Peeter Joot's (OLD) Blog.

Math, physics, perl, and programming obscurity.

Creative ways to scare off telephone salespeople: the outraged husband, and the attempted terrorist negotiation

Posted by peeterjoot on August 2, 2013

There’s a telemarker “no-call-list” mechanism now in Ontario, but it’s no longer worthwhile to sign up for it.  After it was implemented, all the companies worked around it by outsourcing their cold calling to unfortunate telemarkers in India.  You can almost always recognize these, since there’s a long pause of silence when you pick up the phone, and eventually somebody with a heavy accent picks up.  Once they do, it’s time to play.


Air duct cleaners: the outraged husband response

By far the most common autodialer we used to get was from air duct cleaning companies.  Perhaps as much as once a day.  My response the last time that one called to sell me air duct cleaning was to pretend to be an outraged husband, who had just caught my wife in bed with the air duct cleaning man.  I told them after this that “I never wanted to see that truck again, and if I did I don’t know what I’ll do … don’t ever call back!”

My performance was actually really really bad, but I haven’t received a call for air duct cleaning since then.  I think I’ve been blacklisted.  Since then, I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for another chance to play, but nobody has been trying to sell me anything.  I’ll I’ve been getting is pre-recorded “You’ve won a cruise” calls.


CAA: attempting a terrorist negotiation

After a long long wait, I finally got another sales call today.  This was from CAA, “Canadian Automobile Association”, who sell roadside assistance insurance.  They usually only pester by snail mail, and send me temporary CAA membership cards with a ten day expiry every month or two.

Once I heard the long pause of the autodialer, I waited patiently for the salesperson to pick up.  I expected somebody from India, but the salesman sounded like a North American.  Our conversation went something like this:

CAA: Hello, I’m calling from CAA, the Canadian Automobile Association.

Me: I’ve been waiting for your call.  Have you got my weapons?  I’ve got your anthrax.

CAA: <Confused pause>.  I’m calling from the CAA.

Me: Yes, CAA, the Counterinsurgency Association of the Americas?  I’ve got your anthrax.  Do you have my weapons?

CAA: I don’t understand, we sell roadside insurance policies.

Me: I’m not interested in roadside assistance.  I’m expecting a load of AK-47s.


This went on for a bit, and eventually he gave up.  I was actually very surprised about how cool and collected the salesman was.  I wonder if many people like playing similar games with them?

I’d rate my performance as spectacularly horrible.  The only part of the performance that I liked was how I was able to manufacture an alternate meaning for CAA on the spot without any hesitation.   While, I’m certainly not going to win any Oscar awards in my lifetime, if this doesn’t work to get myself blacklisted as a sales target for the CAA after this, I’m not sure what will.

What next?

I’m out of cool ideas for the next sales call.  One possibility is to sexually proposition the caller (regardless of sex), and provide a fake location where we could “get together”.

3 Responses to “Creative ways to scare off telephone salespeople: the outraged husband, and the attempted terrorist negotiation”

  1. Eli Lansey said

    My brother used to try to sell newspaper subscriptions to other telephone salespeople, and cheap long distance calling rates to the newspaper salespeople.

  2. […] attempt to engage a CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) telemarketer in an anthrax for weapons deal bombed badly, but I thought that I’d have at least been blacklisted from sales calls after […]

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