Telemarketers aren’t born. They’re made. But before their unwelcomed intrusions are visited upon our ears, these operators of a lesser God must first be identified and then guided into a hellish life of relentless robocalling. How hellish? Well, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates that 40% of telemarketers have been infected with ATDs (Aurally Transmitted Diseases). ATDs are spread through the unhygienic practice of indiscriminate headset sharing – the predictable result of too few headsets for too many heads. This careless sharing of bodily ear wax, in which the gooey stuff is freely exchanged through unclean earpieces, has forced the CDC to mandate warning signs be posted in telemarketing bathrooms reading: “All Employees Must Wash Ears.” Even with the CDC’s hygienic guidelines, telemarketers continue to contract some very eerie diseases such as Earpes, Syphilears and Mononearcleosis. In some extreme cases, Vegan telemarketers who’ve share headsets with multiple partners, have displayed symptoms of Cauliflower Ear.
The indoctrination process into this hellish landscape works something like this. Having been identified and groomed by sophisticated handlers, the fledgling telemarketer’s resistance to a career in headset hell collapses, and they’re now fit to be crowned with: the Headset of Obnoxious Robocalling or “HOR” for short. And when these HORs begin tempting John Q Public with seductive promises of unbelievable deals, there’s no going back – unless Liam Neeson is nearby to save them.
As these headset-equipped salespeople try desperately to sell their wares to anyone who will listen, their once dependable life of mindless gaming and endless vaping goes up in smoke. Soon they are mercilessly absorbed into the digital ecosystem where they become unwitting tools of the Telemarketing-Industrial Complex – a seriously annoying entity that President Eisenhower indirectly warned us about in the early 60s. However, none of this devolutionary drama can occur until a candidate (or “patsy” as they’re called in the industry) is lured away from the underground world of gaming in their mom’s basement, and into the underground world of telemarketing in their overlord’s basement (usually an abandoned bomb shelter).
And this is the area code I once inhabited.
Enabler of First Resort
My name is Otis Breakwater and as a recovering President of Telemarketers Anonymous (TA), I once enabled this unholy connection between the barely employable and the Do Not Call Registry. But now I’m here to present a window on the shadowy world of telemarketing. In this tell-all expose I’ll blow the lid off some of our less scrupulous techniques. For example the federal Do Not Call Registry was a list of telephone numbers telemarketers checked regularly to verify that consumers really and truly did not want to be called. We thought of ourselves more as fact checkers than as unwanted callers.
Telemarketers Anonymous was (and is) an industry-leading employment firm that brought together both the digital predator and the unsuspecting prey. I had been faithfully serving this industry ever since I was expelled from the Bail Bonds industry. In fact I’m the first and only bondsman ever banned from the bottom-feeding Bail Bonds industry for what their board of ethics said were “practices unbecoming a Bail Bondsman.” Really? Practices unbecoming a bail bondsman! Since when did guys named “Icepick Kelly” have standards?
Once torn from my life of Bondage (bail bondage and not the other kind), I didn’t brood. I didn’t wallow. I simply replaced the criminal element with the cellular element and launched a new career in the annoyingly pestilential field of Telemarketing. Telemarketing was a good call on my part (pun originally not intended, and then I read it again and said, “Wow, I can be really unintentionally funny.”).
I’ve launched many telemarketing careers into various trajectories. But before you think I was a mercenary purveyor of societal nuisances, just stop for a moment and consider all of the deplorables I swept off the streets and into the dustbin of telemarketing. All across America (as well as other 3rd world countries) you’ll find these newly minted teleserfs inhabiting a pitiless realm of underground communication centers that in the Eisenhower Era were bomb shelters. The doors of these jobsite bunkers are locked at the beginning of every 12-hour shift to ensure that workers devote a full ½ day to meet the quotas they must achieve before being released from the darkness and back into the light of day. Of course by the time they resurface, they usually emerge back into the darkness of night. In these reinforced concrete vaults, amongst expired cans of tomato soup, old gas masks and moth-eaten cots, teleserfs slavishly toil while withstanding reams of rejection and tsunamis of snubs. But I don’t want to convey a sense of quiet desperation among them because it’s actually quite noisy down there.
