The Two Best Ways To Deal With Telemarketers

Let me say up front that if you are a telemarketer, don’t take this personally. I know you are just trying to make money, kind of like a panhandler, only with a phone. You might even be forgiven some day, at the end of the road, for all of your harassing disruptions.

These might not be considered frugal tips until you think back to how much of your time has been wasted over the years listening to someone read an uninvited sales pitch in monotone while you were right in the middle of a meal, a project or whatever. Not to mention if you have given in and scheduled that hour and a half sales presentation for a product or service that you previously had no idea you needed. Even though I registered with Do Not Call I still get calls from the non-profits.

With that aside, here are the two best ways to deal with telemarketers. Oh, one other thing: I think I have, in the past on this blog, mentioned some businesses that might employ some kind of telemarketing. For that, I am truly sorry.


As soon as they have asked for Mr. or Ms. (possibly mangling your name) and started into their spiel, hang up. Period. Depending on what you have been interrupted doing this could be your most satisfying option.


If you want to squeeze some humor out of the disruption, mess with them. I tell the siding salesman that my house is brick; the lawn care guy gets an earful about how I like the variety that weeds bring to my lawn. You get the idea, the more creative the better.

I received a sales call recently selling magazine subscriptions. Here’s how it went:

She: (long opening introduction describing the worthiness of the cause and setting me up to sound like a schmuck if I said no)

Me: (almost hanging up several times, until she said they were not asking for monetary donations, but rather a magazine subscription, of which they would get a percentage cut.)

She: “So what magazine could we interest you in today, Mr. Weber?”

Me: “I don’t read magazines.”

She: “Oh, really, you don’t read magazines? Well, what kind of interests do you have, Mr. Weber? Do you like sports?”

Me: “Not really.”

She: “Oh, okay, well how about (names of several more popular magazines) would any of those work for you?”

Me: “I don’t think so.”

She: “You say you don’t read magazines, but you must have some interests or hobbies, maybe hunting, fishing, something like that?”

Me: “Umm, no.”

She: (switching tactics) “Well then Mr. Weber, maybe there is something we could interest another member of the family with. Are you married? Do you have children?”

Me: “No. I don’t even subscribe to the newspaper.”

She: (very sympathetically) “Ahh, so you just kinda a loner then, huh?”

Me: (sad voice) “Yes.”

She: (also now sad) “Ahh, well okay then, Mr. Weber. Thank you for your time and have a great day, okay?”

Me: (still sad) “Bye.”


  1. What-do-we-do-about-those-wrong-number-dialersSeptember 25, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    Always ask one question: "What are you wearing ?" The other end hangs up faster when you are both the same sex . . . works without fail

  2. LOL! There's another strategy: just set the phone down, very quietly, and let the solicitor run through his (or her) canned spiel. This wastes the person's time, and since solicitors are paid by the number of sales they make, for them wasted time is as annoying as the call itself is for you.

  3. My daughter in law just hands the phone over to her 16 month old daughter . She jabbers away for awhile and then her mom hangs up the phone. No calls again from those folks. LOL!

  4. I usually say, "I never buy anything over the phone. Your time would be better spent talking to someone else. Have a good day. Bye."


Agree? Disagree? Questions? Leave a comment!