All telemarketers should be banned

It’s a whole new year. It’s time for one to cast off all those undesirable things from last year and look with hope … Oh, who am I kidding?

I hate New Year’s and the concept of it. People the world over resolve to do multiple things — stop smoking, lose 400 pounds, stop excessive masturbation — and not four weeks later these same people are contracting lung cancer, appearing on Jerry Springer’s “I’m Half-a-Ton and in Love with a Fry Cook” show, and putting the molesting Catholic priests to shame with their depraved acts of self-indulgence.

Another thing I’ve always hated is the superstition that the activities of the first of the year will set the tone for the entire year. I spent the first of this year answering calls from telemarketers. It’s not my idea of fun.

I could repeat the commercials for the “telezapper” and drone on about things all of us know from experience: telemarketers call during dinner, when you’re busy, when you’re gettin’ your groove on, when you’re being robbed, etc.; but I won’t. I actually thought about it, and I couldn’t conceive a situation in which I would want a telemarketer to call. I don’t set aside an hour each day and think to myself, “Man, I wish a telemarketer would call me.” Even if I did, they wouldn’t call. They’d wait until I was on the line with nature, so I’d have to waddle out of the bathroom with my pants around my ankles to answer the phone only to hear, “Do you make the decisions about the phone in your house?” I do make the decisions about the phone in my house, and if any of those telemarketers’ bosses were physically in my presence, I would decide where to unceremoniously shove that cordless receiver.

I assume the telezapper works. However, it is not nearly vindictive enough. Sure, I pick up the line and the gadget sends a tone telling the corporation’s computer my line is disconnected so I don’t get calls anymore; but I want tasty, bloody vengeance. I don’t want to hide from them so they won’t pester me anymore. I want to kick them in their corporate genitalia so hard that Enron and Worldcom would feel pity for them. In this way, these corporations would not seek me, but avoid me as if I were a tax auditor.

The Federal Communications Commission has instituted rules on telemarketing. Irritated parties can request to be added to a “do not call list.” If the corporation ignores this request, it can be fined. However, telemarketing is in its heyday. Either the FCC’s too busy flogging Eminem to enforce its more practical rules or people aren’t reporting violations.

Fines aren’t enough. I wish that every time a telemarketer called, 12 of those little, creepy garden gnomes would collect all the trash they could carry, magic their way into the offending company’s CEO’s office, and dump that refuse onto his desk. If I were called again, garbage would be dumped in their toilets and beds. The gnomes could leave little inane notes that say “Telemarketing is more annoying than Chihuahuas barking,” or “Seek those at home, get another visit from the gnomes,” or even “One more call, and we’ll maim you all.”

Now, I know that someone, somewhere, is thinking “But getting rid of telemarketing would leave so many jobless,” and thinking I’m uptight and whiny. But, no, my friends, it’s the corporations’ fault. How many times have you called a company with a grievance and needed a live homo sapien? Peace will break all over the world before you get assistance. If each and every telemarketer would be trained in customer service, both problems would be solved. Dealing with a disgruntled customer wanting resolution is preferable to wondering if the next person a telemarketer calls is going to plot their demise because they called the beleaguered citizen during Passions.

But I believe we can rid our homes of telemarketers. Make the FCC enforce its rules. If telemarketing becomes unprofitable for corporations, we can answer our phones in peace.

University Wire -Jason Hooper is a student at the University of Mississippi

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