February 8th, 2004


10 Fun Comebacks For Your Telemarketer -- Compiled by Amy C. Fleitas


We've hit a nerve. When we asked our readers to send in clever responses to telemarketing calls, we were immediately slammed with thousands of e-mails. Some were from angry telemarketers, but most were from readers fed up with intrusive calls and pessimistic about the effectiveness of the Do Not Call Registry.

Several responses were popular among readers. We received a lot of these suggestions: "Ask them to hold and then set down the phone and walk away," or "Say you don't have a phone," and "Pretend you can't hear them." Another popular response was to fake gastro-intestinal problems in the bathroom.

To those who sent in the Seinfeld approach -- "Give me your home number and I'll call you back there" -- no fair cheating. Make up your own and send them in to telemarketers@bankrate.com.

Here are 10 of the most creative responses we've received so far.

I'll Be Watching You
"I can't believe you got this number so quickly. I got out of prison yesterday. You know what I was in for? Selling telemarketers' personal information to people that do bad things to them. Can I get you to stay on the line for just about thirty five more seconds while this thing downloads your cubicle location and headset I.D.?" or "This call will be recorded for quality assurance."

You've Reached Santaland
If you have caller ID, when you pick up the phone say, "Hello this is Buddy the elf." Then talk really fast so they can't understand you when you say, "Loser says what?"

Guess where you've called
If you have caller ID, say, "Trixie's Call Girl Service. Press 'one' for an appointment. Press 'two' if you are seeking employment. Press 'three' if you are a law enforcement officer."

Sure, Come on Over
A reader from Sydney, Australi a wrote about his revenge on a telemarketer selling aluminum siding.

"We were forever getting calls to clad (add siding to) our home. In the end, I was really cheesed off so under duress I made an appointment for a rep to come and give me a quote.

"When he arrived and found my home was of brick construction he virtually went through the roof, but on settling down he asked why I had accepted the offer of a quote.

"I said, 'Being sick of calls from his company, I decided to accept their offer.' That was the last call we had for aluminum cladding."

Another reader's father had a similar solution.

"My dad once invited a guy out to the house to give an estimate on waterproofing the basement that my dad couldn't convince him we didn't have. When he asked my dad to show him the stairs to the basement, my dad took him outside to a hole in the backyard leading to the crawlspace and offered him a flashlight.

"The guy looked at my dad and said, 'But you don't have a basement,' to which my dad replied, 'That's what I've been trying to tell you!'"

Get Your Hands Up
Interrupt them and demand to know how they got this number. Before they can reply, tell them to be quiet and listen. Tell them federal agents are en route to their location, and to follow your instructions to the letter if they want to avoid being shot. Tell them to shut down their computer and all other devices in their office, hang up and unplug the phone, then to kneel down in the middle of the room. They are then to cross their ankles and place their hands on their head and stay that way until the agents arrive. Then hang up.

Glad You Called
"That offer sounds great. Is it dischargeable in bankruptcy?" or "Do you accept welfare checks?"

I Know Yo u
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 terror as she tries to figure out where she could know you from.

"This is she," he said.
Another reader wrote in about an irksome problem he has with telemarketers.

"Because our home is under my partner's name, they almost always call asking for him. When I tell them he's not here, they then ask for 'Mrs.' I finally got brazen enough to reply, 'You're speaking to him. Now what can I do for you?'

"More times than not, they hang up, especially if it's a man calling. I guess the whole 'gay' thing makes some of them uncomfortable. Oh, well!"

You're On the Air
"Caller number nine you're on the air. What would you like to hear?"

One reader says a sure-fire way to get tele-blacklisted is to recite (bad) poetry.

"I am so glad you called; I just finished some poetry that I wanted to try out. I will be glad to listen to the rest of your call if you'll listen to my poem."

"Sometimes, in life, you find, that if you try, as you will and have before, you may be …" Fill in the rest with rambling nonsense for about a minute; then stop. When the telemarket er starts to talk, cut him off and start rambling again for another few minutes. Continue this as many times as is necessary until he hangs up.

If he is persistent, ask: "Did you like the poem?"

If he says yes, ask which part he liked the best. Demand specifics and comment on the emotional angst and spiritual juxtaposition of the part in question.

Think You Can Do Better?
If you think you have a better response, tell us about it by sending an e-mail to telemarketers@bankrate.com. Please keep it clean and avoid being overly cruel -- the point is to be funny, not vicious. If you can get the telemarketer to laugh with you, you get bonus points.

Remember, the best way to avoid these calls is to get on the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Registry and report the companies that violate the law.

