"In all well-tempered governments there is nothing which should be more jealously maintained than the spirit of obedience to law, more especially in small matters for transgression creeps in unperceived and at last ruins the state, just as the constant recurrence of small expenses in time eat up a fortune."

-Aristotle in Politics, Bk. 5, Ch. 8 (Jowett trans.)

Why? Fight Fire with Fire.
Hit the Telemarketers Below the Belt
(that's the wallet).
"The goal of the DMA is to discover and to thwart possible government regulation."

-President of the DMA (Direct Marketing Association), DM News, October 22, 1990.

In America today, large corporations see the public as nothing more than unharvested money. The large corporation has no conscience, so if there is a dollar to be made the corporation will do whatever it takes to collect the money with as little effort as possible. If that means stepping on a few toes, trampling a few people's rights, or invading a few people's privacy, that's of no concern. In fact, even if more than a few (say, ALL) people get trampled, it's still of no concern when there's a profit to be made.

Telemarketing is a prime example of the lack of corporate concern for people in this country. I've never heard anyone say they look forward to receiving telemarketing calls. I've never heard anyone who enjoys them. But even though the vast majority of us want telemarketing stopped, it continues. Why? Because even though such a small amount of people buy what they're selling, they make up for their low percentages in VOLUME, VOLUME, VOLUME!

I've even heard that the telemarketing firms program their computers to dial 4 numbers at once. The first person to answer gets the telemarketer. The other 3 get hung up, thrown back in the queue, and called again in an hour. So if you're not the fastest to answer your phone, you get hit multiple times! This is justifiable to the telemarketing firms, because the telemarketer is 4 times as likely to get a victim than a busy signal, answering machine or someone who doesn't answer. This saves them lots of time, and we all know that a telemarketer's time is much more valuable than yours or mine.

I used to get several calls a day, including Saturdays.

In the past, I tried politely telling telemarketers that I'm not interested. They don't even hear this. They keep on talking as if bowling you over is going to convice you to buy the crap they're selling. Some telemarketers have a special script that they launch into whenever you say "no" which is designed to change your mind. The only thing this script has ever done for me is increase my anger tenfold.

I've tried telling them in no uncertain terms how I feel about telemarketers and then extended a heartfelt invitation for them to participate in sexual encounters with themselves. While this did make me feel better occasionally, it didn't cut down on the frequency or quantity of phone calls.

Now I use the law, since that's what it was presumably put there for, and my calls have dropped dramatically. The bad news is that the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991) is a law without much bite. The lobbyists let it go through because it's hard to catch them red-handed, and it's a pain to enforce. The good news is that it IS enforceable if you really want to strike back.

The other bad news is that it's not easy. It takes time, patience, and energy. If you're in it for the money, then forget it. If you break it down by the hour and amount of frustration involved, you'll make more flipping burgers. But if you do it because you know it's right, and you want to thrust your middle finger in the face of Corporate Greed, then welcome to the fight! Who knows... with all these middle fingers flying around the face of Mr. Greed, maybe we'll put an eye out.

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