Thanks for Calling. Buh Bye.

Posted by mwallach on June 5, 2011 in New To You |

Dear That’s Life,

For a short time while I was in college, I had a job making cold calls for a real estate broker. My job was to go through his stack of index cards, incomplete with only a name and number, and offer an alternative location for his/her business. It was thankless, boring and often humiliating. What can I tell you – I needed the money.

While I can say that I learned something from every job I have ever held, that one is almost an exception. The one thing I took away from that short lived position (after all, how long could I really do that before going postal?) was that telemarketing is an awful job. No one could possibly want to hold that position as a first choice for a career. It is simply impossible. As such, I rarely if ever am rude or simply hang up on someone who calls representing a particular organization or business. I truly attempt to be polite, appreciating that the person on the other end of the line can’t be happy to go to work in the morning. No one is that masochistic.

There are times I will ask a telemarketer to call back. Often they comply, appreciating the opportunity or that I did not slam down the phone in a swift and deafening motion. After explaining that the timing is just not good, as it could be time for dinner or homework, I ask the person to call again. Only once did someone from a local yeshiva give me a hard time after making that request. While I am sure he was instructed to be persistent, I am certain he was not told to be downright obnoxious and nasty. After writing down his name, I called the yeshiva’s main office the next day, explaining what had happened and informing them to remove me from their calling list. Not only did they comply, but their executive director wrote an apology note that was promptly mailed to my home.

I do take offense when I receive calls from Hatzolah, asking for donations. It is not that I do not believe in what they do nor appreciate the sacrifice of each member, because I do. Rather, because my husband is a member, I feel I give plenty. At the risk of looking very bad, I already give my husband, my car, my family time and our personal time for Hatzolah, while also paying for his equipment and the lights and sirens in his vehicle. In my opinion, we give plenty. My better half however, simply because he is a better person, disagrees. Therefore, I give the caller his cell number, informing the person that while I will not make a donation, my husband certainly will. “You’ll have much better luck with him,” I explain.

With the exception of Hatzolah, I rarely refuse to make a donation at all. Only recently was there an exception to that general rule which happens if I have never heard of the charity before, preferring to read about it prior to giving. It’s not to say that I won’t give, but that I needed to know what it is I am giving to first.

Co-hosting a radio show has allowed me to meet and interview many interesting people. Just this week, Mayer and I spoke to Joseph Gitler, Chairman of Leket Israel, one of Israel’s largest food banks and food recovery programs. Serving over 55,000 meals a day, Leket is an incredible organization with a clear mission and goal. Unfortunately for the cold caller who reached me the day after the show, representing an organization I had never heard of in my life but made similar claims as Leket, I was not buying his story.

Completely unfamiliar with the charity he represented, I asked him to send me some information before I would make a pledge. “We are one of the top food banks in Israel,” he said. “That’s funny,” I responded, “because I just interviewed Joseph Gitler from Leket Israel and he said the same thing.” Not what the caller expected to hear, and clearly not trained to respond to that, after a very pregnant pause, I received an official and perplexed, “Huh?!” from the gentleman on the other end of the line.

I repeated what I had previously said, and then re-requested literature be sent to my home. Trying again, he asked if he could just put me down for a pledge of $10. Unfortunately for him, I was losing my patience. “Buddy,” I said, “I like tenacity in a man, but frankly: you’re getting annoying.” If he wanted $10 or even $100, I explained, then he should send me some literature and hope for the best. I hung up the phone and my husband asked how the call went. “Went fine for me,” I said. “As for him, I can’t imagine he saw that one coming.”

Man, am I a pain in the neck, or what?


P.S. I received the requested information in the mail, atop which was afixed a gold stciker that read, “It was a pleasure speaking with you!” There was nothing left to do but burst out in laughter. So I did.

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