The Logical Philosopher

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

How to deal with Telemarketers

This is one of those posts you may want to forward to all the parents of young children you know!

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Having a 3 year old answer the phone when telemarketers call is my best parenting trick yet.
I was in that zen almost-asleep-but-still-awake state where you can still hear sounds, but your body can't react at all. "I'll get it!" he yelled, jumping off the couch where I was trying to get some rest. Should I even try to get this? Heading him off is usually the best course of action when he attempts to get the phone. Whatever...I was too tired to care who it was. Besides, if they really wanted to talk to me they would try to muddle through what my 3 year old said long enough to persuade him to pass the phone to 'mom or dad'.

I didn't hear the other end of the phone call but here's how it went from point of view:

"hello?" he asked with obvious excitement in his voice. Did I mention he really really likes to answer the phone?


"I'm ok....what? I mean pardon?" Good to know he's got his manners down. Must be a grandparent correcting him on the other end.

another pause

"nope....ok....where are you?" By this point I was assuming it was some sort of relative that had hung onto the call so I probably should get it. I did the 'pass the phone' motion and he handed it over to me.

me: "hello?"

Guy on phone: "hello, is Mr. Philosopher there?"

me: "who is it?"

Guy on phone: "It's Bruce from CIBC card services. We are calling to let him know he's been approved for a new credit card." A telemarketer. Great. Since I don't bank there, or have a card there I am pretty sure I don't have anything to lose.

me: "Ok, just a second. Let me get him for you." At this point I put the phone on mute and called my 3 year old back. "Hey buddy, it's for you. It's Bruce and he wants to know all about your day at preschool!". In one swift movement I unmuted the phone, handed it over and turned back over to continue with my rest. If you're going to disturb my rest with a credit card offer I don't need, then I'm going to waste your time as well.

I'm not sure how the rest of the conversation went, or how long it lasted. About an hour later I asked my 3 year old who was on the phone.

"It was some bank guy...." he said matter of factly. "But he said he had to go and hung up."

A parenting tip worthy of passing along to all your friends with kids: the best way to deal with telemarketers is to get your 3 year old to answer
the phone.

All of a sudden, at this very moment in time, I realized the unlimited potential of having kids: no more telemarketers. How cool is that.