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Category:Misc Rating: Added:2002-08-03

One thing that has always bugged me, and I'm sure it does most of you, is to sit down at the dinner table only to be interrupted by a phone call from a telemarketer.

I decided, on one such occasion, to try to be as irritating as they were to me. The call was from AT&T and it went something like this: (swallowing)
- Me: Hello
- AT&T: Hello, this is AT&T...
- Me: Is this AT&T?
- AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T...
- Me: This is AT&T?
- AT&T: Yes This is AT&T...
- Me: Is this AT&T?
- AT&T: YES! This is AT&T, may I speak to Mr. Byron please?
- Me: May I ask who is calling?
- AT&T: This is AT&T.
- Me: OK, hold on.

At this point I put the phone down for a solid 5 minutes thinking that, surely, this person would have hung up the phone. I ate my salad. Much to my surprise, when I picked up the receiver, they were still waiting.

- Me: Hello?
- AT&T: Is this Mr. Byron?
- Me: May I ask who is calling please?
- AT&T: Yes this is AT&T...
- Me: Is this AT&T?
- AT&T: Yes this is AT&T...
- Me: This is AT&T?
- AT&T: Yes, is this Mr. Byron?
- Me: Yes, is this AT&T?
- AT&T: Yes sir.
- Me: The phone company?
- AT&T: Yes sir.
- Me: I thought you said this was AT&T.
- AT&T: Yes sir, we are a phone company.
- Me: I already have a phone.
- AT&T: We aren't selling phones today Mr. Byron.
- Me: Well whatever it is, I'm really not interested but thanks for calling.

When you are not interested in something, I don't think you can express yourself any plainer than by saying "I'm really not interested," but this lady was persistent.

- AT&T: Mr. Byron, we would like to offer you 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Now, I am sure she meant she was offering a "rate" of 10 cents a minute, but she at no time used the word "rate." I could clearly see that it was time to whip out the trusty old calculator and do a little ciphering.
- Me: Now, that's 10 cents a minute 24 hours a day?
- AT&T: (getting a little excited at this point by my interest) Yes
- sir, that's right! 24 hours a day!
- Me: 7 days a week?
- AT&T: That's right.
- Me: 365 days a year?
- AT&T: Yes sir.
- Me: I am definitely interested in that! Wow!!! That's amazing!
- AT&T: We think so!
- Me: That's quite a sum of money!
- AT&T: Yes sir, it's amazing how it adds up.
- Me: OK, so will you send me checks weekly, monthly or just one big one at the end of the year for the full $52,560, and if you send an annual check, can I get a cash advance?
- AT&T: Excuse me?
- Me: You know, the 10 cents a minute.
- AT&T: What are you talking about?
- Me: You said you'd give me 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That comes to $144 per day, $1,008 per week and $52,560 per year. I'm just interested in knowing how you will be making payment.
- AT&T: Oh no, sir, I didn't mean we'd be paying you. You pay us 10 cents a minute.
- Me: Wait a minute here!!! Didn't you say you'd give me 10 cents a minute? Are you sure this is AT&T?
- AT&T: Well, yes this is AT&T sir but......
- Me: But nothing, how do you figure that by saying that you'll give me 10 cents a minute that I'll give you 10 cents a minute? Is this some kind of subliminal telemarketing scheme? I've read about things like this in the Enquirer, you know. Don't use your alien brainwashing techniques on me.
- AT&T: No sir, we are offering 10 cents a minute for.....
- Me: THERE YOU GO AGAIN! Can I speak to a supervisor please!
- AT&T: Sir, I don't think that is necessary.
- Me: Sure! You say that now! What happens later?
- AT&T: What?
- Me: I insist on speaking to a supervisor!
- AT&T: Yes Mr. Byron. Please hold.

So now AT&T has me on hold and my supper is getting cold. I begin to eat while I'm waiting for a supervisor. After a wait of a few minutes and while I have a mouth full of food:

- Supervisor: Mr. Byron?
- Me: Yeth?
- Supervisor: I understand you are not quite understanding our 10 cents a minute program.
- Me: Id thish Ath Teeth & Teeth?
- Supervisor: Yes sir, it sure is.

I had to swallow before I choked on my food. It was all I could do to suppress my laughter and I had to be careful not to produce a snort.

- Me: No, actually, I was just waiting for someone to get back to me so that I could sign up for the plan.
- Supervisor: OK, no problem, I'll transfer you back to the person who was helping you.
- Me: Thank you.

I was on hold once again and managed a few more mouthfuls. I needed to end this conversation. Suddenly, there was an aggravated but polite voice at the other end of the phone.

- AT&T: Hello Mr. Byron, I understand that you are interested in signing up for our plan?
- Me: Do you have that friends and family thing because you can never have enough friends and I'm an only child and I'd really like to have a little brother...
- AT&T: (click)
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