Friday, March 1, 2013

Sexism and Telemarketing: finally, something that works...

Here's a hypothetical question for you all. If a telemarketer hangs up on me because I don't have a husband, should I be insulted that he doesn't see me as a valid potential annoyee, or should I just be glad I got rid of him with so little fuss?

Okay, so it's not really that hypothetical, but I'm serious.  I just got a call from a telemarketer who, in a very thick accent I might add, told me he was from some company I'd never even heard of and could he please speak to my husband about mortgages.

Now I'm a renter so I don't have a mortgage, but I didn't even get a chance to tell him that because as soon as I said "Oh, I'm single" he just thanked me for my time and hung up! Sure he was polite, but polite sexism really isn't better than any other sort.

It was as if I couldn't possible talk business because I'm a woman. Must be the ovaries, you obviously can't discuss mortgages if you've got ovaries.

But why on earth should it matter if I'm a woman?  Were they specifically looking for male mortgage holders?  Was it some sort of questionnaire and the'd already met their quota for women?  Was he suffering from Caligynephobia and my obvious extraordinary femininity overwhelmed him?  Well, he's only human.

But then I started to think about it a bit more. Why on earth was I getting upset about it? I may have just discovered the quickest and easiest way to get one of those annoying people off the phone without having to tell them half a dozen times that I don't want to change long distance providers and if they don't stop hassling me I'll ... well, probably do nothing if I'm completely honest.  I never have found an effective way to deal with these pests.  At least until now!

So from now I whenever a telemarketer calls, I'm just going to reply to their first question with "Sorry, I'm single" and hang up. I'll let you all know how it goes.

64 comments:

  1. It's not just telemarketers. We had a "friend" who decided to quit her job and sells vacuums door to door (Brilliant!) and she did a demonstration for us. Afterwards, she asked if we knew any married couples that she could be referred to, because she could ONLY visit married couples. No singles. She said apparently single people don't buy things. Tell me, how do you survive not being able to buy things? Does that make eating and clothing yourself difficult?

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    1. You mean all these years I've been vacuuming and I didn't need to? Well my face is red!

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    1. I suppose I should just be glad he was polite about it rather than yelling down the phone "Get back in the kitchen, woman!"

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  3. WTF? I would be way more annoyed than relieved. What does being single have to do with NOT needing a mortgage? The fastest growing segment of home buyers are young singles. Frankly (as I am a Realtor) I am shocked the idiot didn't try to get you to try to take out a mortgage to buy a house that you don't need or want. Most of them would have told you WHY you need their product even given the fact you don't.

    Not long ago I wanted all new carpet for our house. I salesman from a local carpet store came over with samples and to measure. I picked out some and he wouldn't order it without my husband talking to him. HUH??? My money is good...why should he care if my husband has an opinion.

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    1. I wonder if it could be a store policy. I mean if one spouse purchases something big like carpeting that can't be easily returned, it might make sense to make sure both parties are in agreement. I don't know if it would be considered the same but when I adopted our dog from the Humane Society they wouldn't let me take her until the spoke with my husband first.

      Not that it would stop me mind you, because I make all the major decorating choices in my house. My husband is allowed to comment on color and that's about it.

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    2. Really? That's seems odd! Did it have something to do with who legally owned the place? I can see the logic there, it might be a contract thing. But if not it seems like a stupid thing to do. Why on earth would you alienate a paying customer!

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  4. You should have told him you don't have a husband but your wife makes all of the mortgage decisions. That would have really got his head spinning. I love to mess with telemarketers.

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    1. LOL! I'll have to remember that one next time someone asks to talk to my husband!

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  5. I'm a renter, too. Yay renters. Anyhoo...my furnace wasn't working. I tinkered and tinkered with it. Googled repair suggestions, etc. Couldn't get it to work so I finally called my landlord and got his Wife on the phone. She said, "Have your husband take a look at it and have him call me." WHAT??? My Husband?? Yes, I have a husband but I'M the handy one in the family. If I can't fix it there's NO WAY he can! This #%€£} landlord and his wife wouldn't discuss it with me. My husband had to call them back to get them to send a repair person. What the heck?? What century is this? I usually just fake a heavy accent with telemarketers and pretend I can't understand them. Click. They're gone.

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    1. Oh dear! I wouldn't have that problem, my landlady is a woman (obviously) and she's the one that fixes all the things around my place. However I could do without her cleaning out my gutters herself. There's nothing more terrifying than holding the ladder for a five foot woman who insists on leaning way over the edge of a second story balcony so she can scoop leaves by hand.

