People on Reddit were asked: "What is your best 'making a telemarketer go off script' story?" These are some of the best answers.
2/22 HRO: Hi, this is the Human Rights Organization.
Me: I'm really more of a cat person.
HRO: ...Well, did you know that in 37 states, it's legal to fire a person for--
Me: NO, did YOU KNOW that in 50 states it's legal to fire a person because they're a cat?
3/22 Garden Center Rep: "It's nearly Springtime, is Mrs Spinozasrobot at home?"
Me: That's my mother, she just died two days ago" (true story, BTW)
Garden Center Rep:
Me: Do you realize what you just said?
Garden Center Rep:
4/22 Them: Hello! My name is Johnny and I'm calling from Ekos Research. We're conducting a poll for the upcoming federal election. Are you available to answer a few questions?
Them: Great! If an election were held tomorrow, which of the following political parties would you be most likely to supp...
Me: You always get an election when you least want it, like when the teacher calls on you for an answer, or when you're out to dinner with your girlfriend's mother.
Them: ...and which party would you be mo...
Me: I'm getting a huge election right now. What are you wearing? Tell me more about your poll.
Them: Thank you for your time, Sir!
5/22 When I was about 18 I was home from school with the flu. The phone rang at about 8am and woke me up, and I sleepily picked it up and said hello. The voice on the other end said something, "Hello, are Mr. or Mrs. ____ there? This is Sally from Best Telephone Company, and I wanted to know if you're happy with your current carrier?" I told her I was sick with flu and asleep, and she said softly, "Okay sweetheart, I'm sorry to bother you. Go back to sleep and I hope you feel better."
It wasn't funny or clever, but it was nice of her to not be pushy or anything.
6/22 Newspaper rep: We are offering a great deal on subscriptions today.
Me: I can't read
Newspaper rep: (long pause) Maybe this could help you learn
Me: I am also blind and don't appreciate you telling me how to live my life.
Newspaper rep: You seem to have a strong grasp on your vocabulary for someone who doesn't read. Are you sure you can't?
Me: I said I couldn't read not that I was [an idiot] or didn't listen and ask questions.
Newspaper rep: Uhhhhhhh, I didn't mean to insult you. I will leave you be. Sorry sir.
7/22 I'm Canadian and as such I watch hockey, especially olympic hockey and even more especially I watch the gold medal game. Last olympics some poor guy called me and asked me what the score was, I realized quickly he was a telemarketer that had to be pretending to do his job. I explained this to my friends- one of which then took the phone and gave this guy a play-by-play until the end of the 2nd period. It was pretty awesome.
8/22 A few years ago my band was trying out a new drummer when I got a call from a telemarketer. I had her listen as we played through a thrash punk cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit, complete with screaming vocals and half learned instrumental parts. After the song I hung up and some 5 minutes later got another call from a telemarketer asking to play her a song.
9/22 T: So would you like to save money today?
Me: Nah, not really.
T: You... don't like saving money?
Me: Eh, nah. Saving money is overrated.
T: crickets chirp Uhhhh... so you don't want more money in your pocket?
Me: Nah, who needs that?
T: Ok you're just screwing with me now, right?
Me: I guess so.
T: Alright thanks for your time.
10/22 Scammer: Hello sir, I'm calling because we've detected that a computer you use to access the internet is infected with a virus. We need you to go to our website so we can clean it.
Me: Really? What is the MAC address of the computer you detected the virus on?
Scammer: The what?
Me: The MAC address. The number which uniquely identifies my computer on the network. If you've detected a computer with a virus, you must have the MAC address of that computer.
Scammer: Sir, we need you to go to the following website. One of your computers may have a virus...
Me: Right. Just give me the MAC address and I'll check it against my records so I know which computer you're talking about.
Scammer: If you have the Windows operating system, you're vulnerable...
Me: So it's a Windows computer? I'm running Linux; are you sure you have the right computer?
Scammer: Uh, thank you for your time, sir.
11/22 I was in my roommate's room, watching a hockey game when the phone rings.
It's a telemarketer trying to sell time shares somewhere tropical. My roommate listens for a bit and then just starts crying. The girl on the phone asks if he's okay. He says "no" and hangs up. The girl called back to make sure he was fine and not suicidal.
12/22 Tele: Hello Sir. I'm calling from abc telecom. We're just calling to see who your current phone service provider is, and if are you are happy with the service you are receiving?
Me: Yeah, I'm with 'UpDog', they're great!
Tele: What's 'UpDog'?
Me: Not much, yourself?
Totally threw the guy off. I proceeded to tell him I wasn't interested. That was the end of that one.
13/22 I love getting telemarketers to have a regular conversation. I'll do whatever I can to be as chipper as possible. I'll ask how their day is, what they like to do in their free time, etc. People hate telemarketers and these people have to deal with [jerks] all day long. Sometimes it's fun to just confuse them and brighten the hell out of their day. I'll plaster a huge smile on my face and talk to them as long as I can if I have time.
Often times, this will get your bills lowered.
14/22 Them (in English): "Hello, may I speak with the head of the household please?"
Me (in Chinese): "What? What are you saying?"
Them (in English): "Uh... hello?"
Me (in Chinese): "Hello? Helloooooo? I don't understand what you're saying."
