“Stop yelling at her!”
It came out of my mouth before I knew it, and then I couldn’t stop. I had been a few seconds into a nice,
civil conversation with a mom when I heard a man’s voice in the background yelling, “Don’t you ever
give people personal information over the telephone! WHO IS THAT?!”
A second or two had barely passed before the man yanked the phone out of his wife’s hand (at least
that is what I was seeing in my head), and just as he was yelling “Who is this!” at me, I screamed right
over him, “Stop yelling at her! JUST STOP. I told her exactly who I am, where I was calling from and the
reason for the call. You had no right to yell at her, so stop.”
About this time I looked up at my computer screen to see that the speaker was located in Lake Oswego,
Oregon. Figures. The biggest assholes live in Oregon.
Yes, I know what you are thinking, Oregon? Really?
I agree that I could walk up to 100 random people and ask them, “What state would you think has the
biggest assholes for a phone sales person?” Not one will answer Oregon. Sorry that is right, bar
none, Oregon equals the biggest jerks. I have very unscientifically come to that conclusion after years of
working sales on the phone. I was a stockbroker for 17 years, which I hate to admit, essentially is a
phone sales job. The most lucrative phone sales job of all.
I was a great stock broker, putting my clients in Starbucks Coffee in 1995, putting them in gold in 1999
(Yeah, I bet you wish you knew me then), shorting Krispy Kreme Donuts, and then Croc’s Shoes, and etc.
After the nuclear holocaust of the financial industry, I managed to do well, supplementing my stock
broker income as a residential real estate agent. Well you know the rest.
The last five years I have barely kept a roof over my head while discovering that my single most unique
talent is talking to people on the phone. I have a nice voice; I sound much younger than I am (thank
god), and I can enunciate well.
If you are still reading this story, you may find it interesting that telemarketers have an exclusive look
into the American people. We talk to all kinds of people all over the United States in every time zone,
five to six days a week.
I am on the West Coast so the mornings start with the Eastern part of the US. I could be calling Georgia,
North and South Carolina, Virginia, and just humming along hearing, “Well hi, Sweetie Peep, what can I
do ya for?” and lots of “Yes ma’am”, “No ma’am” and “Thank Yewww”. They’re some of the nicest
people ever, even when they are saying no like, “Well darlin’, that just won’t work for us right now, but
thank yew for callin.”
Then as the morning progresses so do my calls up the Eastern Seaboard, then I would hit New Jersey
with their very short clips, “Whaat? Who are you? Lemme-tell-ya were busy around here today.” Super
short and abrupt but totally nice. Here is one example: after the morning spent calling the south, I went
straight to Jersey—almost hurt my ear—but I laughed and had to tell the woman who answered the
phone how I was talking to South Carolina then went straight to Jersey imitating the 2 different dialects
and conversations. Not sure how she was going to take it as I had already interrupted her day, but she
started howling and laughing, put me on speaker, and told me to tell the office what I just told her. They
all laughed and said they loved it. Her explanation was that I caught them right before lunch and they
were all hungry.
The reality is, on the phone the people of New Jersey are short on words and get directly to the point,
naturally, and are basically good hearted. More than once after apologizing for the interruption, the
New Jersey person’s reply has been, “Everyone’s got a job to do, now what do you want?” Some of my
telemarketing collogues don’t like to call New Jersey, but not me I love them.
Now back to Oregon. What is wrong with those people? Time and time again I call Oregon and the
people are mean, nasty and outright horrible. Calling me all sorts of names, telling me to shove certain
objects up my ass, telling me what a disgusting person I am, and asking what is my problem that I can’t
get another job other than ripping people off on the phone etc (even though the company I work for
now has been in business 20 years and has an A plus rating with the BBB). All this basically happens right
after I say, “Hello, can I speak to Mr. or Mrs. so and so.”
I looked around the sales room today after I yelled back at the awful Oregonian man, glad it was a
Saturday and that the sales floor was quiet. Reacting negatively to a jerk on the phone is frowned on by
the pros; it is considered strictly rookie behavior. I felt protective over the man’s wife, and I had
admonished him before I even knew it.
So people of Oregon hear this: there is nothing wrong with being civil and simply asking to be put on the
Do Not Call List (an easy button push for us), or saying “No thank you, good-bye”. After all, we all have a
job to do.