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January 22, 2006

Go Seahawks!

My two favorite NFL football teams are the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburg Steelers... and they will meet each other in Superbowl 40 (in two weeks). I root for the Steelers when the Seahawks aren't involved, so I during the Superbowl, I will be on the side chanting...


January 18, 2006

How do you deal with Telemarketers?

One of life's biggest annoyances has to be telemarketers. They call at dinnertime, they don't give you a chance to speak, they try to convince you that you can't live without their services, and then they don't take no for an answer.

We got caller-ID so we wouldn't have to take their calls, but many of their numbers come up as 'unknown'. If you don't answer, they just keep calling back. We also found that our Canadian family member's number sometimes come up as 'unknown', so we try to answer them.

After concluding that caller-ID was not a solution to the problem, I adopted a different strategy. I started answering the calls, but I would immediately ask to be removed from their call list. In most cases, this worked to end the sales pitch, but not everyone was content to accept defeat so easily -- some would actually continue trying to convince me that I needed to purchase their credit card security feature. The downside of this method is that it doesn't prevent you from getting put on another corporate giant's call list...

A few months ago at Monday Night Football, I was discussing the whole telemarketing thing with Jeremy and Sabino, and they said I should get on the Do Not Call List. I had always intended to get on the list, but hadn't realized how easy it was. If you are not on the list yet, you really should register -- if took about a month and a half for the calls to stop, but for the most part, they have. We do still hear from the occasional low interest mortgage company, and we still get a few charities calling... which brings us to the next moral dilemma...

Should I treat charity telemarketers the same as corporate telemarketers?

I am still undecided... since charity telemarketers don't identify themselves right away, they don't get treated any different than regular telemarketers until they identify themselves. My typical conversation goes like this:

TM: [pause] Hello, may I please speak to Mrs. Stephanie Roth?
Me: Who's calling?
TM: My name is [so-and-so] and I represent a charity she supports.
Me: This is her husband, how can I help you?
TM: Is Mrs. Roth available?
Me: I handle the financial decisions for our family, how can I help you?
TM: I represent [insert charity here] bla-bla-bla, can we count on your support?
Me: We are now giving all charitable contributions through our local church, so we can't help you out this year.
----Conversation ends----

While we do give to charities other than those associated with our local church, we generally don't care to give to charities that choose telemarketing as a form of fund-raising. We will give to many different causes (and probably some that use telemarketing), but we will do it in our own time, not when being pressured over the phone.

So, what about you -- how do you deal with telemarketers? Do you just hang up the phone when you hear the pause? Do you try to be polite? Do you treat charities any different than you do corporate giants?

January 6, 2006

Questions you don't expect from a 3-year-old.

Just the other day, driving along in the car...

Noah: Where does the rain come from?

Mama: From the clouds.

Noah: How does the rain get in the clouds?

Mama: That's a question for your papa to answer.

Papa (thinking of a simple answer): The clouds soak up water as they move over the ocean, and then drop it as rain when it gets over land.

Noah seemed to accept my answer just fine, but I just wonder what kind of images (of water ascending to the clouds) are going through his little mind...