Monday, March 30, 2009

Blood, meet Stone.

Perversely, since I lost my job, the calls from telemarketers have escalated. At about 4:20 each day, I get a string of calls from people looking for money for causes ranging from global injustice to global warming, to paying for birth control for college girls who apparently never heard of condoms (PPFA and I still go head-to-head over that one), to breast cancer.

I still give nominally to the causes I care about, judiciously, because, well, I care about them and dammit, it's my right as an American to spend money I can ill afford. But there is a limit, and I need to remember that Charity Begins at Home.

Yes, I'm on the Do Not Call Registry, but as we know, if you've given to a cause, that gives them the right to hire fundraising companies to hound you until you are dead asking for more money. So if you give to a cause, they do the equivalent of writing your name on an internet nonprofit bathroom wall with "Gives Great Donation." The result is that when you give, you are harassed to give more.

Someone needs to talk to their marketing people about counter-incentives.

I am starting a list of charities I will stop giving to, and the letter I will send to them regarding why I refuse to give any more money. Most of the charities I support leave me the hell alone (thank you, World Wildlife Fund, Humane Farming, Nature Conservancy, Christian Children's Fund), aside from snail-mail campaigns, which are fine, but there are others (Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood Foundation of America) that are nothing more than jack-booted donation terrorists.

Also, the salespeople not affiliated with nonprofits have learned the same thing that I discovered when I tried to post a complaint on the DNC Registry: They don't follow up on individual complaints. Seriously; they state this plainly, for all of us (and the telemarkers) to see.

So here's what I do now: when I see a caller ID that indicates a telemarker, I answer, and the conversation goes something like this:

Me: "Hello?"

(Pause while autodialer alerts Actual Person that there's a bite on the hook)

Telemarketer: "May I please speak to JC?"

Me: "This is JC."

TM: "Great. How are you today?"

Me: "Unemployed."

TM (They have no script to prepare them for this, which is amazing. So they proceed to stumble.) "Oh. I'm..sorry to hear that...

Me: "That's OK. But I have no money to give right now, because I'm preoccupied with paying my mortgage and groceries. So please take me off of your list, and good luck with your cause."

Then I hang up.

I'm considering a counter-offensive, though. I'm considering asking THEM for money. For the JC Fund.

I like the sound of that.

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