Cougar/Skunk Follow-up

In the picture one of the boys showed me before Spanish class, the cougar that got shot about 2 miles from here had feet bigger than my hand with all the fingers and thumb spread as wide as I can get them. The head was by the wheel well of a standard size bed pickup, and the front paws were off the lowered tailgate. The rear legs were against the wheel well on the other side. Reportedly, it weighed 150 pounds. It was HUGE!

Oh, you would have LOVED the bottom half front page headline on the free paper that gets sent out every Wednesday with the ad fliers in it!

As usual, rumors are rampant!

My text books caught up with me on Tuesday, as Mon. we had a snow day. Thursday, I stayed home, as I kept waking up every half hour and clearing the front door so I would not get snowed in. I was exhausted by 6:30 when the alarm went off. I slept until noon, read a bit of college text, slept a bit, read a bit, and at 2:30, nearly caught up with WEEK #1 in one of the two books! Speed reading Jr. High Novels and reading technical college texts in an area I'm not already expert are NOT alike!

I decided to call in. Thank goodness! Corydon had let out early, which closed the ICN site, which canceled the class. So many cancellations came in from the 150 students, scattered all over the state of Iowa, that the entire state canceled before the 5:30 class!

The ICN rooms we are using are all in schools, which let out early or did not have school in the first place. Eight sites canceled the week before, but we had class as though only one student had called in sick.

Did it SNOW much on Thursday??? Oh, yes, it did! Seymour did NOT let out early, and Friday morning when I called, Jim, the art teacher who has been a missionary all over the world (right below me on the calling tree) spent 10 minutes regaling me with his horror story of trying to drive along Highway 2 (generally the first and best plowed in the county... I am on it coming home for a whopping 2 mile stretch of the 13 miles I travel...).

Our conversations are funny. He preached in Peru, Turkey, Italy... etc. so he answers the phone in the middle of the night out of a sound sleep in a foreign language. I don't know if he does it all the time, or not, but whenever I call him, his greeting is ... strange. Sometimes I recognize the language, and sometimes not. Friday, it was Italian, and I answered in Spanish, being the poor bilingual that I am... No hay escuela.... After he ran down about the poor driving conditions, and how much slower they seem to be plowing the roads than in past years, I said, "That's probably right" and reminded him about the across-the-board tax cuts we've had in recent years. Then he decided he'd better go back to sleep before he got fully awakened! We'd talked 10-15 minutes. I'm impressed, seriously impressed with someone who can give a RANT while sleep-talking!

Did I tell you how I got the skunk??? Now my fear is what pile she's in -- in the pasture, in the tree line/fence line in front of the house, or in the pile right at the end of the trailer. I have a feeling I'm going to be less appreciative of having hit her once she thaws out and starts to stink...

Modern Day Universal Themes


Generational Conflict

Human Condition


Loss of Innocence/Toll of War


Obsession/Psychological Study


Another View

individual as hero;
individual and cosmos;
individual and nature;
individual and society;
individual and family;
individual and individual;
individual and self;

Yet Another View

Universal Themes and Generalizations

1. Relationships:
A. Everything is related in some way.
B. All relationships are purposeful.
C. Relationships change over time.

2. Exploration:
A. Exploration requires recognizing purpose and responding to it.
B. Exploration may result in new findings or the confirmation of old findings

3. Force or Influence:
A. Force attracts, holds and repels.
B. Force influences or changes.
C. Force may be countered with equal or greater force.

4. Conflict:
A. Conflict is composed of opposing forces.
B. Conflict may be natural or human-made.
C. Conflict may be intentional or unintentional.
D. Conflict may allow for change.

5. Patterns:
A. Patterns have segments that are repeated.
B. Patterns allow for prediction.
C. Patterns have an intentional order.
D. Patterns are enablers.

6. Systems:
A. Systems have parts that complete a task.
B. Systems are composed of sub-systems.
C. Systems follow rules.
D. Systems interact.
E. Parts of systems are interdependent upon one another.

7. Power:
A. Power is the ability to influence.
B. Power may be used or abused.
C. Power may take many forms (electrical, economic, political, cultural.)

8. Structure:
A. Structures have parts that are interrelated.
B. Parts of structures support and are supported by other parts.
C. Smaller structures may be combined to form larger structures.
D. A structure is no stronger than its weakest component part.

9. Change:
A. Change generates more change.
B. Change can be either positive or negative.
C. Change is unavoidable or inevitable.
D. Change is necessary for growth.

10. Order Vs. Chaos
A. Order may be natural or constructed.
B. Order is a form of communication.
C. Order leads to chaos and chaos leads to order.

Still More