A year ago, I read a book called, "The Age of Persuasion," by Terry O'Reilly. In it, Terry covers advertising as it was born and has developed to the present day. It's a great book, but recently I was reminded by something he stressed, and that was how intrusive and lousy telephone soliciting is. Why? Well, basically because you, the one who answers the phone, get squat. Not only is your privacy invaded, but you don't get any visual offering as you would in print, no audio treat as you might from the radio, or the mixture of both as you would get from TV or the internet. No, when a company hires a telephone solicitor to call your home, you get that person, reading some script, and a huge dollop of guilt should you choose to decline to participate in such an event. Telephone soliciting sucks.
You'll notice, Dear Reader, that I didn't write; "telephone solicitors suck." Many of them don't. I have had some lovely conversations with some of them. And there is nothing that makes me happier than making a caller; prisoner of a headset and a script duller than toast, laugh so hard that they struggle to keep on track. I'm never rude. I realize that their job, making all of those calls with some Orwellian supervisor mouth-breathing over their shoulder, must be horrible. Nobody gets up in the morning and says, "I wanna call people in their own homes at an inconvenient time and ask them about their shopping habits. I am just sooooo curious about it!" It's a lousy job. So, while answering their questions, I begin to interject: "Where are you calling from?" "What's the weather like there?" "Does this phone make me sound fat?" We end up chatting as well as we can, since "the call may be monitored for quality assurance." The last one I talked with was sitting at a desk in Halifax and ended the call by saying that I had been "a blast." I love that. So we both had fun.
Today, shortly before the dinner hour, the phone rang. I picked it up, said "Hello," and was met with the computer dialing pause. I waited for the voice. This voice was automated.
AUTOMATED! I'M SORRY. BUT THE ONLY BLOODY AUTOMATED VOICE THAT I WILL EVEN CONSIDER LISTENING TO OVER THE PHONE IS STEPHEN HAWKING.
( I'm serious. He's just unbelievably cool. )
Any company, however, that uses an automated computer voice to interrupt my day can die in hell. To deny me the COURTESY of having a human being call me...as they invade my home and give me nothing; such an organization should have their stocks drop and all of their office chairs lose a wheel. It's head office should be the destination for the annual convention of all of the clusters of high school kids that stand outside and smoke. And their parking lots should have the lines done by Escher. Automated telephone soliciting. Is there anything more despicable? I don't think so.