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Telemarketers and the TSS
© Steve Kristof, all rights reserved
O.K., I’ll admit it. I’ve been known to take some pleasure in answering telemarketing phone calls. It’s not always been this way. For years, the callers and their annoying voices reading pathetic script-driven drivel have, understandably, aggravated me to no end.
But it got to the point where my reaction was disproportionate to the annoyance. In fact, I remember walking past a mirror after one of those calls and being surprised at what I saw. Who was that guy with the red face and cartoon-like bulging vein in the forehead?
After each phone call, I’d surrender, sighing, “They did it again; they achieved their goal.”
The goal, you ask? I think we all understand deep in our subconscious that the true purpose of telemarketing phone calls has absolutely nothing to do with selling the product or service that is supposedly being represented. Yes, the telemarketing hawkers are making money, but not how you think.
Well, strap on your seatbelts, because here it is - for the first time ever published – the TRUTH about why telemarketing sales calls exist.
For the telemarketer, selling the product or service is merely a means to an end, and that end has little to do with profit. The real objective of a telemarketing call is to drive the householder mad. This revelation came to me sometime in the mid-nineties, along with a vague model of how a telemarketer is remunerated. I’m pretty sure it goes something like this:
Target hangs-up before first 45 seconds = $0
Target is engaged beyond 45 seconds = $1
Target buys product or service = $2
Target exhibits minor annoyance = $4
Target exhibits marked increase in heart rate = $8
Target’s voice rises 50 decibels = $10
Target, frustrated, slurs speech then slams the phone down = $20
Target uses profanity, including the word ‘mother’ = $30
Target, exasperated, threatens to call the police, then screams incoherently = $60
It’s not so far-fetched. Think about it, have you ever met anyone who was either employed as, or, would admit to ever being employed as a telemarketer? The reality is that these folks are part of a hush-hush fraternal order that’s more secretive than was the Knights Templar. I know this because I once startled a telemarketer at the beginning of a call and he let it slip. He said something to the effect of, “…well, we at the TSS do not have to…”
That little slip-up was, in fact, a huge leak. My premise is that this “TSS” is an acronym for “Telemarketers Secret Society”. Judging from the variety of accents behind these calls, it’s obvious that their membership stretches around the world. And if just one of them reveals the society’s secret mission statement, well, I would imagine that the consequences would be quite final. Have you ever heard or read anything about this? Of course you haven’t. It’s very big, but very much classified.
So, why, you might ask, would the vendors of these products and services be more interested in causing grief than increasing their bottom line? I’m not entirely sure about this, but my guess is that it has something to do with yin-yang balance. You know, get enough people really, really angry with your company and profit will follow. (This may explain why my previous forays into entrepreneurship did not exactly result in financial empires. Just kidding…I hope.)
I know how you’re feeling. After hearing this earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting news, nothing seems quite real or right anymore. Right? The natural human response is to disprove it. But, try as you may, the more you test this theory, the more it makes total sense. After all, why on earth would telemarketing companies go out of their way to hire people who are naturally annoying? Just imagine what the job interviewer’s checklist looks like. It must be loaded with check-boxes next to phrases like, “vexatious attitude”, “grating voice”, “jarring social demeanor”, “incoherent babbler”, “overly aggressive” and, my personal favorite, “speech sounds like script-reading”. Candidates with a sheet full of check-marks get the job.
Lest you think I’ve gone over-board this time, consider my final argument in support my theory. Try this one on for size. The next time you get one of these calls, ask to be placed on their do-not call list, then pretend to hang-up by tapping the telephone receiver with your fingernail. What you hear next may surprise you. It sounds like this: “Ha, ha, ha! Hey, get this everyone, I’ve got another one who wants to be put on the do not call list! O.K., add his name and number to the nationwide “Call
Day or Night List!”
And wouldn’t you know it? Telemarketing calls to your home increase three-fold over the next month. Coincidence? I think not.
Now, I did start this diatribe by stating that I’ve been known to take some pleasure in answering telemarketing calls. Well, here’s the best part. Now that you know what they’re up to, it makes it a lot easier to start messing with them! Click HERE to read my next "Go Figure" article, in which I share some of my all-time favorite telemarketer pranks and come-backs, reserved especially for members of the TSS!
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