Thursday, 20 September 2012

How the hell did you get my number?

Image courtesy of www.thevine.com.au
  
I recently found some great tips on Kate’s blog about how to turn the tables on pesky telemarketers.

And I have to admit that I have been keen to try them out because telemarketers have been really annoying me of late, particularly those from Charities.

As a rule I never answer a call on my mobile from an unknown number because I assume if someone wants to speak to me they will leave a message.

Last Friday I received a few calls from an unknown number but no message was left.

When the phone rang for the fourth time, I decided to answer the call. I just knew that it was someone trying to sell something.

“Hello”, I said in a cheery, you have no idea what’s coming next, kind of voice.

“Hi, how are you, it’s Paula calling from Readers Digest.”

Silent groan. How many times have I been that close to winning that $500,000 sweepstakes, Paula? Phone calls, emails, snail mail.

“Hi Paula, I am so grateful you rang to find out how I am because these days no-one seems to care. And as it happens I really need someone to talk to because I have all these problems; my arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes are sore and to top it off my dog just died."

Dead silence.

She finally asked, “Is that Lilly or have I got the wrong number?”

“Yes, it’s Lilly but I am actually kind of busy at the moment so if you could give me your home number I will ring you back later tonight.”

“No, no”, said Paula, “I am actually at work not home so how about I ring you back tomorrow morning.”

“Oh", I said in my most empathetic tone, "so you don't want anyone bothering you at home Paula, I totally understand. Well now you know exactly how I feel. Please can you delete my details from your data base because I am not interested in winning your sweepstakes and I certainly don't want to be contacted again.”

“Lilly, hang on a minute", she said a bit more forcefully. “I just wanted to know if it was you who submitted a story to us for publication.”

Oh sheesh....

"A story?" I mumbled.

“Yes, about a dog", she said.

“Mmmm, come to think of it I may have done that online, on a whim, late one night”….(a failing memory is a terrible thing especially when I just told her the dog had died).

“Well, she said, “we thought your story was really sweet and we would like to publish it in December.”

Oh. My. Goodness.

“I am so sorry Paula, I….would love you to publish it. When I heard you say Reader’s Digest I just thought that you were trying to sell me something. I feel kind of foolish." 

“That’s ok, I understand” she laughed. "You have to remember that there are some good parts of Readers Digest too (and does that confirm that there are indeed some bad parts). I will put the contract in the mail.”

So, my only advice to you is if you pick up the phone, wait to find out exactly what the caller wants before trying to derail them with any terrorist strategies. It might save you some embarrassment.
At least we now know that Reader’s Digest is willing to publish the work of complete nutters. Just ask Paula and she will undoubtedly confirm it.
I also wanted to tell you all about an international flash fiction competition that everyone should enter.

For the International Museum of Words competition you only have to write a story with a maximum of 100 words. The prize is $20,000 and a trip to New York. The three runners up win $1,000. Now that is a good return on a 100 word effort wouldn’t you say?
The competition closes on 23 November 2012 and you can submit 2 stories per entrant. The winner will be announced in early 2013 - I am sure there will be a lot of entries to read. You can find out more and enter here.

44 comments:

  1. Funny!

    Your story reminded me of the time I got a call from someone who asked for me, but completely mangled my name. I said she wasn't here...turns out it was the HR department of a company wanting to offer me a job!

    ("She" happened to be in the other room and hurried to the phone. That'll teach me to lie.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad that 'she' finally took the call, lol.

      Delete
  2. Yayyy! You will be published and I'll get to see it! You will have to tell us when we can read it! I cannot believe you almost told her off, before she clarified who she was- you're too funny! I'm off to check out your link- I do not know of any memes going around right now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure if they have different Readers Digests in each country but it will be in the December edition, just a wee story. Anyway, the link did not work, I fixed it now but also emailed it to you. This is a perfect comp for you my friend given your gift with the written word!

