. I have used these methods on two phone numbers and both have great results. From about 1 call everyday to 1 every month.
downdraft on September 27, 2010:
I now say :"Its you again...you called my kid last week trying to sell her porno...she is only 11years old...are you some sort of sick pervert?...now you are trying to sell me sex...are you one of those who try to sell sex..and don't try to sell me drugs again...I'm recording this and my attorney said he would take the tape to the police...now stop this, you hear me?..you are upsetting me...I'm afraid you are dangerous... etc (It works)especially if you start crying
Springboard from Wisconsin on January 17, 2010:
I think your summation at the end, well...sums it up. Just have fun. I usually don't even pick up the phone thanks to Caller ID, but still, it can get annoying when the phone rings several times a day even when you aren't picking it up.
vivigold on November 29, 2009:
I actually answer in Spanish. I keep talking as a Guatemalan maid,they do not get a word and hung up on me.
aeorabeam on November 16, 2009:
I heard about a guy that told the telemarketer to call him back in five minutes. During this time he looked the telemarketer up online, where the guy lives etc. When the tm calls him back to record the deal he gives the info of the telemarketer instead. Then he ordered a big woodstatue of Lenin in the telemarketers name.
Gregory S Williams from California on November 15, 2009:
That was a fun read - thanks for the laugh!
franki79 on November 01, 2009:
hahahahah!!! lmAO!!!That is a good idea!!! I used to do something worst, I used to be in door to door direct sales.
Bo Bixbie from Mid-West on September 26, 2009:
If you ask a telemarketer what color panties she is wearing it will abruptly end the phone call.
vrbmft on September 22, 2009:
Love it love it love it!
surfzen on September 21, 2009:
There has been an anti-telemarketer machine available for many years. I have one. It costs 35 bucks and works perfectly. A call comes in and if it is a telemarketer you just push the button and walk away. It has a bell that rings three times in the telemarketer's ear and then a message is spoken that says ""I’m sorry....this number does not accept this type of call. Please regard this as your notification to remove this number from your list. Thank you."
Upon completion of this message, the Easy Hang Up hangs up the call automatically. http://electronicsusa.com/mk40.html
shibashake on April 24, 2009:
lol - these are all awesome suggestions. I would sure hate to get on your bad side :)
What I really want is an automatic anti-telemarketer machine. *They* have the machines, so we should have them too. Whenever a telemarketer calls, there is a "spam" button that you can click on, and from then onwards, the machine will play the Sex Chat Line response. What do you think? We should patent this :)
tony0724 from san diego calif on February 02, 2009:
You are Inspiring me to come up with some mighty devious thoughts of ways to torture telemarketers. Good one though !
Woody Marx from Ontario, Canada on July 01, 2008:
Ha! I like the "you're one of THEM aren't you?" I use it all the time. ;)
Tater2tot from ~~~ on June 25, 2008:
LOL! I usually just hang up on them right after they say "Hello, May I interest you..." but I think I will try these. They sound funny. Actually I did do a Chinese accent once but it was really bad and my family couldn't stop laughing in the background, so they just said "Thanks and have a nice day". LOL. Good hub. Funny.