Idling the Phone

SanjayamaniaOne of the thankless jobs that many of us have had—or continue to endure—is one wherein we are, at the very best, in a cubicle the likes of which make the one Dilbert inhabits look like a Byzantine palace. Or we may be sitting at a table with a multitude of other people, all of whom are thinking “Is this all there is?” while waiting for the shift to end and the angst to ebb. Meanwhile, the “supervisor” sits superciliously, ready to pounce on our least foible or major fuckup. Let’s face it: It is hard to get away from the latter, given what it is that we’re doing to earn the sort of money that even the denizens of McDonald’s would scoff at.

Yes, we’re talking about the telephone solicitor job. Read the script if you don’t get an immediate hang up. Handle objections by skipping to other passages. Hope like hell that you’re able to sign the suckers up for magazines or windows or whatever. Then dial it again. And again. And again. Yes, this is what you went to school for.

Of course, the National Do Not Call Registry has made it somewhat more difficult for the people who must bang on phone-answers for a living. But apparently, there is something that is ratcheting up the level of trouble for the phone jockeys: “American Idol.”

Listen (don’t hang up, er, log off) to Dick Worick, president and CEO of The MSR Group, a market research company [it doesn’t want to have you sign up for subscriptions, just give away what you know or think or believe for free]: “Over the past two weeks we have seen our interviewers’ production levels”—nice, eh, “production levels,” almost as good as Glengarry Glen Ross—”go down significantly on ‘American Idol’ nights. The rates have gone from 3.2 completed surveys per hour to about 2.5, a 22% decrease. The biggest drop occurred last week during the ‘Idol Gives Back’ episode, where we saw a 41% decrease. Production rates have remained normal on all other days of the week and even for other times of the day.”

No word on the effects of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Perhaps the next time you get such a call you should simply terminate it with a “Seacrest—out.”

4 thoughts on “Idling the Phone”

  1. Wow.

    One of the worst jobs I ever had was as a telemarketer. I lasted one night. I don’t do so well with people who WANT to talk to me, so calling people out of the blue really never stood much of a chance.

    My job with the census bureau was only slightly better – at least most of the time I was driving around listening to tunes.

  2. So the one benfit we can identify from American Idol is it may help to bring down the telemarketing industry. What’s that saying about the lesser of two evils?

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