      Delete
  3. Great story ... who knows how many HGTV homes I might have won had I but answered the damn phone!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lilly that's fantastic about Reader's Digest, you really have to pick up your phone, you never know who it might be then!

    That contest sounds interesting, but then you are a great writer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think all bloggers are great writers, we do it for years hey? And yes go in the contest Christine and maybe your daughter should too. !00 words are not many and writing a start, middle and end is some challenge. But a fun one.

      Delete
  5. Yae!!! Congratulations, Lilly! I love it that you did a phone type post this morning. Totally different outcome from mine though. LOL!!! So will you post that story here someday?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know isn't it funny that we had posts about unwanted calls today, lol. Great minds think alike or maybe telemarketers the world over are giving us all grief.

      Delete
  6. Lilly your flash fiction link doesn't seem to work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fixed it hoepfully Christine, otherwise it is this address, http://www.museodelapalabra.com/en/short-tales-contest/3-edition/participation-form

      Delete
  7. Great work, Lilly!! Think of all the good things you miss out on when you don't answer the phone. Ah well,all's well that ends well.

    Keep writing for fun as well as work. It's a great hobby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marg, I appreciate you stopping by. And yes it is fun and I will try and keep doing it. It is a great hobby.

      Delete
  8. Funny - that's nice that they liked your story! Your writing is good here - it's nice to get it acknowledge elsewhere too:)

    I just hang up on telemarketers. They are as bad as paparazzi!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Funny - that's nice that they liked your story! Your writing is good here - it's nice to get it acknowledge elsewhere too:)

    I just hang up on telemarketers. They are as bad as paparazzi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jo Dee, great to see you back online again. I hang up too but they are persistent and even if you put yourself on the DO NOT CALL REGISTER, Charities are exempt and I think they can be the worst ones, here anyway.

      Delete
  10. How hilarious is that and I loved Kate's list on her blog. I can just imagine you trying to have fun with it but it didn't go exactly to plan. At least it all ended well. Good on you. Why don't you start a Flash Fiction meme yourself. What fun it would be 100 words or less on a particular topic. It would be good for our brains.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the list is funny but it is probably mean to try those things out on telemarketers who are only trying to do a job to earn a wage BUT they really get you so mad.....I will think about the meme, maybe...

      Delete
  11. Funny story. I believe the charities sell you name to other charities. This telemarketing of charities is big mistake IMHO.
    Congrats on the Readers Digest. Big BUCKS for that story? The last thing the telemarketer wants you to do is waste their time with chit chat.
    Memes - Mama Kat's writer workshop
    http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/2012/09/cover-me-up/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bill. yes the Charities are getting terrible and I have seen where they really rip off the people they are trying to help. they can be so persistent and there are lots of people who cannot be assertive and cave in to the pressure to give just so they can get rid of them. No, Reader's Digest does not pay big bucks but some bucks is pretty good to me and based on word count they probably pay more than magazines do. So I am going into everything I find now because its fun and I like it. Thanks for the writer workship link, perhaps I will join that one if its a 100 word type thing. I need some practice plus they are short and you can read more blogs who join in that way.

      Delete
  12. I laughed so hard on this post. I can relate to your experience. I'm one of those victims who gives in just to be left alone. I let hubby answer those pesky phone calls. Having "caller's ID" doesn't always keep my husband from answering the phones, but it helps tons.

    Congrats on having your work published in the Reader's Digest. Wish you all the best on the Flash Fiction contest.

    Tashabud

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks my friend, glad it make you giggle. I hope you are entering the competition too!

      Delete
  13. Does Readers Digest pay???

    I dream of making a living as a writer but then vampires are so passe, wizards forgotten and I'm no good with this BDSM fad :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, of course Reader's Digest pays. They are also doing a competition at the moment (Australia) for 100 word story with the prize $100. Just google Readers Digest Australia and join in. also, did you hear about Matt Shervington's (ex runner)wife - she wrote her first book and Steven Speilberg picked it up for a TV series. Think its in the vampire or maybe wizard theme. So there you go, things are possible you just have to start somewhere.

