I shouldn’t have put my name on the National Do Not Call Registry. This morning, just as I was relaxing with my sixteenth cup of coffee, there was a knock at the door. I opened it up and there was a guy standing before me with two telephone receivers in his hand.
“Can I help you?” I ask, a little taken aback. The fellow held up a finger, the first one, so don’t worry, and handed me one of the phone sets. He gestured that I should hold it to my ear, which I did.
“Hello,” he asked into his phone, “My name is Paul. Are you the person who makes the decisions about long distance service in your home?”
I drop my hand from my ear. “What are you doin...” He points madly at my phone, gesturing that I should bring it back to my ear. I do so. “What are you doing?” I ask into the phone.
“I’m trying to sell you a new and exciting long distance service.” he replied into his receiver. “Are you satisfied with you current phone provider? By the way, this call may be recorded to insure quality control.” With that he pulled a micro cassette recorder and snapped it on.
“Wait a minute,” I started to lower the phone again, but a stern look from him made me stop. “Why are you standing at my door making me talk into this stupid phone?”
“It’s your fault really,” Paul replied, “You’re on the Do Not Call list, so here I am. No one says I can’t knock on your door.”
“Fair enough,” I answer, “but what’s with the phone?”
“I’m just used to doing it this way. I’m a telemarketer, for Christ sakes. Do you think I like standing out here in the cold and rain, talking to you?”
I looked up at the sky. It was a warm, sunny morning. “What rain?” I ask.
“You know what I mean”, he grumbled. “The point is I should be indoors, sitting in a padded office chair and drinking coffee, not standing out here looking at your ugly face.”
“I’m sorry, you’re right.” I say contritely, “I had no idea what would happen when I put my name on the list. Let me make it up to you. I’ll buy whatever you’re selling.”
His eyes lit up. “Really? That’s great! Let me get my supervisor to confirm your order.”
With that he lowered the phone, and gestured towards the bushes along my front lawn. As he started humming musak in my ear, a lite rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze, a figure emerged from the hedge and walked over. He took the phone from my door to door telemarketer, who stopped humming.
“Hello, Chuck?” he said, “I’m Phil. I’m going to ask you some questions just to confirm your order. Can you repeat your name for our records?”
I’d had enough. “Look, this is crazy. I’ve changed my mind. I want you guys to leave. I’ve got things to do.” I slammed the door. It wasn’t till later when I was leaving for work that I realize that my house had been TP’d and all my tires flattened. That very day I called and removed my name from the Do Not Call Registry. On reflection I figured fifteen or twenty unwanted calls a day was a small price to pay for a little peace and quiet.