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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The curious incident of the Mat6t in the evening-time

Last week I felt like my brain was being melted. Now it feels like the small puddle of brains in my head that didn't leak out my ears and nose is drying out and forming a flaky crust around the inside of my skull.

Giving surveys isn't so bad. It's just how people react so quickly to my voice that bothers me.

Phone picks up.

I jolt awake. "Wha!? Oh. Hello, I'm Matt Karlsven of Harris Interactive, a national research firm. (click) Today we're conducting a survey on marriarge. May I speak with _______?......Hello?"

That's the response that seems to happen most frequently. Then there are the people who never learned how to communicate with other human beings, but have chosen to keep trying, no matter how much failure ensues.

Phone picks up.

"Hello, I'm Matt Karlsven of Harris Interact..."

They interrupt, "Harris who? Who is this?"

"This is Matt. Today we're conducting surveys on marriage."

"Marriage? Well, sir, I'm divorced, and never going to get married again."

"Okay would you like to take this survey?"

"Now I live with three women, and it's great." (He didn't really refer to them as "women," but this is a family blog.)

I start the survey, "What is your age?"



That one was actually me hanging up. 63 and living with three "women"? Ewwwww.

Or this one time:

Phone picks up.

"Hello, I'm Matt Karlsven of Harris Interactive, a national survey research firm..."

"Hey, Matt, I'm a telemarketer and I know that you can't call me. I'm on a do-not-call list," She says this last part with pride.

"Well, actually we don't sell anything. We just conduct surveys so we were not included in the law congress passed or the national do-not-call list. However, we do have an internal do-not-call list. Would you like your number put on it?"

"I could report you, you know!"

"You wouldn't do that, would you?" I ask sincerely.

"I could! I could put you guys out of business!"

"No, please, I need this job! This is all I have!"

"Well, that's too bad."

"This is my life! What am I going to do? How am I going to eat?"

"Look, it's okay, just don't call me again, okay."

"PLEASE!!! Where am I going to live!?! Please don't do this! You don't need to..."


Oh yeah, here's one that happened today:

Phone picks up.

"Hello, I'm Matt Karlsven from Harris Interactive, and we're conducting surveys on..."



"You can take your funking survey and stick it up your funking ace." (Family blog, remember).

"Okay, we will do that, sir."

I hear fading laughter before the click. It feels good to know that I've brightened someone's day, even if it does cost me the well-being of my ace.

I admire this next one for creativity:

Phone picks up.

"Hello, I'm Matt Karlsven from Harris Interactive, a national research firm. Today we're conducting surveys on marriage. What is your current marital status?"

"Hmmmm. What's YOUR current marital status?"

"Uhhh, I'm single."

"Then I'm single."

"Ummm. Okay. Is there anyone in your household who has been married in the past year?"

"Is there anyone in YOUR household who's been married in the past year?"

Wise to their scheme, I respond, "Uhhh....YES!"

"Then yes."

"Could I speak with them?"

"Could I speak with them?"

Crap. I've trapped myself. "Ummm, no."

"Then no."


Well played, I have to admit. Well played, indeed.

There have been so many calls of the same nature as these. They don't usually end well. But I can say this: If ever you get a call from a telephone surveyor or a telemarketer, you don't have to do what they want, but at least jerk around with them a little. It sucks just having people hang up on you.

C'mon, say something clever, make funny noises, yell an obscenity. It doesn't matter. It'll make their day more interesting. Or possibly be the call that pushes them over the edge and convinces them that their only option is to go down in a hail of gunfire. Either way, it'll make their day more interesting.

Harris, I'm gonna miss you.


compulsive writer said...

Mat6t, here are at least three reasons you should call someone like me:

1. I am well versed in the rules of the "Do Not Call" list. Although I do report sales people who violate that most sacrosanct law, I will talk to purveyors of surveys, who are most welcome on my phone line.

2. Telemarketers always hang up on me before I hang up on them. I'm not sure why that is, actually, but I am very nice to telemarketers, partly because I'm just a nice person, but mostly because I always picture some poor cash-strapped student on the other end of the phone. (The only exception to this is reserved for collection agencies, who all work for the mob.) Face it, no one ever says they want to grow up to be a phone soliciter.

3. I have an opinion about almost everything--even things I don't know about. My most recent phone survey involved brand names of heating and air conditioning units. As in most other aspects of my so-called adult life, I bluffed my way right through it.

Happy soliciting!

Mike Karlsven said...

I was a survey man myself back in the day. My favorite call/series of calls was like this:

Mike: Hello, my name is Mike with Worthlin Worldwide. Can I ask you a few questions about automobiles?