Telemarketer hangs up. A minute or so later...
Them (in Chinese): "Hello, may I speak with the head of the household please?"
Me (in English): "What? What are you saying?"
Them (in Chinese): "Uh... hello?"
Me (in English): "Hello? Helloooooo? I don't understand what you're saying."
Telemarketer hangs up.
15/22 Me: Hello?
TM: Is Mister Dragger there?
Me: This is he.
TM: I'd like to let you know that you've won a free cruise.
At this point I call my girlfriend over and put the speaker phone on.
Me: Sorry... hold on a sec... my girlfriend needs to hear (cue her making sucking sounds)
Can you hear us?
TM: Yes... now, about the cruise
Me: Oh god yes... tell us about the cruise (girlfriend starts moaning)
TM: Well, its a three day cruise to the Carribean.
GF: Oh god! REALLY?!?! Keep talking... I'm close
TM: ahem well you don't have to pay anything
Me: That's it... she's loving this!
TM: Umm... are you doing what I think you are?
GF: YES! YES! Finish your sale so I can COME ALREADY!
TM: ummmm.... click
16/22 When I was maybe around 12 I answered the family phone and the guy was trying to sell me a vacation of some kind. I was playing some computer game and just wasted his time for about 30 minutes making it seem like I was really interested, even picking out dates and stuff.
When it came time to pay I simply hung up. The guy called back and I just put the phone to the computer speakers and blasted music.
He called again and left a pretty profane message on my parents machine, at one point insinuating I had no testicles. I don't think my dad had ever been more proud of me.
17/22 T: Hello can we speak to Mrs. MyFirstName Wonkle please.
Me: She's not here, but if you know who she is could you let me know?
T: Excuse me?
Me: I'm not married...
18/22 Comcast: Hi, this is Theresa from Comcast. I'm calling you today regarding some exciting television and phone offers! Mr Drewba, let me ask you a question; do you like to watch movies?
Drewba: uhhhh yeah, I like movi...
Comcast: (interrupting) Well, Mr. Drewba, we have some amazing bundles availab...
Drewba: (interrupting) Hold on, wait a second. Did you just lead with DO YOU LIKE TO WATCH MOVIES?!?!". Who says "No, I can't stand watching movies, they're the worst!"
Comcast: (Pause) (Awkward laugh)
Drewba: Hey, Theresa, let me ask you a question. Do you like movies?
Comcast: (Painfully awkward) Yeah, I guess so.
Drewba: (REAL Debonair) So Theresa, I like movies and you like movies. We should go see a movie, together.
Comcast: Um, sir, I...(click)
19/22 Duct Masters: Hello, my name is ___and I'm calling today to see if you would be interested in our duct cleaning services.
Me: OMG REALLY? My son got a duck for Easter and we cannot figure out how to get that damn thing clean.
Them: ...No mam not ducks, we clean ducts.
Me: When is your next available appointment because this duck stinks all to hell and back.
Them: Thank you. (disconnect)
20/22 Me: Hello?
Telemarketer: Hello, is this Mr. Marks
Me: realizing this was a telemarketer Why, yes it is. May I ask who this is?
Telemarketer: Mr. Marks, I'd like to congratulate you on winning a timeshare retreat. Do you have some time to talk about the package?
Me: Oh wow! I'm so excited, I've never won anything before. Is this a joke?! Can I bring my girlfriend?!
Telemarketer: We offer the very best in exclusive timeshare packages, and your participation in our introductory offer is greatly appreciated. You are of course allowed to bring guests.
Me: This is great! Honey!! We won something ... Oh just one question, do you need to be 18 to participate?
Telemarketer: Yes, you do need to be at least 18 years of age to attend our introductory offer.
Me: Well, I'm 42 so no problem there, but my girlfriend is 13... is she going to be OK getting in?
Telemarketer: I'm sorry, sir. Did you say 30?
Me: No, I said 13. But her parents are OK with it so it's cool.
Telemarketer: Um, I'm not sure... I don't know -- are you serious?
Me: What do you mean? I'm sincerely interested, but I can't go if my girlfriend can't come with me. Can you check with your supervisor?
Telemarketer: I'll check on that real quick
--3 minutes later--
Telemarketer: I checked with my supervisor, and all participants must be of legal age (18).
Me: I see, may I please speak with him?
Supervisor: Hello? This is David, how can I help you?
Me: I just wasted 10 minutes of your company's time. Could you add me to the no call list?
21/22 TM: "Hello is this Mr. (my family's hard to pronounce last name (he reads it slowly with difficulty))? Sorry about that, I have a hard time reading."
Dad: "Yes. Hey you know they have surgery for eyes that can make them like new? I got it once and I see great now."
TM: "Really? How do they do it?"
Dad: "They use lasers or something" (Dad was old and did not know what lasers were but it was what he was told when he got surgery)
TM: "Wow, I gotta look into that" (also older guy who had never heard of this surgery)
The guy then says bye, completely forgetting that he supposed to sell my Dad something. A month or so later my Dad got a call from him saying that he got the surgery and he could see great, and thanked him.
22/22 Research Poller: "How knowledgeable would you say you are about the upcoming healthcare reform bill?"
Me: "Extremely knowledgeable."
Vladimir Gjorgiev / Shutterstock.com
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.