How to Bumfuzzle Telemarketers

Smile for the Camera

The first time I toyed with a telemarketer, I answered a call that interrupted my meal. I was annoyed anyway at the intrusion of an unsolicited call.  The male voice on the phone identified himself as representing a local photography studio He was calling to offer a special package of pictures.

“Don’t bother,” I said. “We’re not very photogenic,” I hung up before he could say anything further. up and going back to my dinner.

Is there anything more annoying than getting a phone call from a telemarketer. You’re ready to tuck into that juicy crock potted roast and the phone rings. Against your better judgment, you answer to find it is one more telemarketer wanting a minute of your time to offer you an exciting opportunity or to inform you that your computer is sending disturbing messages to the technology center.

Telemarketing is an annoyance, a nuisance, a “pain in the neck,” or “a thorn in the flesh” of the consuming public. Pick your cliché or add some new ones.


Of course the best way to avoid telemarketers is to be on the Federal Do Not Call List. A similar way is to tell the telemarketers to have you put on their company’s Do No Call List. However, if you have time and chutzpah you can have some cheap fun with the poor telemarketer on the other end of the line. I have on a few occasions. Let me share some of my experiences.

Damp Basement

Not long after that a basement water-proofing company began calling. I hung up on them several times before I decided to make it difficult for them to get their spiel said. The caller began by telling me that they had been talking to people in my area about water in their basements. The  presentation made it sound as though people in my neighborhood were calling the company to complain about water rising in their basements.

I told the marketer that I was not interested in his company’s services. I knew I did not have a leaky basement. I actually had a very nice basement. The calls kept coming and were becoming more annoying each time. I had one more idea.

The next time I answered the phone the voice mentioned water in my basement, I “panicked” “WATER IN MY BASEMENT! Oh no, Abner get the baby out of the house we got WATER IN THE BASEMENT.”

“Abner” Running with the Baby

“Ma’am. Ma’am.” I could hear the voice on the line saying. “Ma’am calm down. It’s not like water rising. We’re talking about damp basement walls.”

“They certainly are damn basement walls if they are letting water in. Thanks for warning me. You said all my neighbors were having water, too?”

“I said DAMP. Ma’am, you are not in any danger.”

“You’re right about that. We’re getting out of here right now. I got to go find the cat.” Then I hung up. I had to laugh at my own cleverness.

What Do You Do For Fun?

My favorite call was from a man who said he was conducting a survey on what people do in their leisure time. “We were having sex,” was my reply to his survey.

“What?” He seemed incredulous that anyone would answer with what must have seemed to him a rather personal reply. He had to wonder whether I was telling the truth.

“Sex,” I repeated. “We were in the act of sex, making love, marital duty. Whatever you want to call it.”

There was quiet on the line for a few seconds. Then I heard muffled giggles on the other end of the line as HE hung up on me.

AH that was indeed a satisfying exchange.

This article was written by Margie Campbell

I have been "writing" since I could first hold a pencil. I would fill lines with squiggles thinking that could convey my ideas to the world. As I grew, so did my interest in writing. It really helped when I learned to make letters and to combine them into "real" words. I have a degree in creative writing and a Master's in English (tech writing specialty). I am retired from teaching all types of writing as an adjunct at community colleges in VA, MD, Ohio, and WV.

4 thoughts on “How to Bumfuzzle Telemarketers”

  1. I loved this week’s topic because if I answered every unsolicited phone call that comes into my house, it would become a full-time job. I would just be on the phone morning to night. I have registered and re-registered with the Do Not Call Registry for years, but it is no longer effective. The government has lost all control of our phone system (imagine!) and telemarketers (i.e. scammers) have the ability to hijack legit phone numbers and that is what comes up on the caller ID so that you will answer.

    I have had to call Walsh University, a local hospital (who’s not going to answer when a hospital calls?), and the sherriff’s office to tell each someone is using their number for nefarious purposes. The husband reports even the police department in the town he works for gets scam phone calls. I mean, seriously?!!

    Anything a human can do to mess with these people should be done and done to the max! I hope people post more suggestions. I loved yours!

    1. Thanks WV.

      Getting a phone with caller ID is one of the best things I ever did. I never planned what I would say–just whatever popped into my head at the time.

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