|The ones in the middle|
are phone spam too.
Looking over my phone records since the beginning of the year, I find that there are two phone numbers, both of which exceeded the number of calls that I received in the same time period on our home phone from my own husband. I actually like talking to him. When he calls me, it’s usually for a reason that I’m interested in. And he almost never calls and hangs up if I don’t answer (sometimes he calls my cell phone, because unlike telemarketers and fundraisers, he knows my cell phone number).
Although I tend to ignore phone numbers with weird names, call enough, even if you don’t leave messages and my curiosity and ire might actually get the better of me, as I entertain the fantasy that the person who keeps calling me every freaking day and doesn’t leave a message on the answering machine might actually listen if I tell them that in my opinion that their calls have crossed the line into misuse of the telephone.
Now I’m naming names. When the caller ID said “GORDEN SCHWEN,” the caller was a fundraiser for Emily’s List. When caller ID said “Aptela, Inc.” the caller was a fundraiser for the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities (though I do believe the caller used the older name, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation).
Now, let us talk phone etiquette.
Dear telemarketer,For that last thought, these telemarketers do a poor job of representing the organizations they claim to represent. Honestly, we should all simply make a practice when a caller’s first line is to interrogate you as to your identity to say, “who the hell wants to know?” I do sometimes say, “you should be introducing yourself first.”
Your job, as you call telephone numbers is to leave a clear and courteous message when you reach an answering machine. I do realize that you are undoubtably using robodialers and so calls that reach answering machines do not actually reach a fundraiser. This is not my fault, nor does it clear you of your obligation.
I would also note, in this day and age, that for those of us who are not telemarketers, yes, it is okay to occasionally call someone, get their answering machine, and simply hang up. If you make a frequent practice of this, you might want to rethink the way you treat your friends.
Instead of asking for your desired caller, it is incumbent on the person who has made the call to introduce themselves. Your first line isn’t “is this Mr. Dumas,” but “this is [your name] calling from [the organization you purport to represent].”
In a nine-day period, we received seven calls from “Gordon Schwen.” This is short for Gordon And Schwenkmeyer, a telemarketing firm. According to OpenSecrets.org, in the 2016 election cycle, Emily’s List has paid $204,204 for fundraising. It would be lovely to think that the person calling you is a volunteer dedicated to furthering the mission of Emily’s List, but no, she’s a paid fundraiser. Their January campaign came up as “List E,” and they called twice.
Likewise, it would have been nice if the woman who said she was from the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation had been Jewish. Reconstructionist Judaism is fairly liberal in synagogue membership, in that non-Jewish partners of Jewish members are accorded full membership. Let’s be honest, she wasn’t in that category. And their phone number, oddly enough, is one that according to a Google search, has been used for scams. “Aptela, Inc.” called ten times before I told them to leave me alone. I can’t tell you who does the fundraising for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, but man can they nudge.
Both are fine organizations, but both have trouble with how they do their telemarketing. It may be efficient, but it’s also wrong. I call upon both organizations to review their fundraising practices. I am sure that they are not alone in what they are doing, and the telemarketing firms they have hired undoubtably do more of the same for other clients. That does not make it right.
Seventeen phone calls from two telemarketers during the month of February 2016 shows that there’s a real problem with how these charities are doing their business. I am reaching out to both of these organizations for their reactions. But maybe they ought to respond by e-mail, because I just don’t think they can be trusted with a telephone.
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