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  • Ring, ring, ring ... 'Hello?'

  • Have you ever tried to get your phone number removed from a telemarketer's list? They call us all day long, sometimes several times a day. They wait for the phone to ring three and a half times then hang up. They don't leave messages even though we ask them nicely. I occasionally answer the phone with the goal of getting my phone number off of their list.
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  • Have you ever tried to get your phone number removed from a telemarketer's list? They call us all day long, sometimes several times a day. They wait for the phone to ring three and a half times then hang up. They don't leave messages even though we ask them nicely. I occasionally answer the phone with the goal of getting my phone number off of their list.
    A couple of times I have paid to get off of their list. To a college student I said, "If I give you $10, will you please take my name off of your calling list?" It worked. (Don't call me, because I don't do it anymore.)
    When I donate by mail, which I prefer to do, they spread my information to their "sister" organizations and one caller becomes 10.
    My friend Sally, a mystery author, hates to be interrupted by phone calls when she's writing because it breaks her train of thought. However, she has mastered the art of getting her name removed from lists. If she is taking a break, her creativity goes to work. Picture this:
    Ring! Ring!
    Caller ID: ABC Carpet Cleaning
    Sally: "Hello?"
    ABC: "May I speak to Sally please?"
    Sally: "Who's calling?"
    ABC: "This is Willy with ABC Carpet Cleaning."
    Sally: "Willy, how well did you know Sally?"
    ABC: "I don't know her at all."
    Sally: "Uh, huh. Well, this is Detective Margaret Pendleton, and Sally has just been murdered."
    ABC: "I don't know her, honest. I was just calling to see if she needed her carpet cleaned. We have a special going on."
    Sally: "If you didn't know her, how did you know her carpet would need cleaning? Just exactly how did you know she was going to be lying on that carpet with her brains and blood splattered all over it? We're going to need to take a statement from you, Willy. What's your home number?"
    Terrified, Willy hangs up ... and promptly removes Sally's name from his telephone list. I wish I had her wit.
    I must remind myself (frequently) that this is the caller's livelihood. I must not be mean and nasty. It costs nothing to be nice, and listening just might pay off. The caller may be someone I already know. Heaven forbid if I am introduced to this person in church.
    Ring! Ring!
    Sally: "Hello?"
    Caller: "May I speak to Mrs. Berneathy?"
    Sally: "Which Mrs. Berneathy?"
    Caller: "Sally Berneathy."
    Sally: "How dare you call my home asking for my husband's ex-wife! Is this another one of her lovers? Maybe you're her drug connection? If you see that witch, you tell her we're coming after her. She can't steal his kids and get away with it. And when I find her, I'm going to fix her so she'll never run again. Hello? Hello?"
    Sally doesn't go to church.
    Meredith Langley lives in Medford.
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