Yesterday I complained how complicated America is, with all these damned choices … but sometimes its more straightfoward. Within 24 hours of establishing a new phone line here in my rented house, I was getting nuisance calls. “Hi ! My name’s Alan. How are you today ?”. “I’m fine, thank you kindly. Bye.” This happens every evening around seven. Its when they know you will be in I guess.

Anyway … so soon after getting a phone number, its completely obvious that it’s AT&T themselves that have sold my phone number and details. None of this nonsense about protecting your privacy or wondering whether its because you filled in a survey three months ago etc. Just part of the deal. We give you a phone number, and we arrange for some other folk to phone up and sell you stuff. Very simple.

If you get me in the pub one day, I will tell what happened a few years back when I wasn’t quite so polite to cold callers …

12 Responses to Nuisance

  1. Tony says:

    Re cold callers, you want to read Carl Hiaasen’s ‘Nature Girl’ (UK title: ).

  2. Kav says:

    When I lived Stateside my “favourites” were those automated calls that would ask you to hold for a minute when you picked up. It’s a technique that must work because they kept using it, I just wondered who on Earth actually bothered to stay on hold.

    Privacy and US telecom companies are mutually exclusive. They seem to share with everyone including the government. Plus they get given immunity from the law for doing so.

  3. Beentheredonethat says:

    There is a solution; it takes a few weeks to take effect, but fill in your details here:

  4. Kav says:

    This should help keep the telemarketers at bay.

  5. Tony says:

    re cold callers: you want to read Hiaasen’s ‘Nature Girl’ (that was the UK title: ).

  6. Tony says:

    re cold callers: you want to read Hiaasen’s ‘Nature Girl’ (that was the UK title: ).

    (let’s see if this gets through: all my previous messages have been lost)

  7. andyxl says:

    Tony – you keep getting caught in the WordPress spam filter. Do they know something we don’t ?

    Kav and Beentheredonethat – many thanks

  8. Tony says:

    Eek! sorry about that, Andy. Annoying that it doesn’t even tell me that, just ignores the comment entirely AFAICS. Well at least Hiaasen is getting a lo of plugs 🙂

  9. Alan Heavens says:

    Wasn’t me. Honest.

  10. Astroant says:

    My technique with cold callers: When you answer they phone and they chirp “Hi! How are you today? Do you have a minute to hear about our very special and splendid offer?” I would reply…. “Yes! Can you hang on for a second?” It’s amazing how surprised they would be to receive this response. They would mumble back “Erm – sure!”. I would then put the phone by the table leaving the line open and go back to watch the footy, as they would always phone on a Champions League night – as you say Andy, they know when you are in!

    Not sure how effective it was…but it gave me pleasure, and that’s the main thing.

  11. Beep says:

    Please get rid of the poor folks as soon as you can. Everyone I know who has worked for a call center says they are treated like serfs.

    We have our national Do Not Call list (did you get your new number on it yet?) but there is a loophole for companies you have recently done business with.

    What many of us hope is that someday the general population will realize that every time they buy something from a phone solicitor that gives all the rest the incentive to call, call, call the rest of us. I pretty much don’t answer the phone any more; I let the machine get it and see if it is someone I know or yet another telemarketer. Let them eat voice mail.

    Guess now you find yourself in the US and to California 🙂 Yes, I am sorry, there is a lot that needs to be fixed here. Let’s not talk about the state and national budget deficits, ok?

    Our bizarre health care delivery system destroyed my financial life so I’m a little biased there (you don’t know any old men who wouldn’t be too picky about looks, since their eyesight is just about gone, who wouldn’t mind marrying an American lady who doesn’t take up much room, do you? YES I want national health care).

    But there is so much to do in CA, particularly the Bay Area, and I hope you enjoy your time here. You really can ski in the morning and surf the same evening. Also, we tend to be pretty nice people in general, even if we do talk too loud, too much, and about too many personal things, and although our government can really run into some spectacular debacles.

    Take the CalTrain into the city or drive to Milbrae and take BART; parking in the city is $$$ and it can be so easily avoided. Golden Gate Park is nice for a family outing. Cheap delicious dim sum on Sunday mornings is a tradition. Be careful about cheap fake stuff sold in Chinatown though. If you want to swim in the ocean, unless you are able to keep yourself as warm as a seal, take a long weekend and go south! Do not go home w/out seeing Yosemite, preferably in the spring or the autumn.

    I can’t believe it, but Palo Alto and Mountain View and Sunnyvale et. al. have their own silly postcards now. You’ll have to annoy the folks back home with some.


  12. Beep says:

    If only I’d read the fine print…looks like you got told about our Do Not Call Registry a few x already. That’s what I get for typing before reading. Should be a crime.

    There’s always Caller ID, too, although too many ppl I know use blocking on theirs and forget to unblock when calling someone they know. I think I’m guilty of that too, actually.

    Old, but it’s still Dave Barry:

    I get way too many of them now that I am a proud member of the national society of identity theft victims, and a friend sent me these:

    Well that’s enough American culture from me for one night. You can all go cleanse yourself with British lager or something, now.

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