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The Telemarketers are Absolutely Right

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  • The Telemarketers are Absolutely Right

    As long as political or charity telemarketers are exempted from the Do Not Call registry, they should be allowed to call. But we should be allowed to call them too . This is just poetic justice.

    Now all we need is a DNC registry in Canada . TElemarketer woke me up this morning.. on a Sunday! Is nothign sacred?

    So what's their hang-up?

    I've been writing columns for a long time now, two or three centuries at least. I've written on topics that touched a nerve among you readers -- the moronic-TV-commercials nerve, the loud-cell-phone-talkers nerve, and of course the low-flow-toilet nerve. I even touched -- and I regret this deeply -- the Barry Manilow nerve.

    But I've never touched a nerve like the one I touched when I wrote about telemarketers. To review: In August, I wrote a column about the National Do Not Call Registry, which allows you to go to an Internet site (www.donotcall.gov) and register your phone number. The plan is that most telemarketers would then be prohibited from calling you.

    The Do Not Call Registry is wildly popular with the human public. More than 50 million households have signed up. This displeases the telemarketing industry, which believes it has a constitutional right to call people who do not want to be called. Several telemarketing groups have filed lawsuits to block the registry.

    So in my August column, I printed the toll-free telephone number of one of these groups, the American Teleservices Association. My thinking was: Hey, if the ATA feels its members have a constitutional right to call you, then surely the ATA feels that you have an equally constitutional right to call the ATA.

    Well.

    It turned out that a lot of you were eager to call up the telemarketing industry. Thousands and thousands of you called the ATA. I found out about this when I saw an article in a direct-marketing newspaper, the DM News, which quoted the executive director of the ATA, Tim Searcy. Here's an excerpt from the article:

    ''The ATA received no warning about the article from Barry or anyone connected with him,'' Searcy said. ``. . . the Barry column has had harmful consequences for the ATA. An ATA staffer has spent about five hours a day for the past six days monitoring the voice mail and clearing out messages.''

    That's correct: The ATA received NO WARNING that it was going to get unwanted calls! Not only that, but these unwanted calls were an INCONVENIENCE for the ATA, and WASTED THE ATA'S TIME!

    I just hope nobody interrupted the ATA's dinner.

    Anyway, you can imagine how I felt. I would have called the ATA myself to express my feelings, but the ATA finally had to disconnect its phone number.

    Really.

    I myself received approximately seven billion phone calls, letters and e-mails on this topic. About 99 percent came from consumers who are wildly enthusiastic about the idea of calling telemarketers. Many of these consumers wanted me to publish more telemarketers' numbers, including residential numbers. As one e-mailer put it: ``I think we should call them at home and try to sell them the idea of not calling people at home.''

    The other 1 percent of the response came from people in the telemarketing industry, who pointed out that I am evil vermin scum, and -- even worse -- a member of the news media. Their main arguments are that (a) telemarketers are hardworking people, and (b) if they're not allowed to call people who don't want to be called, telemarketing jobs could be lost, and the U.S. economy would suffer. Tim Searcy of the ATA was quoted in The Los Angeles Times as saying that the impact of the Do Not Call Registry would be (I did not make this quote up) ''like an asteroid hitting the earth.'' Yes. An asteroid!

    As I write these words, lawyers and politicians and lobbyists and judges are swarming all over the telemarketing issue, so I don't know what the legal status of the Do Not Call registry will be when you read this column. But it appears that the telemarketers plan to continue their efforts to save the planet by fighting for the right to call people who do not want to be called.

    I realize that this makes many of you angry. I realize that many of you would like to, once again, let the telemarketers know how you feel. And I am, frankly, tempted to reveal to you here that the American Teleservices Association (www.ataconnect.org/) seems to have a phone line working (at least for now) at 317-816-9336.

    But would it be right to reveal this? I mean, yes, you could call the ATA again. But the ATA surely doesn't WANT you to call again. It's inconvenient! And to insist on calling somebody who doesnt want to be called, even if you have the legal right to call, well, that's just plain rude.

    So I am taking the high road.
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

  • #2
    Is your real name Dave, Mike?
    "When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my country. I make up for lost time when I am at home."

    Winston Churchill

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    • #3
      No. That's an article. I don't have the link though.
      "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

      – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

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      • #4
        And now some humor.

