The Joke

Originally written in March 1993, I present to you the original:

Tormenting Telemarketers – A Game You Can Play at Home!

Everyone has gotten a call from a Telemarketer. The new Scourge of the Telephone System. Previously when the phone rang, you always wondered if it was someone you knew, or another schmuck with something to sell. Well, the time has come to turn the tables. We need to take control of our own phones. We need to take the “market” out of Telemarketing.


Telemarketers take the brute force approach to making sales. If you talk to a whole bunch of people, someone will buy what you are selling.


Waste as much of their time as you can. For each minute that you waste means several potential customers that will not be reached. Make Telemarketing unprofitable. Hanging up only increases the changes for them to make a sale. Don’t let this happen!


Most of the preliminary stuff is done by someone making minimum wage, and reads a script. Let them finish. It’s easy points, and you were watching Star Trek and weren’t using your phone anyway. It’s easy to keep them interested using “attentive grunting,” similar to when your mother calls.


Basic Point System:

10 pts – For each minute spent on the phone

15 pts – Getting transfered to someone who makes more than minimum wage

25 pts = For each minute spent on the phone with person making more than minimum wage

Bonus Points:

5 pts/each – Getting them to repeat part of the “script”

15 pts/each – Getting answers to stupid questions

50 pts/each – Changing the subject

175 pts – Making the sales person angry

750 pts – Making the sales person use profanity

1500 pts – Get their boss on the phone, and tell them the salesman used profanity

50 pts – Getting their 1-800- number

10 pts Posting their 1-800- number to as a free “Phone Sex” line

5000 pts – Checking the number a week later and it is busy or disconnected


<Ring> Me: Yes?Them: Hi, I'm with Fly-By-Night Carpet Cleaning and we're in your area [...] [start clock>]
Them: [...] would like to know it you are interested?
Me: Sure... Them: Well, we are currently offering [...]
Them: [...] depending on the size of the rooms.
Me: Well, how much for the whole house? [15 bonus pts!]
Them: Let me transfer you to <???>
THem: Sir?
Me: Yes? [25 pts/min!]
Them: How large is your house?
Me: Oh, about 2,000 sqft.
Them: [...] Well, that would be about $xxx [stupid ?]
Me: It won't hurt the floor, will it?
Them: Oh, no! We use a [...this usually takes some time!...] and is completely safe. [stupid ?]
Me: Even with my pets? Them: Oh, yes. The chemicals we use [...]
Me: Do you have to pre-treat, since I have pets?
Them: Yes, and we do that with [...] [repeat!]
Me: But the original offer was for $39.95, does that include treating for pets?
Them: [...] [subject change]
Me: Well, it is kindof dirty. The guys were over for the game. Did you see the Cowboys vs. the Rams?
Them: Yes. Me: What a game! That last touchdown pass! Wasn't that a great play?
Them: Well, back to your house...
Me: Oh yes, what about moving the furniture?
Them: [...] [subject change]
Me: Do you clean furniture, too? Those guys spilled some beer. Have you smelled old beer on furniture before? But what a game, eh?! I couldn't believe that they couldn't move the ball in the second quarter... [...] [angry???]
Them: Ahem... Would you like us to come out?
Me: Well, when could you come out?
Them: How about next week?
Me: Hmmm... Morning or afternoon?
Them: Either would be fine.
Me: Do you have anything the week after?
Them: Sure, can I put you down for Tuesday?
[Okay, let's try for those last big bonus points:]
Me: Well, I don't think it matters, since I have all hardwood floors here!
Them: Dammit! 
Them: <click>