Human rights groups have accused enablers like me of coercing unsuspecting and impressionable people into lives they never intended by cleverly dangling lofty promises of:
- Their very own cubicle – OK so it’s more like a cell
- Unrestricted use of the dipping ladle at the communal water trough – So now you’re sharing spit and ear wax
- Free tomato soup from the pantry’s dusty stock – Despite what they say, canned goods never go bad. Especially if they were made prior to mandatory expiration date labeling.
- All the toilet paper one can fold or bunch
The industry takes great exception to the media’s heartless portrayal of their operation as being cold and uncaring. I mean, it’s true and everything; but they take great exception to it anyway.
What You Can Do to Help
There are 2 ways to support these phoney salesmen trapped in a life of continuous rejection. In the first case, a caring consumer can visit their local shelter and take home a rescue telemarketer whereby they can introduce the rejected little guy to a better above ground life with perhaps an above ground pool. As mentioned earlier, rescue telemarketers are granted unlimited use of toilet paper so most rescue telemarketers come to you already paper-trained. Additionally many call centers have contracted with a non-profit medical group called Doctors Without Scruples who’ll spay or neuter your rescue telemarketer should you think it important that they never reproduce. Pre-signed Informed Consent documents are on file, so you’re good to snip.
In the second case you can support these phoney salesmen by actually buying something from them over the telephoney. I mean would it kill you to purchase a 5-night 2-day stay at a hotel that’s not quite affiliated with Hilton Hotels, or maybe buy a vacation package through a 3rd party that refers to Princess Cruise Lines several times, but actually owns nothing but a few kayaks? C’mon people. Where’s your sense of fair play?
A Word to Our Valued Telemarketers: Don’t Get Hung-Up On Hang-Ups
Telemarketing is a time-honored sales platform that owes a debt of gratitude to its inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, who, when calling his nearby wife, accidentally engaged in the first telemarketing call in history:
Bell: Ahoy hoy, my dearest Gwendolyn. Be it known that I miss you with all of my loins. If you would but come to the laboratory and allow me to loosen your corset I promise to offer you lodging for 3-days and 2-nights at a well-known tavern located not far from Atlantic City. But, as I am in a state of utmost arousal, you must act now to secure these accommodations.
Gwendolyn: Why Alexander, I’m all atwitter!
Bell: Twitter is not for another 130 years Gwennie. Now come to the lab and bring the Castor Oil we keep in the chamber pot under the chair with the false bottom.
Gwendolyn: Wait a minute. How did you get my phone number?
Bell: How did I get your phone number? – Jesus Gwen, it’s the only phone number in existence right now. Remember. I just invented the thing.
Gwendolyn: OK. Any tavern I choose right?
Bell: Yes, yes I beseech you. Now get your false bottom over here because this time-critical promotion is only valid until Watson gets back from lunch which is in about 30 minutes, so kindly do not tarry, my little chickadee!
OK, maybe it wasn’t so much the first telemarketing call as much as it was the first instance of phone sex. The point is, you can make good money selling stuff over the phone. And even more money as the employment agency for funneling people into the telemarketing industry.
Might as Well Jump. Jump!
A career arc in telemarketing is similar to the trajectory of many of Evel Knevel’s less successful motorcycle jumps (did he even plan those jumps, or just glance at the 13 buses he was supposed to clear and think, “Hmmm, 80-85 mph ought to do it. And maybe I’ll wear a cup this time.). The same kind of devil-may-care attitude Mr. Knevel exhibited is also exhibited by those telemarketers whose career arcs also seem to be made with but a glance at the consequences of the soul-killing choice they’ve made. On a more positive note, some of the more successful telemarketers are able to make enough money to service their PayDay Loans without having to pawn their high school equivalency graduation ring.