        U.N. Establishes 'Do-Not-Bomb' List
        by Gene Callahan and Bob Murphy

        October 10, 2003, New York City - Responding to growing public resentment over aggressive military campaigns, the United Nations today announced the release of a global "do-not-bomb list." A new UN resolution makes it a crime to drop bombs on the territory of any government or group that has put its name on the do-not-bomb registry.

        "The International Do-Not-Bomb Registry is fully up and running," said Timothy Yuslis, chairman of the United Nations Aerial Warfare Commission. He called the move a "major victory for humans."

        Meanwhile, military groups, soon to face fines of up to $11,000 per kiloton for violating the rules, vowed to heed the wishes of potential bombees while considering legal options that might overturn the system.

        Many humans applauded the new list. As Fazool Yansouri, a strong supporter of the measure, put it: "There's really nothing more annoying than getting home from a hard day at work, sitting down to eat with your family, and then all of a sudden your meal is interrupted by a cluster bomb crashing into the kitchen, sending body parts flying hither and thither."

        However, the UN list is not without its detractors. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, said he thinks an international do-not-bomb list run by the UN is a "big, fat waste of time." Putin told reporters: "True, getting bombed is an inconvenience. But do we ask Big Brother to solve every inconvenience in our lives?"

        "Dinner time!" an exasperated Putin declared. "I'm always hearing about people being unhappy about being interrupted at dinner time. If those Chechens don't want to be interrupted at dinner time, they should eat in a bomb shelter."

        Various other bombers argued that the UN has no business meddling in their affairs and that denying them the right to strike at whom they want, when they want, is just a darned nuisance.

        "This is an unfair violation of the rights of belligerent nations to freely conduct their own foreign policy," said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "The UN charter doesn't give it authority to regulate this type of activity. Israel will not be deterred from protecting its citizens and will strike its enemies in every place and in every way it damned well pleases."

        US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was equally unhappy. "This measure is a cheap appeal to the emotions," he complained. "And it won't stop bombing. It only applies to those militaries that initiate aggression. People don't read between the fine lines, but if you actually look at this thing, you'll see that even countries on the so-called do-not-bomb list aren't exempt from governments acting to protect their nation against terrorist attacks, which includes future terrorist attacks that the bombing government is vaguely suspicious just might be coming one day."

        Dr. Theodore Gitt, a game theorist at the RAND Corporation, echoed Rumsfeld's concerns. "The measure is a paper tiger, devoid of any real teeth. In any event, this popular outrage is silly," Gitt said. "If you're sooo bothered by people bombing your country, all you have to do is surrender to them."

        Gitt continued: "These countries, they claim they don't want to be bothered by bombers. However, it just isn't borne out by the statistics. If it were true, they would ignore the bombing, but I've found that over 98% of all countries alter their foreign policy in response to a serious bombing campaign."

        In addition to the sovereignty issues, the bombing industry has said the do-not-bomb list could prove economically devastating to an industry that generates some $211 billion in sales for companies making everything from bombsights to air-raid shelters. The industry contends the new rules could result in the loss of millions of bombing-related jobs.

        Echoing the above analysis, Irving Phutstompir, a marketing consultant, stated: "We can gripe about the victims of bombing all day long," he said. "But when we come down to it, the reason people keep bombing is that bombing pays."

        Dr. James Puffendingle, a sociology professor at Harvard, indicated that the widespread distrust and hatred of bombers was quite fascinating in its own right: "There's this image people have of the bomber with ulterior motives: 'Oh, he says he doesn't want my sovereignty, that his bombing will involve no lasting obligation on my part, but I don't believe him for a second.' But as justified as perhaps many of these negative stereotypes are, I think we need to remember that there are real human beings on the other end of that bombsight, releasing those bombs. And those people need to earn a living too."

        While potential bombees are waiting out the uncertainty of the battle over the legal status of the UN list, the Aerial Warfare Commission recommends that if you are on the receiving end of an unwanted bombing, you should send complaints to the bombing government in question via their web site, e-mail, or regular post. The Commission also suggested the following tips for dealing with bombers:

        When on the receiving end of a bombing run, interrupt the bombers with a burst of anti-aircraft fire. Then, by radio, inform them "we will be right back," but instead desert the area.
        When you are about to receive a computer-driven bombing raid, try to determine if the computers in question are running WindowsTM. If so, send them e-mail with the SoBig.F virus, and watch those bombs drop on some other country instead!
        Or, simply inform the bombers, "No, thanks, we're not interested. Don't ever come to bomb us again, and take us off of your strategic targets list."
        "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

        – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

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