Tag Archives: telemarketer

How to Prank Telemarketers

Geek!This is John Albrecht’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

  1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money. Ask: “How long can I keep it? Do I ever have to pay it back, or is it like the other money I borrowed before my bankruptcy?”
  2. If they start out with: “How are you today?” Say: “Why do you want to know?” You can also say: “I’m so glad you asked, because no one seems to care these days and I have all these problems, my sciatica is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died.” When they try to get back to the sales process, just continue sharing your problems.
  3. If the person says he’s Joe Doe from the XYZ Company, ask him to spell his name, then ask him to spell the company name, then ask where it is located. Continue asking personal questions or questions about the company for as long as necessary.
  4. This one works better if you are male: Telemarketer: “Hi, my name is Judy and I’m with Canter and Siegel services.” You: “Hang on a second. [pause] Okay, [in a really husky voice] what are you wearing?”
  5. Crying out, in well simulated tones of pleasure and surprise: “Judy! Is this really you? I can’t believe it! Judy, how have you BEEN?” Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of terror as she tries to figure out where the heck she could know you from.
  6. Say: “No,” over and over. Be sure to vary the sound of each “no,” and keep an even tempo even as they’re trying to speak. This is the most fun if you can keep going until they hang up.
  7. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up with their Family and Friends plan, reply, in as sinister a voice as you can muster: “I don’t have any friends… would you be my friend?”
  8. If they clean rugs: “Can you get blood out, you can? Well, how about goat blood or human blood – chicken blood, too?”
  9. Let the person go through their spiel, providing minimal but necessary feedback in the form of an occasional affirmation. Finally, when they ask you to buy, ask them to marry you. They get all flustered, but just tell them you couldn’t give your credit card number to someone who’s a complete stranger.
  10. Tell them you work for the same company they work for. Telemarketer: “This is Bill from Watertronics.” You: “Watertronics! Hey I work for them too. Where are you calling from?” Telemarketer: “Uh, Dallas, Texas.” You: “Great, they have a group there too? How’s business / the weather? Too bad the company has a policy against selling to employees! Oh well, see ya.”
  11. Tell the telemarketer that you’re busy and ask for their phone number so that you can call them back. If they say they are not allowed to give out their number, then ask them for their home number and tell them you will call them at home (this is usually the most effective method of getting rid of telemarketers). If the person says: “Well, I don’t really want to get a call at home,” say: “Yeah, now you know how I feel.”

Telemarketing: Comcast's Traffic Shaping Feature

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So this telemarketer from Comcast called me the other night. He attempted to sell me their Triple Play package. He kept letting me know how much I needed their services… even though I already have them. Once it became apparent that the guy had no clue what their services actually ARE and what they DO… I decided to have fun with him.

You’ll hear me tease the guy, and ask him if I can get the Traffic Shaping “feature” with my order. He, of course, had no idea what that even was. I was astounded. For anyone else who may not know, let’s see what Wikipedia has to say:

Traffic shaping (also known as “packet shaping”) is an attempt to control computer network traffic in order to optimize or guarantee performance, low latency, and/or bandwidth by delaying packets. More specifically, traffic shaping is any action on a set of packets (often called a stream or a flow) which imposes additional delay on those packets such that they conform to some predetermined constraint (a contract or traffic profile). Traffic shaping provides a means to control the volume of traffic being sent into a network in a specified period (bandwidth throttling), or the maximum rate at which the traffic is sent (rate limiting), or more complex criteria such as GCRA. This control can be accomplished in many ways and for many reasons; however traffic shaping is always achieved by delaying packets. Traffic shaping is commonly applied at the network edges to control traffic entering the network, but can also be applied by the traffic source (for example, computer or network card) or by an element in the network. Traffic policing is the distinct but related practice of packet dropping and packet marking.

Accusations of Comcast shaping traffic has been widely publicized lately. On Monday, there will actually be a special meeting of the FCC to discuss this exact claim. The main discussion will be focused on “network neutrality and traffic shaping”. It will be interesting to see what affect this meeting could end up having on the way traffic shaping is applied.

This past Friday, another Class Action Lawsuit was filed against Comcast. While Comcast insisting their brand of network management is “reasonable” might thwart the FCC’s investigation into the practice, the courts may see things differently. According to a statement from the law firm involved, Comcast is misleading customers by saying they offer the “fastest Internet connection,” because the ISP “intentionally blocks or impedes its customer’s access to peer-to-peer file sharing.”

Of course, Comcast is defending its practices. While the company finally admits that its doing some traffic shaping, it’s clearly gearing up to fight any allegation that it was wrong in its actions. As Broadband Reports notes, the company uses the word “reasonable” over 40 times. That’s no surprise, since the FCC has said that it would allow “reasonable” network practices. It also uses some questionable metaphors for its actions suggesting that forging packets (oops, sorry, “resets”) are perfectly normal activity, comparing it to a fax machine getting a busy signal.

So… what do you think? Should the FCC be cracking down on this? Or is Comcast just possibly in the right? Leave me a follow-up comment, or send me an email to [email protected], and share your thoughts.


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