However peculiarly it is bestowed, Telemarketers Anonymous provides a service to underachieving youth by conveying upon them status and purpose. Occasionally, while sporting their snazzy headsets, these communication professionals are mistaken for wise motivational speakers or coolly composed air traffic controllers. So what if sometimes they’re paid in Kohl’s Cash or Amazon gift cards? And it’s not true what they say. Most telemarketers don’t live in their mother’s basement. Why? – Because they can usually afford more palatial digs like her garage, or maybe even a posh billet under the 2nd floor stairs.
Awards: A Testament to Telemarketing’s Standing
- Amnesty International recently awarded the Telemarketing Industry its coveted TBE or Triple Barf Emoji award, for contributions to society that ranked just below timeshare presentations and just above human trafficking in terms of the contributing to the public good. Amnesty International (the original “AI”) censured the telemarketing industry for referring to the TBE as an award. And while we agree with AI that perhaps “awarded” isn’t the right word, at least the designation was well-earned.
- The FBI has awarded them first place on its “10 Least Wanted List.” They’ve earned that position as Public Nuisance #1, thereby achieving something not seen since the Monroe Administration’s “Era of Good Feelings”: uniting all members of the entire political spectrum against a common enemy. Evidently they’re nationally recognized for being not in demand. Who knew they could gain such inverse universal popularity just by trying to sell things to people who didn’t want to be called in the first place, things they didn’t want to buy in the second place?
- AutoDialer International awarded them the coveted $1,000,000 kickback check for purchasing number-masking robo-dialing equipment at a record rate. They called to thank AutoDialer, but they never picked up.
If You’ve Been Turned Down for Volunteer Work, Give TA a Call
There are some benefits to cultivating a career in the barren field of telemarketing. For instance:
- When your customers can’t see you, things like showering, mouthwash and even clothing become optional
- A resume perfumed with telemarketing experience, really moves the needle when applying for a job as a carnival barker or a butterfly sitter.
- Free health care – Since you won’t be getting it, you won’t have to pay for it so it’s free.
- As alluded to earlier, after a Mexican lunch, the unlimited toilet paper benefit provides great peace of mind and (one supposes) great piece of ass.
In a further warning to stay away from this septic field, I present a primer on how TA prequalified patsies for the creepy and unrewarding field of telemarketing. The industry tries to determine if they are truly telemarketing material by employing the following proprietary recruiting checklist:
You might be a candidate for the exciting and rewarding field of telemarketing if you:
- Perform most of your sex acts alone
- Were picked last for dodgeball
- Are able to blink your eyes mostly in unison.
- Like to read Mein Kampf for inspiration
- Eat most of your meals in a van down by the river
- Equate rejection with love
- Have recently been released from prison
- Have recently been put in prison
- Can speak Braille to blind customers
- Enjoy interrupting people that want nothing to do with you
If you meet any of this criteria, a career in telemarketing may be your best last chance – otherwise (horror of horrors) you may wind up boxing products for shipment at an Amazon Fulfillment Center.
The Creed of the Teleserf
Often times a dejected teleserf would take great solace in the comforting words of telemarketing’s apologia printed just below the “All Employees Must Wash Ears” placard in the bathroom. It boldly states these inspirational words:
Remember, you’re not interrupting anyone, if you didn’t do the dialing.
Before I Hang Up
Telemarketing doesn’t occur in a vacuum, unless of course you’re selling vacuums – then it sucks. For the Telemarketing-Industrial Complex to thrive, it takes an interlocking mesh of unctuous opportunists, eager tools, a target rich environment of unprotected cell phone owners, complete disregard of the federal “Do Not Call List” and untraceable autodialers. This pestilential industry has grown from the occasional inconvenience into a stage 4 metastatic nuisance whose societal blight is globally unrelenting.
The CDC believes heavy exposure to robocalls promotes meta-goofy commentary by writers who create extravagant stories about telemarketing. So I’m not only a writer, but I’m a victim too. In any event, after I hang up here, I’m definitely going take the CDC’s advice and wash my ears out with soap.