Telemarketers are the ones we love to hate. Not only are their calls unsolicited and annoying, but they seem to come just as you are sitting down to eat or hopping into the shower.
What do you do? Hang up on the caller or politely decline to listen? Get mad?
Some people have made an art of playing with the telemarketers and getting a few chuckles along the way. We asked you to send in your clever responses to telemarketers’ calls. Here are the best of the pranks.
Speak to the little lady of the house
We have a 5-year-old daughter who loves to talk. If I answer the phone and discover a telemarketer on the other end, I just quietly hand the phone to our daughter … and let the fun begin!
Give them the man of the house
When they ask for the man of the house, I ask them to hold; then I put my 2-year-old son on the phone.
Have I got a deal for you
Interrupt the telemarketer’s sales pitch and ask them if they would like to buy something from you (could be anything that you’re selling). That will usually get them to end the call.
Ask the telemarketer to marry you. Seriously, this will probably shock them and they won’t know what to say.
You have reached my voicemail
Say: “Hello.” (Wait on them to start talking.) “I’m sorry we can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave a message. Beep.”
Funny you called
“You know, I was just thinking about (doing, buying) just that very same thing. So, I said to myself, ‘Self, why don’t you just (do, buy) it and get over it.’ To my amazement, self replied with a loud, ‘GO FOR IT!'” (Keep talking to take control of the conversation, never letting the telemarketer speak so he or she can’t actually try to sell you anything.) “Well, me and myself will discuss it more and we’ll get back to you.”
From a country song
“I’d love to, but my wife just left me, she cut the tires on my truck, I had to bury my dog, and I only have half a Bud Light bottle left. I’m not worried about the rest, but if you start selling beer, give me a call.”
Have you planned for the future?
When I see “out of area” on the caller ID, I answer the phone with the name of a made-up insurance company. Then I try to sell the person life insurance. I’ll ask questions like, “What if something happened to you?” or “Are you sure your final needs can be met?” Usually, they end up hanging up on me.
Reply in gibberish
Answer the phone in a pretend foreign language.
She’s not … here
I have told people that the person they were asking for was hideously mangled in a train wreck. If they ask for my wife, I sometimes say that she recently left me, then tell the caller she sounds cute and ask her out.
And you are?
I’d love to hear more about why you are calling me, but I’m in the middle of dinner right now. Why don’t you give me your home number so I can call and irritate you in the middle of your meal?
Rather than find creative ways in which to hang up on telemarketers, I decided many years ago that I could provide a public service by keeping them on the phone for as long as possible. The longer they spend with me, the less time they have to call other people. Often, they’ll hang up on me before I can hang up on them!
What did I win?
Sometimes I’ll act as if the sales call is one to inform me that I’ve won a prize. I’ll exclaim, “I’ve never won anything in my life!” Then I’ll ask for details on when and how my prize will be sent to me. And no matter how many times it’s explained to me, I will never quite understand that I’ve won nothing and instead am being asked to buy something.
I’m already connected
If I’m being offered a loan or mortgage refinance, I’ll ask if it can “fly under the radar,” because I have a large loan at a very high interest rate from “family” who would become very upset if I obtained loans elsewhere. I’ll suggest that we meet somewhere discreet to discuss details.
Ever hear of women’s lib?
My wife is especially perturbed when they ask for the “Man of the House.” So she then starts talking in hushed tones and saying, “Oh, no sir. The Master isn’t here. He keeps me locked down here in the basement when he goes out, so I can’t check for him now.”
I am big on the phone flirting. Use your best Joey voice from “Friends”: “How you doin?” or, “You sound really attractive. Do you call here often?”
How long do you have?
Say: “Sorry to interrupt you. I really want to talk to you, but can you hold on for a few minutes? I just need to finish up the call from the last telemarketer. He called me about an hour ago.”
What’s it worth?
“Now before I listen to your pitch, there are a few things we need to cover. My minimum rate for listening is $35 an hour. Of course, I can offer you upgrades that give you additional benefits, as well as a greater chance that I may buy what you are selling. The deluxe package is $55 per hour and offers a 2 percent chance of purchase, and the super-deluxe package is $75 per hour, and offers a 3 percent chance of purchase. Now before we get to that, I will need you to send in an application as well as a minimal application fee of $55. You will also need to include with your payment a $35 payment for a credit report. Once your credit has been approved, I will be able to accept your non-refundable good-faith security deposit, which I require, of $100. After closing, and you have paid my standard closing costs of $250, we will then be able to proceed with your sales pitch. Can I sign you up?”
Call the cult
“Sorry I can’t talk, I am about to cut off my tongue to achieve ultimate power.”
It’s good enough for Cuba
I always get them to scream, “Show me the money!” like in “Jerry Maguire.”