Since stumbling upon Counterscript some time ago, I have been on a relentless campaign against telemarketers that enter my home through the telephone. My campaign is called “Reactive Telemarketing”.
Whenever a telemarketer calls, I immediately begin asking them questions as listed on the Counterscript (though I do not follow it precisely). Most of the time, the telemarketers don’t mind spelling their name, or telling me how long they’ve been in ‘the business’ (I am surprised at how often their reply is, “this is my first day!”), or offering their opinion about their job, but generally start resisting when the discussion of their income comes up. Several telemarketers have laughed aloud as I ask the pointless questions. Only a few make it through the discussion of the importance of dental health into the promised land of “what toothpaste would you recommend?”. I heartily thank those few that make it that far, wish them well, and hang up the phone –Â almost certainlyÂ leaving a laughing, confused telemarketer on the other end.
I feel that the most important aspect of the Counterscript is to play it straight. Be completely earnest in your pursuit of “completing [your] study”. When they ask what the study is about, IÂ depart the Counterscript and tell them I am studying the “effects of reactive telemarketing”. Sometimes, that answer seems to satisfy them. Other times, not so much. The more serious you are, the funnier.
A couple times, the telemarketer has bounced me up to a manager and this is where playing it straight really becomes important. I generally take the approach that the manager isÂ an equal to my position on my “study”, and approachÂ them with, “Can you help me? Your telemarketer isn’t giving me the requested information. I’ve already started to complete this study form and can’t just throw it away. Can you answer these questions on behalf of the telemarketer?”. Sometimes they do, but frequently they do not and I ask for someone else — “perhaps someone with more authority,” I say — who would be able to answer on the telemarketer’s behalf. This is usually when they hang up on me.
This approachÂ feels less aggressive toward the telemarketers (though my wife disagrees — “just tell them we’re not interested and hang up,” she suggests) and an enjoyable way to get the point across that we don’t want their calls.
Gotta go — the phone is ringing!