Does Phone Spam Drive You Nuts?

The number of phone calls from snake-oil salesmen to my home telephone makes me want to put myself on the Do-Not-Call list. I probably should, because I'm getting to the point where I don't even want to answer the darn thing.

E-mail spam is easy (although I'll admit that so far my phone spam is not nearly so illicit). You get to your spam box when you get to it, and if a message makes it through the spam filters into your inbox, you just delete it with the click of a button. It's not so easy with the telephone, though.

There's always that long pause, right before you hear something like:
Hello, did you know that you can consolidate all of your credit cards onto just one credit card and reduce your monthly payment if you act now? Stay on the line, and an agent will be with you shortly to give you the shaft!
I don't think the product they're selling would be good for anyone. Especially someone like me who has no credit card debt.
Hi, this is Lisa, and did you know that your vehicle warranty is about to expire? Please press 1 to renew your warranty.
I hope Lisa doesn't work for Echelon, because when I swore into the phone to shut the %^&* up she probably thought I was a terrorist.

My "favorite" prank phone call, however, probably because it's the most common, is the revelation that I have just won an "absolutely free" trip to the Bahamas or someplace if I just wait for the operator to take down my information and "ask a few questions". I actually stayed on the line for that one...once. I think I need to get a new dictionary, by the way, because mine still says that "free" in the economic sense means "without cost".

Sometimes I think it would be easier to just let all phone calls go to the answering machine. But that's really not too nice. Besides, it really bugs me that for some people that I call I always get their answering machine.

Would my life be more peaceful if I got on the "Do Not Call" list? Would it help if I just bit the $6.95-per-month bullet and got caller-id?


  1. Yes, life is smoother on the DNC list, but you'll still be exposed to market research ads, charities, and the political recordings politicians have so nicely carved out a loophole for.

    Here's a tip for those on the hill: if pre-recorded unsolicited calls are illegal for marketers, they should be illegal for politicians too.

  2. Sore subject in the Logical Household today. I got the "I see you have $6000 in credit card debt press one to talk to a rep to see if we can help reduce your debt." A couple of problems here....a) we don't HAVE $6000 in credit card debt because b) WE DON'T HAVE ANY CREDIT CARDS! I pressed one to talk to a rep to get our number taken off of their list and before I could get my name and number and take me off....the rep HUNG UP ON ME!!!!

    At that point I logged on to the Do Not Call list registry website and put our number on it!

    I get about 20 calls a day and I am lucky if one out of every 30 calls that we get is really for's so frustrating when you are trying to get work done.


  3. The DNC list works, though there are those choice individuals who will ignore it entirely. One thing you can do is sign up for a GrandCentral phone number and use their anti-spam features to play "number is not in service" messages to them when they call it. You can also use to figure out who these callers really are.

  4. The Do-Not-Call list works to a point. It doesn't appear to be actively enforced, and as mentioned by Tom, politicians gave telemarketers a lot of loop holes to us. If you do make a complaint it is stored in a database, in case the Federal Government ever want to pursue action against the company. I doubt my many complains to this point will ever be reviewed at all - that is, if they were even saved in the first place.

    My most annoying call of late was a medical insurance company where the rep said he couldn't put my name on their do-not-call list, until I let him do his job and provide information on my current insurance coverage.

  5. Tom,

    I agree. I've probably hung up on as many Republicans asking me for money as I have OTHER telemarketers.

    LL, Jesse, UK,

    We don't get that many calls, but it's irritating enough. I guess I was naive thinking that Do-Not-Call would work better than that. I like the concept of It's too bad, as in the case of the medical insurance company, that they moralize their irritating interruptions.

    Actually probably my worst experience, now that I think of it, is those charities that call pretending to be some local charity, when in fact they're not. They keep calling because we got suckered several years ago into donating, and they won't take us off their list.

  6. Hey Frank,

    That photo you're using is a licensed image. I noticed the upswing in hits on that photo and tracked it back to here since you couldn't even be bothered to host the photo on your own server, and chose to let mine take the load.

    I highly recommend you remove the photo from your blog, because it's a copyright violation. If you'd like to license the photo, please go to and you can purchase it there. Thank you for your attention to this concern.


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