When I was unemployed, I found out that Dani and I live in quite a popular place. Some days the phone rang off the hook. It was amazing. Especially when you consider that every single one of those calls was from a telemarketer.
Now, I realize that we all need to find a way to make a buck, but I just happen to think that folks who go into telemarketing should consider something a bit more honest, like dealing crack to grade schoolers or something. There’s nothing worse than being called at 8pm by some soul-less illiterate who pretends to be my friend while TOTALLY thrashing my name (“No, Mrs. Rod Zahoosta does NOT live here, asshole!”). And if you REALLY want to illicit my ire, just call me “Ma’am.” I’ll reach out, reach out and @#$!ing kill you.
So they have this TeleZapper thing “As Seen on TV”. It’s, like, $40 and is supposed to be some majorly complex thing that magically hacks the telemarketer’s computer and deletes your information. But, good ol’ Wired magazine debunks that baby and explains how to build your own TeleZapper. And, lest you think the link contains a parts list for Radio Shack, it’s just this simple: Get a copy of the three tone beep you hear before phone company “no longer in service” messages and put it on your answering machine. The telemarketer computers listen for this tone. If they hear it, they assume that line is dead. Will it annoy and surprise your friends? Yeah, probably. And you may get some folks who don’t even leave a message. But, hey, that’s a small price to pay for freedom from telemarketing.
Why is this such an odious thing to me? When I pick up a newspaper or watch TV or listen to the radio, there are ads bombarding me constantly. However, those ads are what keep newspapers from costing $5.00 a day, magazines from costing $10.00 and TV and Radio from being a paid service. Companies advertising through these outlets pay for my ability to use them, so the least I can do is tolerate their messages. That’s the way the advertising model is supposed to work.
Telemarketers, however, cost me money. They take me away from my family and use up the telephone line that I pay for. If I got telephone service for free or for a significant reduction, the telemarketer calls wouldn’t bother me. Hell, I may even listen to their pitch and actually comply. But, since they’re essentially doing this for free (I know they have to pay their sweatshop workers something like half a penny a call, but that money just goes to annoy me, so screw ‘em) and I get absolutely NO benefit from it, I’d like to see them all burn in a fiery pit where every bite of food they place in their mouth is violently ripped from their grasp by some dim demon reciting entries from the congressional record in a high-pitched voice through a megaphone right into their ear. See, Dante skipped some parts.
So, go grab a copy of that tone (for your convenience, I have placed a copy of it right here. Right click on the link and select “Save Target As…” to save it to your computer) and record it to the beginning of your answering machine message and you’re set. Crush the telemarketing cabal! At least until they figure out a way to defeat this.