Are telemarketers closet masochists?

This may initially look like an unfair question but if you really stop to think about it…it could be a possibility. Okay, people who are dead keen to work will take whatever they can get and I take my hat off to them for getting out there and getting on with it but seriously, telemarketing?

If ever there was a job designed to get you hung up on, hollered at, or just verbally abused in general it would have to be that job and before you deny it, think back to the last one that called you just as you were leaving for work, about to sit down for dinner or in the middle of your favourite television show that you have been waiting for all week and then tell me you were nice to that person who randomly called up to see if you wanted to change your phone carrier, buy a time-share or you’re not really sure what they wanted because English was very obviously not their first language.

I try to keep it nice (and really, really short) most of the time because I take into consideration how many times they’ve probably been on the receiving end of a verbal since their shift started and I don’t want to add myself to the tally but to be honest I could do without the call altogether. Especially one of those scammers trying to tell me my computer is “in danger” and I have to immediately switch it on and let them in to fix it. I just hang up on those guys. Ditto the ones telling me my telephone charges will be dropping dramatically as of the following week. They won’t be, okay, because I won’t be changing carriers but these guys will not take no for an answer so I have to be a bit mean and hang up on them too. But on the whole I try to keep it more or less civil.

I know people though who love it when a telemarketer calls because they like to play games with them. Like Twin I who answered the phone one day and the Indian or something guy asked, with stumbling difficulty “Am I speaking to Mrs Ashurst?” and Twin I replied in his very deep voice “Yes.” There was silence there for a second or two and then the guy hung up. Twin I thought it was hysterical! Or the time one of the computer scammers called a friend to “report” that all the computers in her town were “being threatened” and she answered “What? You mean all four of them?” And then another allows the telemarketer to struggle through their entire speil and when they pause for a response from him, he starts snoring! It backfired once though when the caller squealed down the phone “Wake up while I saying for you much information Sir!” Well possibly he asked for that and maybe he shouldn’t be so mean to those that call from overseas and are having trouble with the language.

But even the local ones come in for some flack. It could have something to do with their timing however and if they really wanted to avoid the angst spewing down the phonelines at them, maybe they could think about the time of day (or night!) before they dial. Most people don’t like being disturbed during dinner. They can also get a bit testy if the call comes in just as the goal of the match is being played, just as the most exciting part of the film/television show is happening, just as the toddler throws up on the carpet or the cat wants to go out. Under any of those circumstances people are unlikely to warm to some random calling them about random things. It’s just the way it is!

And that’s why I have to wonder sometimes about the masochist thingy. I mean, why else would they want to do it?