REDUCING LIFE'S HASSLES
Several times a week around supper, we get the call from the duct cleaning company.
Always the same company, I think, but the call is so inarticulate, it's hard to tell.
I've tried every tactic. Hanging up. Cursing. Asking for the caller to wait while I turn on the tape. Demanding a name. Asking for the company's name to be repeated. Saying I don't have ducts.
Of course I point out that I am on the Do Not Call list but that makes no impact at all. No telemarketer pays any attention to that or of me threatening to report them or sue.
I get angry because this inane solicitor always takes a few minutes no matter what my tactic. If I just hang up, he or she call again within a few minutes or the next day.
My son Mark gets exasperated at my anger, pointing out that the call probably originates in some third-world call centre where the staff have minimal language skills to match their unconcern with Canadian law.
I dislike my Bell bill so much that I hate to resort to caller identification to block the telemarketers.
And just look at all the exceptions that the feds let wiggle through the Do Not Call screen.
I may be a journalist who made most of my living for 50 years from newspapers but I resent circulation subscription solicitations. I am embarrassed that Ottawa kowtows to the dailies in this fashion.
Of course politicians would make an exception for political solicitation but I find the increasing calls from the parties or the candidates to be just as annoying as that duct cleaning company.
Remember when we all bought in to United Appeal to reduce the charity pitches. I should say that most of us did until the Catholics broke ranks and then some of fhe big charities did too, including my favourite, darn it, the Sally Ann.
As someone who has never bought anything over the phone, and never given money to a charitable organization as the result of a phone call, I would be happy to support any political party daring enough to include charities with newspapers and themselves as someone no longer allowed to bug us just when the climax comes in the movie.
As a commentator, I have often paid close attention to telephone surveys. I used to participate myself. I used to quote them. Not any more. The dirty secret is that many people, probably most people, hang up on the pollster, no matter how major the issue may be, so they're worthless in gauging what the public really thinks about anything, including duct cleaning companies.
I find it ironic that in an age when electronic snooping has blossomed so evilly that governments, security forces and too often even the police know all the telephone numbers that you called for the last year or two, yet the garbled duct cleaning solicitations continue despite the federal pledge of the Do Not Call list.
The way things stand, the Do Not Call promise of protection is a farce. It would be so simple to improve it but no government has the guts.
Now if you'll pardon me, I have to answer the phone. Probably the duct cleaning company because it hasn't called for a day.