Warming up to cold calling

Ryan Szymczak

The phone rings again.

Guess who?

Oh, it’s our good friend Jim Miller calling from sandy, sunny Bangladesh.

He’s got incredible news.

He can consolidate your federal student loans. Or, he’s got a platinum Visa with a sick 23.9 percent APR accompanied accordingly with a measly $69 first-time fee — a deal so hot you can’t touch it.

First, he’ll ask you how you’re doing: “How are you doing today, Mr. Ryan?” They dig the first-name approach. Their supervisors tell them this is an effective technique.

Before you can even interject with a response, he’s blazing through his wordy script faster than that guy from those ’90s Micro Machines commercials or Mr. Testaverde, the teacher who made Jessie’s pen smoke, on “Saved by the Bell.” Don’t lie. You remember.

Anyway, this particular telemarketer is the fifth Jim Miller who’s called you today, and you decide, “The hell with it.” You’ve got a moment — let’s give Jim a chance.

“Um … Jim, buddy,” you interject.

“One moment, sir, if you could just let me finish,” he races on and his words start to blend together into one indiscernible, eardrum-numbing blur. You hold the phone away and wait for a break in the verbal assault as you flick mindlessly through TV.

He stops for a millisecond. A false alarm. Just catching his breath, and he’s off again.

Finally, five minutes later, you coincidentally pick up the phone to find that Jim has reached his finish line: “Do you agree to these terms, Mr. Ryan?”

“One sec, Jim. I was just wonderin’ — how is it over there in Bangladesh?”

“It is very nice, sir. Very nice, very warm.”

“Oh, cool. What time is it over there?”

“It is 11 p.m.”

“What do you do for fun, Jim?”

“Let us stick to business, sir.”

What?! Sir? Business? Just when you thought you and Jim were making a breakthrough in your relationship, becoming buds, he pulls the ‘business’ card. Jim grows increasingly agitated as you continue to interrupt him from what he was trying to do. Agitated about being interrupted? Go figure.

“What do you think of George Bush and the war in Iraq?”

“George Boosh very good, we like George Boosh,” he replies, “but as I was sayin’ Mr. Ryan…”

You rudely interrupt: “Got a girlfriend?”

His attempt at an English accent falls flat now.

“Let me finish,” he demands, stressing his T’s. “I do not have time for this.”

“You don’t? Why not?”

“I am at work and very busy. Now! Do you agree to these terms?”

“Um, I don’t know. I forgot what this was about. Hey, Jim, do you have a MySpace page?”

He hangs up.

You smile.

Mission accomplished.

Ryan Szymczak is a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. He and Jim Miller are no longer on speaking terms. Contact Szymczak at [email protected].