Monday, March 08, 2010

"Would you like to take part in a 60-second survey?"

"Would you like to take part in a 60-second survey?" is the opening line from many of the unsolicited phone calls I receive these days. Being less than enthusiastic about strangers trying to sell me shit or ask me intrusive questions over the phone, my response is usually something along the lines of "why, what are you selling?"

"Oh I promise you we're not selling you anything at all - we're just doing a quick survey about the economy" says the girl on the phone this afternoon. "Oh," I reply, "do you want to know what I think about the economy? Are you doing an opinion poll?" - because I don't mind opinion polls (I think quietly to myself).

She edges round my question without giving me a straight answer, and when I ask her what her company does, she tells me they provide financial advice for businesses - or something along those, lines, anyway.

So I say OK, because I figure, well, what's 60 seconds out of my life? I can handle that. I'm waiting for the next two questions because I know exactly what they will be. The first is my age bracket. I fall within it so I answer in the affirmative.

The second question is the kicker. It is always - and I mean always "do you own your own home?"

Hmmm. Why would they want to know that? Gosh, really - I wonder why?

I lie and say "no" because I have realised it's the single most effective way to get these people off the phone.

I have never ever had to continue with one of these "surveys" when I tell them I'm a renter. Goodness me! Don't they want to gather the opinions of people who rent along with those who owe hundreds of thousands to whatever bank was kind enough to give them a mortgage? Apparently not. How very strange.

Could it be because they're actually planning to sell me something further on down the line - if I give them the right answers of course - of which the most important, apparently, is "do you have enough income to get a mortgage and therefore potentially have sufficient income to be tempted by whatever shit we're really planning on trying to sell you?"

Of course they are. They'll either store all my details away for a cold-call later on when they finally reveal whatever it is they're really selling - or perhaps they'll put my details together with the contact details of hundreds of other people and sell them in bulk to some company that wants to sell me whatever it is that they sell.

Which means - goodness me - the girl on the phone wasn't exactly telling the whole truth, now was she? OK so she wasn't trying to sell me anything right that minute, but her response to my "no I don't own my own hone - I rent" answer couldn't have been clearer.

"Oh well, that lets you off the hook, then! Thanks very much - goodbye!" and with that cheery farewell she's off to hassle the next poor sucker dumb enough to have their name and number in the phone book.

Yeah thanks a lot cheery girl on the phone. I've changed my mind - that's 60 seconds of my life I'll never get back. I'm so over people lying to me on the the phone to try and get useful info from me that they'll use against me later on. Thanks very much - goodbye!

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missdeuxmont said...

You know, I actually disconnected our home phone for the very reason that I was fed up with marketing calls. Anyone who calls in the middle of dinner deserves a big fat FU#& off. He he.


webweaver said...

Heh. Sadly I can't tell them to eff off either because once upon a time - in my VERY dim and distant past (when I first came to NZ) I too had a phone sales job - for about a week.

We had a script which included - you've guessed it - the first two questions I know they're going to ask - and we were instructed (like they are) to terminate the call if the person didn't own their own home.

We were selling holiday timeshares and it was a massive con, with gifts and vouchers offered in order to get them to agree to come along to a preso - during which, I gathered, they got the (very) hard sell from the salespeople there.

I was actually quite good at the job - on about my third night I got the prize for most signups - but I just couldn't deal with the hypocrisy and dubious morality of it all, so I quit.

But I do know what it's like to have to do a job like that, so I can't quite bring myself to tell them to bugger off right away - I let them do the first two questions and give them the answer I know will end the call without me having to be mean :)