I love to vote, but I hate election time. Being a resident of New Hampshire, the “first in the nation primary,” brings with it a lot of extra, unwanted attention. Most of it in the form of phone calls and junk mail. Starting at 8 am most days, the phone starts ringing with surveys, research calls, and robocalls telling me why I should vote for a candidate because their opponent is an awful, evil person.
It makes you want to give up your phone.
You’re not even protected by the Do Not Call registry. One political research marketer said he’d love to put me on their do not call list, but couldn’t because it would violate federal law. Now, the Do Not Call registry states “Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted,” but really? It’s a violation of federal law to take me out of your databank?
Thanks FTC and FCC.
In frustration, I finally decided to have fun with the phone calls and callers. I started off simply. Whenever the phone rang and I didn’t recognize the caller ID, I’d pick up the phone and yell “Go!” Then I’d say absolutely nothing. A few times an apologetic voice would try to identify themselves, but most people would hang up.
When that got boring, I decided to answer with, “Who you betting on?” I tried to make my voice a raspy snarl. Again, mostly hang ups, but one brave soul started to do her pitch until I interrupted her to say, “This is a bookmaking line, dummy. You’re costing me money.” Click.
When that got old I switched to the psychic hot line. Mainly because I thought it would be fun, and maybe I’d make a few extra bucks. “You’ve reached the Psychic Hotline,” I’d intone. “Please press 1 for Visa, 2 for Mastercard, and 3 for American Express.” Again, a few attempts at conversation, but mostly hang ups. I also noticed the calls were slowing down. Could the political telemarketers have some sort of secret communication system I wasn’t aware of? I decided to bring out the big guns.
“Big Patty’s Sex Toy Emporium,” I’d answer the phone in a cheerful, peppy voice, “because bigger is better. How may I direct your call?” This met with silence and the occasional giggle. I think it was because the image of Big Patty, I’m thinking a redheaded six footer who ropes calves in her spare time and has a sexy rodeo outfit, stopped people dead in their tracks. I experimented with different tag lines. “No hole to0 large,” seemed unnecessarily sexual. “We guarantee our toys have never been used,” seemed too obvious. Before I could perfect my pitch, the phone calls dried up.
From a high of approximately 15 nuisance calls a day, my phone now is quiet. Today, for instance, no political calls at all. I am grateful for the silence, but a little sad in that I didn’t get a chance to fine tune Big Patty into a robocall stopping machine.
I guess she’ll stay silent until 2016. Until then, if you want to reach me, I’ll be at Big Patty’s Sex Toy Emporium.
- FTC Wants to Give You $50,000 to Stomp out Cellphone Robocalls (lockergnome.com)
- FTC Hangs Up on ‘Rachel’ Robocalls (newser.com)
- The FTC Wants YOU! – To Kill Robocalls (readwriteweb.com)
- FTC offers $50,000 to whichever ‘national hero’ can stamp out robocalls (theverge.com)