Please buy this magazine, bills can wait

Brenna McNamara

Telemarketers are surely on every American’s list of pet peeves.

To the outsider, it seems that their sole purpose is to intentionally cause an upheaval during dinner, demand money for magazines (disregarding one’s bankruptcy or recent chemotherapy bills) and keep you on the phone as long as possible.

But, coming straight from a telemarketing veteran with three jobs under her belt, you do the biggest favor when you refuse to talk — more time to rest on the desk. If people blatantly mocked me by making up obnoxious stories that their spouses are unavailable because they are running down the street naked, I loved them for it.

It was the most boring, mind-numbing job imaginable, but I have respect for anyone who braves it. Imagine sitting in a cubicle for five straight hours (compete with a whopping 15 minute break) reading the exact same script. Not so bad you think? After two pages of doodles and all your nails bitten off, you might think differently. It takes a certain admirable personality to turn into a robot, allowing each passing workday to squeeze a few more drops of personality out of a once lively body.

Call centers have mastered the art of jumping through loopholes galore.

You’re on the National Do Not Call List? That means nothing. If you have done any sort of business with them in the past three years, you are subject to phone calls. When the voice on the other line skips to your preferred bank card without mentioning a check, they are trying to reach their nightly quota so they can keep their job or even get out of work a little earlier. Of course, they wouldn’t refuse the money if you pushed, but credit cards leave no room for your second-guess cancellations so they are trained to push for your digits.

Fear not, you aren’t the only victims; they aren’t straightforward with workers either. I was convinced to never label myself a “telemarketer,” because I am calling for renewals, not telesales. But to the person who gets a call during dinner, it makes no difference if it was Goodwill or a magazine because “it’s another telemarketer, honey.”

So if it seems I hate this job so much, why have I worked for three call centers? Because it’s a good job: immediate hiring (because people like myself scribble “I quit. I’m sorry,” on the back of tally sheets during a break and peace out), good pay, good commission (unless you get burned out like most who end up leaving for some time or vowed never to return to a cubicle again), and a relaxed environment (which most of the time I hated because all I wanted to do was bury my head and not talk to anyone).

If you can bear the stress of squeezing all your charisma out during the first 15-second impression while bosses loom over you and pushing for the sale while disregarding that the person’s house was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, more power to you. This job is for you. I’ll keep you from wanting to shoot yourself by making up some ridiculous story or taking on an obnoxious persona to break the monotonous “No thanks (click),” you’ve heard all night.

Brenna McNamara is a freshman pre-journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].