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  6. Hell, is it that easy? from now on I'm just going to hand the phone over to my wife.

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    1. Woman, an instant telemarketer repellant! Patent pending.

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  7. Well that won't work, sometimes you're supposed to be married. Call the do not call list, or don't they have one there?

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    1. They do, but it's not very effective. Most people just don't use their landlines anymore for anything but their internet access.

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  8. From where was this man calling? 1895?

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  9. I love Just Keepin It Real, Folks!' answer! I'm on the do not call list & it doesn't seem to make a difference--we still get lots of calls.

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    1. Me too. Most of the time I just don't answer if I don't recognise the number and if the message left is from someone I want to talk to I call back. Seems easier.

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  10. I get loads of calls from random companies, but never has anyone asked to speak to my husband, I didn't think things like that happened any more (they usually ask me if one of my parents is in, to which I say no, even though I live on my own and I'm just a squeaky voiced 28 year old! This has also happened to me recently when I've opened the door to door-to-door salesmen!)

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    1. LOL! It's been a long time since someone's asked me that, and I doubt if they ever will again. Although on one particularly bad flu day I did get asked if my wife was at home.

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  11. If he had asked for my wife & I said, "No, I'm single," and he said, "OK, thanks, adios," I would have said, "THANK YOU!!!" Take care, Slu

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    1. I should definitely see the silver lining in this one, hey? You're probably right. Bye bye, telemarketers!

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  12. I hate it when stuff like that happens and I can't get in (or think of) a quick comeback in time.
    I say have some fun with them. Give a response like Keepin' it real suggested. Or put on a thick accent and ask him some questions of your own.

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    1. I always think of something funny about three hours later. My comedic timing doesn't seem to work over the phone, unfortunately.

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  13. maybe single people don't buy houses? That's really a stupid call there and I'd prolly be just as annoyed as you. Another thing that bugs me... Why is it when the Mormons come over to sell their religion they can't speak to just the lady of the house, the man has to be there as well .... Never understood that either!

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    1. Well that's probably true to a certain extent, at least here. Most single people can't afford to buy houses, not because they can't afford the payments but because most banks want something like a 15-20% deposit. Getting that sort of money together on one income is practically impossible.

      As for the Mormon thing, I have no idea. I do know that they were visiting my neighbour quite a lot and it was the women who came in to talk to her, leaving the men in the car.

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  14. As an ex-telemarketer (albeit a very brief stint) the way to go is tell them it's a business line. They never want business lines.

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  15. Oh good grief, I thought things like that went out with my childhood!

    Still, a good telemarketing call can brighten up a dull evening...especially when I pretend to think I know them and start talking about imaginary childhood friends and relatives. =D

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    1. I had a friend who used to start in with them like HE was the telemarketer, trying to sell them roofing insulation. It always confused the hell out of them.

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  16. I get stuff like that randomly too. No husband no kids and I'm out of the pool of potential sales. I'm not annoyed anymore about it cause well I don't have those things and I don't have to keep talking. The one that irks me now is the age stuff. Either I'm too old to talk to some folks are too young to talk to others.

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    1. LOL! Yep, that inbetween age group. Not young and cool, but not old enought to be part of the huge baby-boom generation.

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  17. Oh my goodness it's hard to believe that things like this happen in our day and age!!! But way to look at the positive....I hope you can get rid of those annoying phone calls from now on!! :)

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    1. I was genuinely surprised, I didn't think it happened either. But I guess it goes to show you. Mortgages, the last refuge for the sexist!

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  18. Ha ha ha ha,,, yes, do let us know how this works out for you. Maybe I can use this same method of dealing with unwanted telemarketers too!

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    1. Wouldn't it be hilairous if suddenly the standard response to all telemarketers was "Sorry, I'm single"?

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  19. Not to be the Pammy Paranoid here, but I don't think you should tell strange men on phones that you live alone. Tell them that you're late for target practice and can't talk.

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    1. Ack, there's something I hadn't thought of! Next time maybe I'll throw in a comment about the four large dobermans I have and the antique sword collection!

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  20. Dontcha know that having ovaries automatically disqualifies you from talking about such things as mortgages, cars, football or any type of sports. Ovaries render women unable to to deal with...well anything. We've come along way since the 1930's. (note the sarcasm) :)

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    1. Well gosh, I'm so glad we have all those big, strong men to take care of all those things for us! Personally, I'm only too happy to delegate those tasks to men. I like delegating, it's like being bossy only it sounds more official!

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  21. If they were specifically looking for males and mortgages he should have said so.

