Edit… retype… update… if I can just concentrate on getting this article written, I can have it out the door in time for deadline.
RING RING RING RING
A quick note for all. The telephone in my home office is a bright red Western Electric 2500 push-button bell-ringing phone from the 1970’s. I like having a mixture of vintage technology and modern technology in my home office, it allows me serenity.
RING RING RING RING
Unfortunately, I never got around to adding a Caller ID module to my vintage phone, so I have to take the call. It could be my editor. It could be my daughter.
Silence. Then a click.
“Could I speak to Wicki Miller, please?”
I’m assuming the caller on the other end has misread my wife’s name, or else the caller thinks my wife’s maiden name was Pedia.
“This is her husband, can I help you?”
“Yes, sir. I’m from August Cove Resorts in Florida…”
Rats. I’m now stuck talking with a telemarketer, who would like nothing more than to sell me a timeshare on some fleabag motel that’s three counties away from Walt Disney World.
And he just interrupted me while I’m trying to get work done.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think – ”
“Sir, I’m offering a vacation of a lifetime, two weeks in sunny Orlando, with additional trips to Daytona Beach and a cruise to the Bahamas. Now if you want to get in on this, all we need is your bank account number and the routing number for your bank…”
Wow… that traffic light actually works like the children’s game “one two three red light.” At least it does in blog posts.
Telemarketers have been a continuous and annoying occurrence at the Miller household. Most times I’ll ignore the call. Most times I’ll politely tell them I’m not interested. Most times I’ll remind them that they called me two days ago and I told them no thanks then. They’ve called me on Sunday morning. They’ve called me on Monday nights. They’ve bugged me in the middle of my photo processing They’ve bugged me in the middle of my favorite TV shows.
In this blog post, I’m using pseudonyms for these companies, but they all operate with the same sun-and-fun sobriquet. August Cove. Sunshine Beach. Sunset Smile. Berkshire Breeze. Hudson Valley Happiness. Almost sounds like these companies get their names from brands of Yankee Candles, don’t they?
But see, this company crossed the line. They bothered me while I was still trying to get some money-generating work done. They interrupted my work time.
And for that… they must pay.
“You know what… why don’t you tell me all about your program,” I said, auto-saving my work on the computer.
I then waited as the salesman from August Cove Resorts began to ramble about what a great vacation opportunity that I and “Wicki” might enjoy, possibly a second honeymoon in Florida, all he needed was my bank account information and the deal could take place right now.
“Great, that sounds wonderful,” I replied half-heartedly. “Can you hold on for a second?”
“Sure,” the telemarketer replied.
I placed the telephone on my desk. I fired up my iTunes. Placing a computer speaker next to the telephone mouthpiece, I quickly ran down my list of playable tracks.
Oh this will work. I clicked the track. Within seconds, my computer speakers blasted Side 1 of Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells.” All 25-plus minutes of it! Hey, they’re paying for the call… might as well entertain them with some music – some classic tracks to make their head spin like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
So as the classic prog-rock track echoed through my home office, I took a break, went in the kitchen, microwaved a TV dinner, had a nice meal, and as the “announcer” finished introducing all the instruments for the track’s side 1 finale, I cranked up the volume on the speakers just in case Mr. Telemarketer wanted to hear those clanging bells nice and loud.
As the song ended, I picked up the phone.
The dulcet sound of a dial tone was the only response.
Chuck 1, August Cove Resorts nil.
But I know these guys will call back. And their concomitant buddies will call back as well. And they’ll ask for “Wicki Miller” again. Or maybe they’ll get her name right, I don’t know and I don’t care.
Here’s the deal, timeshare telemarketers. I don’t care about this “Do Not Call” list. Right now, it’s between vous et moi.
The first time your company calls me, I will ask for your contact information and request to be removed from your call list.
The second time you call me, I will remind you of the date you originally called, and my request to have you remove my number from your call list.
If you call a third time – I will consider that call a “billable hour” of my time, and will send a bill to your company for one hour of my professional time, at the special telemarketer-specific rate of $150/billable hour. And I expect it to be paid. And not in credits to your cockroach-infested, malodorous, hot-and-cold-running-taps-of-sludge, tin-roof-rusty shack that you call a resort.
Oh, and I add a $50 surcharge if you can’t get my wife’s first name correct.
Got it? Cause if you don’t get it by that point, I’m sure Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will explain it in clearer terms.
That, or my assistant in charge of long musical passages, Mike Oldfield.