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Don't Call Us, And We Won't Call You
Are you annoying? If so, chances are you irritate the crap out of others free of charge. Why not become a telemarketer and make it your business to irritate others? Maybe even irritate your way into a new car!

Telemarketers have been much maligned lately, with major media saturation about the "Do Not Call" list. Still, their spokesdude, Tim Searcy, wants to make it clear that telemarketers are as patriotic as the next shill, uh, person. They aren't merely struggling for the continued "right" to interrupt your dinner; he insists it's actually First Amendment rights they're "fighting for"! You know: "Give me liberty, or give me a 'yes' on switching your long distance!" (Wait -- is that the Nokia ring-tone national anthem I hear in the distance?)

It's really great telemarketers are such staunch defenders of freedom of speech, because Dave Barry just printed the phone number of their association (877-779-3974) so we can all feel free to call and commend them for their, uh, patriotism. Oddly, they didn't appear to be very grateful to Mr. Barry for working to further their cause, and even made a snippy remark about receiving "no warning" before angry telemarketees by the bazillion interrupted their important business:

Though meant as a prank, the Barry column has had harmful consequences for the ATA, Searcy said. An ATA staffer has spent about five hours a day for the past six days monitoring the voice mail and clearing out messages.

Tragic, simply tragic. Be sure to call the ATA, toll-free, and express your, uh, sympathy: 877-779-3974

On A First Amendment Note: I'm all for freedom of speech...such as the freedom to hire somebody to stand on public property to ask us to give them our phone numbers so people in a boiler room can irritate the crap out of us. The freedom I'm not for is the freedom to hijack a telephone line I pay for to interrupt me at dinner time (or any other time) to try to sell me something. This freedom is, however, available for a price, per Tyler Cowen's suggestion.


Interrupting me during my nap: $3,012.50 (not including tax).
During dinner: $3,761.23.
During sex: $13,456.50.
Other prices available upon request.

Telemarketers, I eagerly await your calls!

(via Romenesko)

Posted by aalkon at September 11, 2003 9:03 AM


Am I annoying? In light of my jumping on Amy for her "snorting crack" remark, I would say, "Absolutely!" (I love you, Amy.)

Which isn't to say that I would ever take up telemarketing. Since I resent the practice, I wouldn't like to do it to someone else.

Of course, there is "kinder" version of telemarketing. Some websites, when you peruse their products as you to supply your phone number and ask for the best time to call in order to discuss the possibility of you buying. Since you have more or less invited them, you can hardly blame them for following up.

Posted by: Patrick at September 11, 2003 1:07 PM

As for the "kinder" version of telemarketing, I'm all for it. I'll volunteer, as I mentioned above, to be annoyed for a price. Junk fax permission price list available upon request.

Posted by: (Amy Alkon) at September 11, 2003 3:31 PM

What's the fine during blogging?

Posted by: cecile at September 11, 2003 6:45 PM

Well, I'd discount it for you, should you have something you'd like to sell me (besides that gold Town Car!) -- but for anyone else, it's $3,650.14.

Posted by: (Amy Alkon) at September 11, 2003 7:36 PM

Cecile --

Those fines for calling Amy while she's sleeping or eating? They already include a charge for interrupting her blogging, because THAT'S ALL AMY DOES NOW. I haven't seen her for weeks. For a while I thought she might have developed a heroin problem. It's actually much more serious than that.


Posted by: Lena Cuisina at September 11, 2003 9:33 PM

Lena, you're closest to her. Bundle her into a car and take her to "Blogaholics Anonymous!"

I can see it now. Sitting in some dusty church room in metal folding chairs, unconsciously typing in the air the words they speak.

Posted by: Patrick at September 12, 2003 7:43 AM

Patrick, you laugh, but just wait. Very soon we'll have a "Blogger's AA" in Los Angeles, as soon as the guys in Sex Addicts Anonymous realize that sending chatroom messages to "BigDk4U" is really just a form of blog addiction. Who knew?

Posted by: Lena Cuisina at September 12, 2003 9:47 AM

Blogaholics Anonymous was started in April of 2002, but we all recovered within a month of treatment (or voluntarily agreed to disband and live in denial):

Posted by: wKen at September 16, 2003 3:55 AM

Saw Tim Searcy on O'Reilly tonight. Searcy is a dumbass jerk and I hope the national DNC list hurts his industry real bad. TM's get a clue. When you call me you are not just disturbing me, which I don't want you to do, you are using MY phone line and MY telephone number which I pay for, to conduct YOUR business at no charge. This is not what my phone is for so F*** you and F*** off. Don't call me anymore!

Posted by: Kevin Napier at September 17, 2003 12:15 AM

To be fair they are also using their phone lines, at their expense, to conduct their business.

Posted by: Riboflavin at September 20, 2003 2:45 PM