Male Voice: !@#%%^ NO!! I'm too @#$^^@! busy for that! Don't you ever !@#!@$ call me again!

Mike: Thank you for your time.

[Mike adds this phone number to the CALL back list and chooses his own phone number to place the call in 10 minutes]

10 minutes later mike notices familiar number being dialed...

Mike: Hello, my name is Mike and I'm conducting a survey on cars today, can we get your input?

Male Voice [even more aggitated]: I @#$%^^@# told you to @#$@#% never call me !@#@%!% again!!! Holy !@#!@%~ I'm going to @#$@#% kill you!

Mike: Have you or anyone in your home purchased a new or used vehicle in the past 6 months?

Male Voice: Good !@#$!% Bye! [click]

[Mike adds number to the CALL back list but opts to have someone else in the call center place the call and chuckles to himself]

That was my most memorable experience as a survey phone dude.

becks said...

I remember the times of being a phone survey person. We used to have some questions where we would have to type in exactly what they wrote. This was the one time where i felt justified in writing swear words. Then there were the stupid people that kept blabbing on and on really fast after I told them to speak slower because i was typing their answer word for word. If they did that i usually just typed a summary of what they said. stupid Rexburg Opinion Center. I hope it burns to the ground sometime.

b. robertson said...

oh harris! what a wonderful piece o'junk! Mat6t, I'm so proud of the way you handle these people and their inability to function properly on the phone. My personal favorite was when a guy who was in his 30's was hitting on my over the phone ("how about a..haha...personal interview darlin?") He readily apologized for his comments when I told him I was still in High School. He did take the entire survey though. Haha.

I hate that place.

Eric Petersen said...

Ah, reminds me of my days at Convergy's. Where people who didn't want to bye anything cursed the night away, and those who did want the card had no talent of communication what-so-ever.

Lorien said...

My favorite was when Guy's dad told the solicitor, "No, I'm not interested, but you might be interested in...." and he proceeded to try to sell the salesperson on some opportunity he'd heard of.

Anonymous said...

i'm so proud of you! you handle those mean people way better than i ever did when i was a telemarketer! I usually ended up crying!it was pretty sad.

" just keep swimming, swimming, swimming" said...

this thingy is so messed up...this is andrea again!

Julie said...

My favorite telemarketer incident happened with my dad. He was getting calls from hearing aid places, and he asked each of them to put him on their "do not call" list. Lo and behold, one of them called him again. I think this is how it went, from what I witnessed:

Dad: "Hello?"

Salesperson: "Good evening sir, I'm from Deefenold Hearing Company. Do you or anyone in your family have a need for a hearing aid?"

Dad: "No, but you do."

Salesperson: "Uh, excuse me?"

Dad: "I said that you obviously need a hearing aid."

Salesperson: "Ummm...why is that, sir?"

Dad: "I told you the last three times you called to take me off your damn call list, but you must not have been able to hear what I said because you keep calling me. For the last time, put my name on your don't call list!!!!"

Way to go Dad!

Anonymous said...

all of you can eff off in your own ish!
-love, the tiki ghost

The Stunningly Handsome Nate Perkins said...

I always just got old people who couldn't understand what the survey was asking, but were more than happy to talk to me. I heard about how this lady still read her big-print Bible every day even though she had "but one eye." I heard a lot about sterility and ointments as well. I can't wait 'til I get old.

I like this Tiki Ghost character. He's got good ideas. I think we should name our new band The Tiki Ghosts. Seriously. It's a great name.

Alex Morrise said...

"Hi, this is Alex Morrise from Harris Interactive."

"Uh, I'm on that Do Not Call list."

"Harris Interacive is not included in that list."

"Yes, you are. You guys are telemarketers."

"Actually we're Market Researchers. We're doing a study on--"

"No, you're telemarketers. I'm on that list, and if you call me again, I'll sue you."

"Okay. I'll be sure not to--"

"In fact, where do you work?"

"Harris Interactive."

"Harrisson Attractive?"

"Harris Interactive."

"Yeah. Uh-huh. Telemarketers. Where is Harris Interactive?"

"I'm not sure where the base of it is. I work for a small division."

"Oh, sure. So where is that?"

"1998 S. Columbia Lane, Orem, Utah."

"Alright. Who runs that place?"

"No idea."

"How long have you been working there?"

"Two weeks."

"You're an idiot. Don't call me again."

"You got it."

becks said...

bud, i think you need to write a new post. have you been skiing yet this season?