Terrorizing Telemarketers: Seniors Fight Back and Win

Terrorizing Telemarketers

One of the perils of retirement is being home during the day, a sitting duck for telemarketers.

Somehow – the details are a closely guarded secret – telemarketers not only know when you’re home, but when you’re eating, taking your bath or toilet, or just sitting down to relax with a cold one.

This column is about how telemarketers can become a source of humor and joy in your life.

With only a bit of play-acting and creativity, you’ll find yourself looking forward to telemarketing calls.

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Telemarketers Call Example

First, you must identify the caller as a telemarketer. That’s easy since they always mispronounce your name. Who else would – or could – mangle Smith or Jones. Or Kaiser, for that matter.

Then, ask her to spell out her name and the name of her company.

“Let’s see,” you say with deliberate lethargy, “that’s B as in badass, A as in avoirdupois, R as in wretched, and B as in bye-bye.” After you mumble your way through her name and company, become vitally interested in the caller.

“How long have you been with the company? How much money do you make? Have you had to sleep with your boss?” You get the idea.

All telemarketers ask, “How are you today?” in their effort to cement a close and lasting bond.

Tell them.

“Thank you for asking,” you spout. “My arthritis is killing me, I have gout in my left ear, and my eyelashes are sore. Did I tell you about my appendectomy last month? I think it’s growing back.”

Tell them about your just deceased pet, whom you loved more than life itself. Don’t omit details, especially every eulogy, word for word, at Fido’s elaborate funeral.


Every year, so-called police benevolent associations call us for donations. In my mind, these guys are particularly parasitic. More often than not, cops and their families see little or nothing of their collections. Here you don’t want to skimp on originality.

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My buddy, J.C. Spitznagel’s spiel goes something like this: “I know what’s going on. I want you to keep your hands off my wife. If you think you can destroy a 50-year marriage with that smooth cop talk of yours, you’ve got another thing coming. I’ve put up with 50 years of her crap. I’m not about to let some gumshoe roll in the hay with her now.”

Works every time! By the way, J.C. is single.

Suddenly Trivia: Under the law, if you tell a telemarketer to “Put me on your ‘Do Not Call’ list and the company calls again, you may get how much from them for every violation? a) $10, b) $100, c) $500, d) $1,500.

Here a few more ploys next time telemarketers come calling.

  • When the telemarketer gives her name, pretend that she’s a long-lost friend. “Betty! It can’t be! How have you been since we served time together at that hellhole prison?” Don’t allow interruptions. Be relentless. “Oh, Betty you always were the kidder. But tell me, whatever became of that no good lousy husband you tried to murder?”
  • Immediately, tell the telemarketer that you’re delighted that he called, that you are incarcerated at home wearing an ankle bracelet and that you’d like him to bring over a bottle of Cuddy and some dip.
  • Insist that it’s all a big joke, and you’re not falling for it. “Come on, Marge, I know this is you. So cut it out. Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask, ‘How’s that guy you ran down last week with your BMW?'”
  • Tell the caller that you’re busy right now, but if she’ll give you her home phone number, you’ll call her back. When the telemarketer explains that she can’t do that, respond with, “I suppose you don’t want anyone bothering you at home,” When she agrees, give her both barrels!

So there it is, directly from Suddenly Senior’s Domesticity and Duplicity Department.

Have fun.

Suddenly Trivia Answer: c) $500.

10 Ways to Terrorize a Telemarketer

  1. When they ask “How are you today?” Tell them! “I’m so glad you asked because no one these days seems to care, and I have all these problems; my arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died…”
  2. If they say they’re John Doe from XYZ Company, ask them to spell their name. Then ask them to spell the company name. Then ask them where it is located. Continue asking them personal questions or questions about their company for as long as necessary.
  3. Cry out in surprise, “Judy! Is that you? Oh my God! Judy, how have you been?” Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of pause as she tries to figure out where the heck she could know you from.
  4. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up for the Family and Friends plan, reply, in as SINISTER a voice as you can, “I don’t have any friends… would you be my friend?”
  5. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money.
  6. Tell the telemarketer you are on “home incarceration” and ask if they could bring you a case of beer and some chips.
  7. After the telemarketer gives their spiel, ask him/her to marry you. When they get all flustered, tell them that you could not just give your credit card number to a complete stranger.
  8. Tell the telemarketer you are busy at the moment and ask them if they will give you their HOME phone number so you can call them back. When the telemarketer explains that they cannot give out their HOME number, you say “I guess you don’t want anyone bothering you at home, right?” The telemarketer will agree and you say, “Now you know how I feel!”
  9. Insist that the caller is really your buddy Leon, playing a joke. “Come on Leon, cut it out! Seriously, Leon, how’s your momma?”
  10. And first and foremost:

  11. Tell them to talk VERY SLOWLY, because you want to write EVERY WORD down.


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