    I had a guy ring up, didn't tell me from where, asked to speak to the householder. I asked him what he wanted and he said he wanted to speak to the householder and asked me who I was. When I asked again who he was and what he wanted he got angry and said he wanted to speak to the householder. I told him since I'm the one who answered the phone then clearly I was the one in the house. He got pissed and hung up. Still don't know who he was, where he was from or what he wanted.

    I also get many foreign call centre calls asking to speak to the householder or telling me there is a problem with my computer. I've said I don't have a computer and was hung up on, or, I know there is no problem with my pc and what they're saying is bullshit and got hung up on.

    I have no idea whether it's a sexist thing or just a stupid not getting anywhere thing. As for wanting to speak to a male, he should have been specific or not made such dumb arse assumptions. What the hell are they teaching the people when it comes to calling us?

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    1. When they start combining scams with telemarketing, that's when you know we're all headed straight to hell in a handbasket.

      Woah, I sounded just like my grandma for a minute there!

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  22. I used to get a ton of sales calls from our local newspaper trying to get me to subscribe. I got frustrated one day with them and just yelled out "I don't know how to read!"

    That did the trick. So every time they called after that I just immediately told them I didn't know how to read. Problem solved.

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    1. LOL! I'm not sure how effective that would be with mortgage people, but I'm going to totally try it!

      "HOW CAN YOU BE SO INSENSITIVE! I DON'T KNOW HOW TO READ!"

      *slam*

      "But ... I just wante to know if she was happy with her mobile plan..."

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  23. You should call that bitch back and tell him about all the mortgages your gonna buy from someone else!!

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. Oh, I totally would if I had a number to call! Very inconsiderate of him, not leaving me a number to harass him at.

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  24. I love it when telemarketers call and ask for Mr. mylastname. I say, I'm sorry there is no Mr. mylastname living here. I get a shocked silence then click.

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    1. Excellent, a second source of data! We just need one more for a definite scientific trend!

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  25. Haha - Yes, I think you should be slightly miffed! :) Hard to believe that some companies/individuals are still so narrow-sighted, and yet they are. My husband doesn't like to take care of buying the big things and totally trusts me to do it. The last two cars we have bought, I have been the one to shop for them, and most of the salesmen I have seen have not been willing to deal with me or let me take the car for a test drive because my husband was not there, even though I was paying the full amount up front! I have often felt like doing a 'Julie Roberts' from Pretty Woman, and swanning back past them in the car or whatever I have bought from their competitor :)

    And may I just say.. your background. .. Wow! :)

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    1. Thanks :) It's very bright, I know, but I felt like a change. And purple is always a good idea, I think.

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  26. This reminds me that my wife once called the bank to have the limit raised on a credit card in her name, a card she'd had for ten years before we were married, and the bank wouldn't raise her limit without MY permission. She ended up cutting up the card.

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    1. Seriously? Jeez, there's some misogynism right there!

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  27. Wait, you're single? I have to stop reading this. Actually, you have a land-line? Now I really need to stop reading this. After reading some of the other comments, I can't believe this is a widespread thing. Next time, maybe claim you are the Mr. Then see how they react.

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    1. Yep, you'll definitely have to stop reading. Especially when you hear that I'm *gasp* not a Christian!!!

      I'm the trifecta of the signs of evil: single, female and non-Christian

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  28. He gets paid and trained for it!

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  29. Ok, don't judge me, because I think that guy was an idiot (I thought another word, but I'm trying to keep it clean...) Anyway, inspite of his stupidity, I always have nice chats with telemarketers after my short-lived stint as an insurance sales person in college.

    My dad also was a salesman (stock broker) so I have a soft spot in my heart for the telemarketing types...unless they're rude or stupid...then I just tell them that "My haggis is burning, gotta run!"

    :)

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    1. Oh, don't keep it clean on my behalf :D I love nothing more than a good foul mouthed rant!

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  30. Two comments: Yes, I would be insulted if I were you. Why can't a woman have a mortgage, or be business savvy? Second...Like Lisa above said, I play along with them, lead them on, then tell them the Taliban are attacking again and I have to run, or something stupid like that. I like turning the tables on them.

    S

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    1. Or I could ask them if they could hold for a second, then wander off for a few hours. Maybe they'll be there when I come back, maybe they won't, but that's the fun of it all!

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  31. That is quite sexist. I like it and will have to try it sometime.

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  32. I forgot to add- my mum usually answers this type of sexist question with telling them she will need to go dig him up. Man's been dead past 15 years now.

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  33. Talk about discrimination, now just because you are single or a woman does not mean you can't afford things?

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