Wednesday, December 09, 2015

One More Pet Peeve ... Maybe the Worst One

In yesterday's post, I talked about three of my pet peeves: telemarketers, rudeness, and single-issue zealots. In an exchange of comments on Facebook, Gonzo Dave suggested robocalls as a pet peeve; when I replied that robocalls deserve an entire post for their own, Dave challenged me to write it, and so ...

For those of you who might possibly be unaware of what they are, robocalls are recorded messages that are automatically dialed from a central location ... think of them as verbal spam. From the point of view of the telemarketer, they're a no-brainer: a low-cost way to pump out high-volume advertising at minimum cost. From the point of view of the political hack, they're wonderful - you record a single message and it can go out to millions of people at once, without the need to spend precious campaign dollars (we all know what short supply they're in) on rooms full of drones to dial numbers and actually interact with Real People.

I loathe telemarketers, but I absolutely despise robocalls. It's gotten to the point at which we won't answer any call that caller ID says is "blocked," "not available," or "out of area." Likewise, we won't pick up a number or name that we don't recognize, and any 800 or 888 number is an automatic reject.

It's also possible for robocallers and telemarketers to spoof your phone ... to make it look as if their call is coming from someone you know, or from an innocuous person or number. I've learned that if I pick up the phone and say "hello," and there is not an immediate reply, I automatically hang up - nine times out of ten it's a robocall, and that little delay is the recording getting ready to play. If you call me and can't identify yourself right away because you have a mouthful of something and I hang up on you, it's nothing personal. Call back after you swallow.

For politicians, robocalls are the ultimate win-win. They don't have to risk being asked embarrassing questions by Real People. They they don't have to worry about anyone noticing that they have no ideas. All they have to do is pump up the jam. All transmit, no receive*. What's not to like?

Robocalls. If they'd been around when Dante was writing about the Inferno, there'd have been another circle of Hell.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Donald Trump doesn't need robocalls, because he's constantly in the transmit mode, anyhow.


Gonzo Dave said...

That was too easy. I'll have to think of a harder challenge next time. :-)

Linda Kay said...

Pretty annoying.

Mike said...

Sometimes it's fun to try and keep them on the line and see how long it takes them to figure out you're screwing with them. Especially the calls from India. "Sir, are you joking with me?"