      Delete
  14. Lilly, Congratulations on the news from the Readers Digest ! Look forward to reading that !

    We are currently being plagued here with telemarketeer type calls, offering us personal loans. It got to a point where out of sheer desperation, I finally told them that no, I didnt want a loan, but I was ready to give them one if they wanted. The man at the other end was so stunned, he said Thank you and hung up. They havent called me since. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See it is a problem the world over. Although a lot of our telemarketers are based in Indian Call Centres as it happens. He he that was a good response and certainly stopped them from ringing again.

      Delete
  15. CON-GRA-TU-LA-TIONS! I'm so glad you didn't completely cuss her out...but Lily, I've gotten always gotten publishing rejections (and a few acceptances) by postal mail. I have never gotten a call. Someting new to watch out for. I predict a book soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you C, your comment is much appreciated. I am loving your profile photo too. If my writing could be 10% as good as yours I would be thrilled. I would also like to do one of your classes one day. I have a lot to learn. Yes, I would like a book too but so does every second person. It's on my bucket list anyway, lol.

      Delete
  16. Congratulations Lilly. Wow! Thats a great news indeed.
    I was amused by your conversation with Paula.(i couldn't help feeling -serves the RD people right).
    If she can influence( and is willing too)to change the RD's philosophy of haunting people about winning some sweepstakes, it should improve their goodwill quotient.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Kirti but I doubt they will change. It is a little win is all but a start maybe. I do have problems with them because I believe they use similar psychological tricks on people as poker machines companies do. All the promise and hope they offer people if only they will spend a bit more. Its ok for those who know better but there are plenty of vulnerable people who become victims to it all.

      Delete
  17. Well that is REALKLY exciting, Lilly! CONGRATULATIONS! I will have to get the December Issue of Readers Digest!!!

    I LOVED your dialogue with her when you thought she was trying to sell you something. I will have to remember that for future reference...lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL,its only a small piece but got in there anyway. That is a big step for me because other than blogging I have never offered anything to anyone before. Yes you match have a look at Kate's blog to get some tips. xx

      Delete
  18. Well done in getting your writing out there. You have a minefield of good work on this blog alone. Go back and read some of it some time to realize you have what it takes. Poor Paula is all I can say trying to give you the good news. You put her through the hoops...oh wait, that is what she is meant to do to you. Maybe these tips really do work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes as cruel as it is to get your own back they do work Anton..no turning the other cheek it doesn't stop these driven telemarketers.

      Delete
  19. Hello,

    I am visting your blog through Blog Hop Everyday. You have a great blog and I loved your content as a first time visitor. I am now following your blog, please check out my blogs too and return the love: Empowered Mommy and Pregnancy Forum

    Thanks for your time. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I hate those sales calls. One plonker thanked me for answering the phone. 'It's okay' I said, 'it was ringing anyway'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Mike, how I love that term plonker, must make an effort to call someone that today. Yeah, they should be grateful we pick up the phone....

      Delete
  21. Congratulations Lilly that is very awesome - you made me giggle at poor Paula.
    I think handing the phone to the kids is a great idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Trish and glad you had a giggle!

      Delete
  22. I lost a lot in life..and not material things I mean in the way of family, relationships and trust.. Last year I met a really nice man and due to faults of my own he left me in early January..After two months of crying and feeling helpless as I so wanted that second chance with him, I started searching the net to see if there was any help at all that would change my situation around. I then came across Esango Priest call it fate or destiny that brought me here.. In all honesty I was very skeptical but also desperate at the same time, anything was worth a try. I contacted Esango Priest who spoke to me at length about my situation and I decided to go ahead with the love spell. Then 4 days into it, I saw results that I never expected, my man came back and things began to progress, AMAZING.. I don't know what i would have done without Esango Priest.This is his direct email address esangopriest@gmail.com All I can say is "THANK YOU Esango Priest YOU ARE THE BEST"...............Helen

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments.