Etiquette School is in session! > "What an interesting assumption."

Not every cold call is a telemarketer.

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Team HoundMom:
I have a story about an "interesting assumption" that happened to me many years ago.

I hadn't gone to church since I was a little kid so I decided to give it another try.  I found a church that seemed pretty laid-back so I went to a few services and actually enjoyed it.  One day I picked up a pamphlet for a church softball team because I figured that would be a good way to meet people. I called the number on the pamphlet and it went like this:

Man: "Hello?"
Me: "Hi, may I please speak with Mr. <Name>?"

I thought "Aw man, he thinks I'm a telemarketer. I'll call back and explain."

So I called back.
Man: "I SAID WE DON'T F-ING WANT ANY!!" <-- with the full F word

I called back AGAIN and their voicemail picked up.  I left a message and said "I'm not a telemarketer.  Your name is on a pamphlet I picked up at <Name of Church> about a softball team and I'd like some information about it.  You can call me back at <Number.>"

A few minutes later my phone rang and it was the man's wife.  She never apologized for her husband's behaviour, just said that it's a Men's Only softball league.  I thanked her for calling back.  I double-checked the pamphlet and nowhere on it did it say it was for men only.

I really should have written a letter to the church's pastor at the time, because he was a great guy and would have been horrified to find out that someone from his congregation treated a new person like that.  But it felt like "tattling" so I didn't.  But I never went back to that church, or any other one for that matter.

WOW....I wonder how he would have responded if he had heard a male voice on the other end of the phone.

He was very rude!

Letting the pastor know about the fact that you were sworn at when calling a phone number in the church's pamphlet would not have been tattling. It would have been doing the church a service. The only way an organization can fix problems is if they are made aware of the problems.

By the way, I've had some real problems with certain telemarketing schemes. If you start out with a reasonable response to a telemarketer, "Sorry, I'm not interested,", you can tell which type you are dealing with. The ones who are just legitimately trying to make a sale will say, "Thank you," and hang up.

The problem with the telemarketing industry is that there are a few who are deliberately trying to get around the "Do Not Call " list, and will continue to harass you. If you press "1" to have your name taken off the list, you will get even more calls. There are a couple of these schemes where you will get 3 calls in one day. You also get calls from the same scheme from different numbers from different area codes. If you answer one of their calls, they know that someone is there and will keep calling. I did some internet research on a couple of these numbers and they are well known for they do and there is very little you can do about them. You can ask for their information to report them for breaking the "Do Not Call" policies, but they simply give you false information.

One of them has to do with alarm systems for the elderly, another starts with "Hi, my name is Heather". The thing is, by getting mad and swearing at a caller, the guy from your church is upsetting people who nothing to do with the harassment, including cold callers who don't deserve to be treated like that.

Actually, I believe many if not most legit telemarketers are required to NOT take the first no, and if they do so on a regular basis, won't be working there for long.

The whole problem would have been avoided if you had first identified yourself--or the purpose of your call--before asking for that person. That's actually proper etiquette--they have no idea who you are, so you are supposed to say, "Hello, this is ...."

In your case, proper phone etiquette would have been for you to say, "Hello, I'm calling about the softball league at XYZ Church, is Mr. So-and-so there?"


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