M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, November 09, 2010  

Pickup This

Several jobs ago, namely the one I was working at when I started this blog, I worked closely with someone I never met. This was when I was helping to run a large call center. Our company had another call center outside of Boston, and that call center had a person who had an equivalent position to mine in Minneapolis. Our job was to try to balance all the call volume coming into the two call centers in real time. As you can imagine, we spent a lot of time on the phone together.

As I said, I never met her, but she seemed nice and she seemed to like me. We had a good working relationship. Obviously it was never inappropriate; I was married and I think she was engaged at the time. I haven't talked to her in ten years. Which is why it's weird how she might be stalking me.

Her name was Charity. I don't know what her fiancé's last name was or if she opted to take it, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it was Pickup. Because someone named Charity Pickup is calling our house constantly.

At first we thought it was a telemarketing company, only one that asks you to leave your old stuff on your front step instead of buying stuff from them (that you will one day soon be leaving on your front step). But that doesn't make any sense. We're on all the Do-Not-Call lists, so those types of people Do Not Call.

Normally what we do is just pick it up and then hang up right away, depending on what we're in the middle of at the time they call. Sometimes we ignore the ringing and let it go to voice mail. Occasionally we actually answer and tell them to stop calling. Of course the person on the other end of the phone is never Charity from my old job, which proves nothing except that she gets cold feet when we answer and hands the phone off to some middle-aged friend who pretends to be a solicitor for donations. Pathetic, really. She could at least update the script she gives them every once in a while.

Or maybe Charity Pickup is a real operation. I still don't know, even though yesterday they made the mistake of calling me at the worst possible time: when I had a few minutes to talk to them.

The lady who called asked for me by name. "This is," I said. She told me she was calling on behalf of something or other.

"Are you?" I said, cheerfully enough to make her audibly hesitate.

But she continued with her spiel. Today, I had decided to make time for Charity Pickup, so I let her continue for almost twenty seconds before cutting her off. I asked her to stop calling. Of course, I've asked these people to stop calling before, but in the same pleasant, even jaunty tone, I told her that, and that we were tired of getting these calls all the time. When we have stuff to give away, we know exactly where to take it, thank you very much, and we've told them several times to stop calling, and that meant that we wanted it to actually, you know, stop.

I don't know if she was more thrown by my words or my manner, but she stammered that she would let her manager know and they would put me on the list of people not to call. I thanked her and we wished each other a good day.

So when they call again tomorrow or the next day, I look forward to asking to speak to that manager. "Didn't the person who called the other day tell you? I thought I was pretty clear. Even clearer than the other dozen times."

I just hope that "manager" doesn't end up being my old coworker Charity after all, because that could be all kinds of awkward.

posted by M. Giant 9:20 PM 2 comments


Have you ever actually used Charity Pickup before? I ask because I made the horrible mistake of giving money to Public Television once and after you've done that, you may as well scrawl your phone number in every stall of the PBS rest rooms. The number and persistence of the calls got so bad that I did talk to the manager and told them their method pretty much ensured that I'd never be giving them another dime. I guess some people actually respond to telephone solicitation, but it beats me why.

By Anonymous Bo, at November 13, 2010 at 10:18 AM  

I was thrilled to discover our phone service offers the ability to block specific numbers, so we could block the people who kept calling from the same number to pitch us on some politician or pseudo-survey. Calls stop pretty quickly - assuming they keep coming from the same phone-spam source.

By Anonymous Jack Vinson, at November 22, 2010 at 6:43 PM  

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