Telemarketing: You gotta get your amusement where you can

I was just telling this tale over at the Pavlov Blog, on the “Don’t Call Me Mrs.” thread. Some of you have heard it before, but here it is again anyhow.


[ring ring.]

“Hello. Is Dr Lauredhel there?”
“Who’s calling please?”
“I’m thingy suchandsuch from Diners Club.”

“And you’re calling about?”
“I am from Diners Club. I need to speak with Dr Lauredhel. Is he there?”

“Would you tell me what this is regarding?”
“It’s about some information we sent. I really need to talk to Mr Lauredhel!”

“There’s no one of that name here.”

*caller clearly becoming increasingly uncomfortable*

“Oh. Is this the wrong number?”
“I don’t think so. This is the Lauredhel household, but there is no Mr Lauredhel here.”

“Oh, it’s DOCTOR Lauredhel I’m looking for, yes?”


[gears turning]

*tremulous* “Is – Is – Is it a – female?”

“This is Dr Lauredhel.”

[silence][can you actually hear a cringe?]

*gets back on script* “I’m just calling to follow up on some information we sent about blahblahblah insurance – “
“Is this about my account, or are you trying to sell me something?”
“It’s about – I’m just following up on some information – “
“Is. This. About. My. Account. My current account.”
“Um, no, it’s-”


Categories: fun & hobbies, gender & feminism, language

14 replies

  1. *chortles* I get that too. Whenever anyone rings our house asking for Mr Mylastname I either hang up without a word, or play with their minds in a similar fashion.

  2. I don’t get that. I get “Is this MRS. Kidslastname” to which I reply “This is MS. Queen, the kid’s mother” It irks me because anyone who has kid’s info to be calling me also has my name with that info. It would only take them 2 seconds to look at it.
    Red Queen’s last blog post..Oh Noes!

  3. The do not call register has helped, but it doesn’t block everything 😦
    These days, I have taken to saying “Sorry, I don’t speak English.”

  4. RQ, because we hyphenated the kid’s names, I tend to get “MRS Surname-Surname”, which irks me for the same reason – our separate names are right there on the form that we filled in for the kids.

  5. I get the mobile phone misdiallers. When they don’t get the voice they expected in my “Hello?”, they panic and blurt out “Who is this?!”
    It seems to happen quite often. Either I’m one digit off one of the cool kids, or someone’s handing out my number to blokes they don’t want to hear from again.

  6. I’m finding one of the positive aspects to “living in sin” is that I can quite legitimately answer the question “Is that Mrs HIMSELF’S_SURNAME?” with “She doesn’t live here”. Perfectly accurate, after all – they’re either after Himself’s mother, in which case she’s about two streets away; or they’re after Himself’s aunt, who lives up in the Northern Suburbs. Usually it confuzzles them just enough for me to point out the household policy on purchasing anything sold to us over the telephone (namely, we don’t) and ask them to take us off their list and put us on their “do not call” list as well.
    Meg Thornton’s last blog post..Fic: Night In Midgar

  7. Just had a door-to-door Optus salesbloke knock this morning.
    Note to doorknockers: opening with “Don’t worry – I’m not scary!” marks you indelibly as scary, creepy, or both. Ew.

  8. My favourite cold call-
    ”Hello, may I speak to Mrs Mylastname?”
    ‘No, she’s been dead for 17 years. What exactly did you wish to talk to her about?’
    *awkward pause*
    ”Life insurance”
    Kirsten’s last blog post..Discovery of the evening.

  9. What I find amusing is when they call and ask for “Mr. Mylastname.” It’s usually a clue that they’re not going to be telling me anything important.
    amanda w’s last blog post..Friday Catblogging

  10. Oh I love this topic. Our phone is listed in my name and not his because my partner prefers privacy, but I get lots of calls for Mr Mylastname and it is a good indication that they’re telemarketers. Sometimes I just say no and hang up and sometimes I play head games with them. If they call me Mrs Mylastname I just say Mzzzz really gruffly and they laugh nervously and call me Miss.
    I will look forward to the future Mrs Mysurname-Hissurname down the track, thanks for your warnings.
    And Lauredhel I agree with that cold call approach of I’m not scary. Mocking a woman answering the door to a stranger for her caution is not putting things off to a good start. I’ve had that experience too. I’ve always wanted to have the courage to answer the door (while keeping it locked) naked just to intrude upon their lives the way they’re intruding upon mine.
    blue milk’s last blog post..Feminism and homeschooling

  11. Hee. Not quite telemarketing, but… toddler jargons on the phone, captioner interprets it as an annoyed call to the cable company.

  12. For a number of years, both of my parents could be addressed as either Doctor or Professor. (When my oldest brother came home to visit, we had three people who qualified that way.) Callers were often confused when they called for Dr. or Professor Lastname and we had to ask for clarification. If they didn’t know, it was an easy way of weeding out folks we didn’t want to talk to.

  13. I always get: “Hello, is this Mr x” where “x” is my partner’s last name. I always say “No, there’s no Mr x living here” which seems to confuse them because they assume that the adult male they are talking to MUST be the “Mr” of the house or the breadwinner or whatever. Occasionally they’ll say something really stupid like “Is this his son?”. Or they then ask for “Mrs x” – also inappropriate, my partner is Ms x or Miss x. I always try to give as little away as possible: if they can’t get it right, I’m happy to string them along for a while and let them squirm as the carefully scripted exchange they’re after becomes less and less likely.

  14. Standard at my house:
    “Is this Mrs Lastname?”
    “Oh. Is Mrs Lastname available?”
    “No, she doesn’t live here” (Mrs Lastname is clearly my mother, and lives interstate)
    “Oh. Is your husband available”
    “I’m not married”
    “Oh… and you are?”
    “sorry, I’m actually really busy right now”
    Seriously, how hard is it to crack out a “Ms” if you’re not sure of the marital status? I’m old enough to run my own freaking household, give me the damn respect of not asking for my mother.

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