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Just Awakened By Junk Phoning Assholes
Except these were the local, low-rent variety. And they called as I was sleeping off being sick from flying from Paris to Amsterdam to Minneapolis to Los Angeles (apparently, no direct flights available due to Presidents' Day Weekend). I really need my sleep, too, as I'm on deadline and had planned to write today, at least by the end of the day. Now, I can't go back to sleep.

Anyway, on my final flight, I came down with hypoxia, due to lack of air in the cabin combined with high altitude. Now, I'm totally healthy, and Emily just took my blood pressure -- 100/57, which is exceptionally healthy -- but that doesn't seem to matter. I'm like a canary for when there's less-than-adequate air circulating in coach.

My head started spinning on the flight, I threw up violently and couldn't stop, and then I had to get oxygen. I had two whole tanks on the flight. Then I was nauseated the whole car ride home, and threw up on my grass and again at home, and had to lay down right away. That and jet leg had me sleeping at 1: 32 pm when the call came in:


An outfit called Gateway Exterminators, 5951 Venice Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90034-1713, calling to offer me a free inspection so they can sell me their termite services, apparently. These people were none-too-smart, as they stayed on the phone and gave me as much information as I could squeeze out of them before I asked too many questions (and screamed a few obscenities), told them I was going to sue them for $500 since I'm on the Do Not Call List, and they hung up.

And actually, the first lady I spoke to ("Meg") gave me the wrong information -- the wrong address and the wrong phone number (one that was out of service), which I believe is illegal.

I called back and offered to settle for $300 if I don't have to take them to court. Then I called back to try to get a human on the line. Diane hung up on me, then let it go to the machine the next time I called. I left a message to say how cowardly that was, since I'd been forced to take their call personally (I leave my phone on at all times in case of emergency -- like when my neighbor's kid got glass in his eye and their car battery was dead and he needed to be taken to the hospital).

In case you want to call and express your displeasure with the call they made me, the junk phoners are at 562-366-8615. Diane and Meg were the people who called me, and lo and behold, it's Diane's name on the recording. They sound like they're calling from Calcutta or something, but it seems they're right here in Los Angeles.

There's also another number for Gateway -- 310-866-5615. That's the business number where you schedule exterminators. You might want to call there as well!

I think we need to let these people know, who call with impunity, using phone lines we pay for, and stealing our time, that it's not okay to do this -- very not okay -- and we're not going to just let it go. That's why I think anybody who feels the same should call these numbers and express that opinion, and should also do their best to prosecute when they're called.

Posted by aalkon at February 18, 2006 1:53 PM

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You poor thing! I'm so sorry to hear about your illness - that sounds absolutely awful.

And this piece makes excellent fodder for my new blog. I'm sorry you had to suffer such idiocy, but thanks for the material!

Posted by: Jackie at February 19, 2006 8:59 AM

My projectile vomiting is your...! Glad to be of service. Well, sort of glad to be of service. Well, thanks for the sympathy, anyway!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 19, 2006 9:35 AM

To anyone reading this, if Amy's plea isn't enough to convince you that telephone solicitors are evil bastards who deserve a box seat in the seventh circle of hell, let tell you a story:

I live in a certain Florida town that's been the landfall point for three major hurricanes in the last two years. All three times, we got multiple telemarketing calls DURING THE HURRICANE. I kid you not. Sometimes, from the same company, even after I explained the situation the first time. One of the calls even came from a Florida area code!

I know it's human nature to be courteous, but these people do not deserve courtesy. The only thing they deserve is a loud earfull of verbal abuse, lawsuit threats, and anything else that will make them question their decision to work for an outbound call center.

Posted by: Gary at February 19, 2006 9:37 PM

Re: the hypoxia effect:

If it's any consolation, Boeing's new 787 will have a cabin that's
pressurized to the equivalent of 6000 feet. Currently, commercial
planes will pressurize only to an equivalent of 8000 feet. This may
make a big difference in comfort and altitude effects.

Posted by: Ron at February 21, 2006 4:51 AM

Wow, that's great. Do you know when they'll be out, and if they'll be in wide use?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 21, 2006 7:36 AM

787 to be available in 2008, last I heard. And Boeing sure
hopes they'll be in wide use. I haven't seen any market
predictions about it, though.

Posted by: Ron at February 21, 2006 8:04 AM

Ron, do you know about this stuff? A few years ago (like, 15) there was talk that the bigger airlines (Delta comes to mind) were saving fuel costs by circulating less air in the cabin. Is this true? Can they really save big money by doing that?

90% of passengers on airliners have tuberculosis... 97% of the children are infectious with Black Death. How do filght attendants survive?

Posted by: Crid at February 21, 2006 9:36 AM

Nevermind, just read the link...

GImme a break, worked the overnight....

Posted by: Crid at February 21, 2006 9:38 AM

Jesus Christ, I was kidding about the tuberculosis.

Does anyone know how much money gets save by turning off the air? It can't be that much,

Posted by: Crid at February 21, 2006 10:11 AM

I don't have inside knowledge. I just happened to have read some of
the details of this stuff because I found it interesting.

Most commercial jets get their pressurization by stealing it
from the engines (bleed air). The figures I've seen call for
an increase in fuel use of 2 to 4 percent if recirculate is
turned off.

The 787 will use an electrical pump rather than bleed air.

(As far as tuberculosis goes, the air is passed through a HEPA
filter. It's probably safer than the air at your local shopping

Posted by: Ron at February 21, 2006 7:15 PM

Good content and very informativity! Thanks!

Posted by: Quincy at March 14, 2006 8:59 AM

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