Still not joining the DO NOT CALL movement

Commerce | Access/Network
I’m holding out from joining what is perhaps the fastest growing political movement in the modern world– which, in 3 days attracted 10 million adherents, and 3 months attracted 40 million more– the national “DO NOT CALL” registry.

This unprecedented growth was possible because of a universally appealing political belief shared by its adherents: the desire not to have their phone ring for by any unsolicited caller, a right long called for by humorists Dave Barry and Jerry Seinfeld. The movement was checked slightly in September by a judge in Oklahoma City, the heartland of the American telemarketing industry, who felt that the FTC did not have the authority to create such a registry. But Congress quickly wrote a law to cover it, recognizing the overt legitimacy of the names in the registry. 55 million people represent over half of the electorate, more than the political parties, or even the largest lobby, the AARP.

I haven’t joined yet, because I feel that the law was flawed. I feel that as a worker in the IT industry, and also as the son of an insurance agent who uses calling lists some of the time to reach business. My father is not like a typical telemarketer who calls you from halfway around the country and can hide behind a system which doesn’t transmit Caller ID; he merely calls his fellow Westchester County residents from his home office. So if, you follow the Seinfeldian revenge tactic and call him back during dinner, he’d actually take that call.

So I’m able to abstain from the DO NOT CALL list (and bear the increased burden of calls, for now), because I can easily screen calls thank to a muffled electronic ring, Caller ID & an answering machine. What shocks me is how come at least one out of twenty calling organizations don’t have the prescence of foresight to handle an answering machine! The only ones who seem to be prepared for this are the arrangers of a neverending Orlando vacation package (referencing a vacation lottery drawing which I never have entered), as well as the debt reduction services (who, if they really had access to my full credit profile, would not find that I’m paying any high interest rates at all on anything).

What may confuse them further is that they do not hear the simple 3-second “This is Jon, leave a message” at my beep. But I promise, if someone beings talking to my answering machine, I’ll answer one out of 5 messages, if I’m in. Pre-recorded messages don’t count: if I get too many of those, I’m cutting the cord to my landline for good (or, until I buy my first home).

I will write some further tangents on this:

  • How to make SPAM cooler (in a McLuhanesque way)
  • Creating a WHEN TO CALL registry.

Postcript, Feb. 23rd: Solicitations are now starting to be accompanied by Caller ID. Here’s who’s trying to call me: OCEAN GLASS, MCI, JOHN KERRY FOR, AWARDS VERIFICA, NICKS COMEDY ST, CREDIT FOUNDATI, MISSOURI. One of those calls I returned.