Tuesday, February 09, 2010

In Defense Of The Telemarketer

They're annoying. Agreed. Right in the middle of meal, or a good book, or at the end of a movie. They call, with their syrupy voice that smiles through the phone. Even at your place of employment, they call. "Is the Office Manager there?" Recently, I found myself hanging up on them. With no energy extended on my part. Just a "click." That'll teach 'em.

Most can't be understood anyway. You want to scream, "If your chosen profession is telemarketing, at least learn to speak English properly!" Right? Low-lifes. Can't they get a real job? Probably illegal aliens. If I want to buy something, I'll shop for it myself!


I felt this way until I began to write a story about a man who is down on his luck, can't find employment to support his five children, and resorts to telemarketing. In my plotting and research, I thought hard about this individual. Who is he? Why is he in this financial shape? What events caused him to resort to telemarketing?

How does he handle the rejection that's not just daily, but minute by minute?

Has anyone ever thought how difficult it is to be totally dependent on commission sales?

He's a good man, a kind man. A man who worked hard all his life to be thrown out on his ear at 55 because some younger stud could pull twice the weight. He's an ex-con, but it was a white-collar crime he didn't commit. Still, who is going to hire him now? He can't sell real estate, insurance, or even cemetery plots. One must be licensed. Background checks knock him out of every ballpark. He can't even sell cars. His wife is dead, his children age from ten to twenty. He needs cash flow. What does a man like this do?

I began to sympathize with my telemarketing character. I think many telemarketers are at dead-ends. Perhaps they hate having to smile on the phone. Perhaps they despise trying to entice you with a product that not only you don't want, but they don't want either.

I think the next time I get a call, I'll not be rude. I'll put myself in their shoes. I'll simply say, "No thanks, but have a good day."

Then again, who knows? Maybe this person has something I can't live without. Maybe I'll even listen to the whole presentation. They're not all out to get us. Some, I've found, have good intentions. Honest products. A sense of humor. Some, even, represent wonderful companies with awesome products and opportunities not found anywhere else. How would one ever know about them, except by way of a ... telemarketer.

The point is. Be kind. He may very well be a schmuck. But you don't have to be.

Something to think about.

Blessings to you and yours.

No comments: