I don't know how they found me, but they found me.
A few weeks ago I activated my landline phone service, and since that moment I've received 4-6 calls a day. From friends these calls are not. I'm suddenly regularly contacted by Mastercard, Visa, Bank of America, Capital One, the LAPD, the LAFD, the Christian Veterans Association-- the Christian Veterans Association. It doesn't stop there. A-Plus Carpet Cleaners, AT&T, DirecTV, Verizon California, Citibank, American Express, Sports Illustrated, Washington Mutual, and National Geographic have all called me as well. Literally, 4-6 calls a day.
I've gone through a few different phases of reactions so far--
At first, I politely declined. Then, I began angrily declining. Then, I began asking them, "How did you get this number?"-- most of the time they didn't know. Then I started giving them the whole, "Take me off this list and never call this number again." But the calls continued.
Then last week, a friendly man called from AT&T (the service I'm using), and asked if I'd tell him how my experience with AT&T has been so far, so they could improve their customer satisfaction. This was great, because even though this wasn't AT&T's fault, and it certainly wasn't this cordial man's fault, it was a golden opportunity to take my anger out on someone. So I got real angry and told him this was the worst service in the world and that AT&T was a terrible company. Hurt, he apologized and told me he hoped my experience with AT&T would be better in the future. I said it wouldn't, and I hung up. But although yelling at a man who had nothing to do with my problems made me feel better, it hadn't solved my problem.
And then I figured it out. I decided to play their game with them. They'd sell me something, and I'd sell them something. So when a lady from Capital One called yesterday, I listened to her pitch, and then tried to sell her my George Forman Grill. Frankly, it's way too big, and I hardly ever use it anymore. But it's in good condition, I explained, and I'd sell it for half the price I bought it for.
Silence. After a pause, she continued her pitch. I cut her off, and explained that I was far more interested in selling my Forman Grill than signing up for a new credit card. She was quiet. Indeed, we had reached a standstill. She said she hoped I decided to use Capital One and wished me a good day. And that was that.
Later that day, I was called by a woman from Bank of America. So I broke down my entire fantasy football team, and explained that as long as either Leon Washington gets on a roll or the Denver running back situation gets worked out, I'd be in good shape. I went on for at least 4 full minutes, and she listened patiently the whole time. Then I insisted that she reassure me that it was not stupid of me to trade away Kevin Jones. She did, and then explained that she had to go. A shame.
Since those two conversations, I've not only attempted to sell my shot glass collection, vacuum, and sister to various callers, I asked someone relationship advice, I asked someone else how I'm supposed to just focus on the journey and not the destination, and today, I played the piano for a gruff-sounding man collecting money for the LAPD.
I've discovered that you're never lonely with a slew of courtesy callers in your life.