By Don Mueller
Recently, there's been a number of newspaper articles telling us that marketers know an awful lot about us. Marketing databases are getting more complex, and specialized information gatherers know a lot of personal information about us. That way, when a telemarketer calls someone, they can target the right people, and sell them exactly what they want. Some people are concerned that too many people know too much about them.
Maybe I'm living on another planet, but of the thousands of telemarketers who have called me in the past 26 years, not a single one of them knew beans about what I like or dislike. I get one or two telemarketing calls a day, and just for starters, the callers do not have an inkling about even these basic facts concerning me:
1. I haven't purchased anything from a telemarketer for 23 years, and I don't intend to, just out of principle. Somehow that's not in their database yet.
2. I normally treat a telemarketer with the same respect as a derelict on my property. You'd think the word would've gotten around after all these years that I'm a terminal crank.
3. Unless the call is from Cybill Shepherd, Madonna, Sharon Stone or likewise, I'm usually disappointed by anybody else who would call me at home.
4. I'm not usually sitting by the phone eating chocolates waiting for the sound of a human voice to keep me company. I'm normally in the middle of an important project. (sleeping, archiving my collections, writing my articles)
5. I'm stingy. The last time I gave a waitress a tip was in 1986, when I told a waitress to "lose some weight".
The lack of information that these telemarketers have about me really astound me. Frequently they don't even know how to pronounce my name. What really gets me is when I get a call, "Is Mrs. Mueller there?"
Now, why would they call MY phone number, and then ask for my mother? Once again, they haven't done their research properly. About 26 years ago I decided to take a bold step and move out from my parents roof. It's in the records. And yes, I even got my own telephone number! I don't recall doing anything to falsely indicate that my mama came with me during this momentous move. Not only that, but both of my parents passed on about a decade ago, and their obituaries were actually published in the local newspapers. And again, the telemarketers didn't seem to take notice.
"When do you expect Mrs. Mueller to return?"
"Oh, Judgment Day would be a good guess."
I've gotten a number of calls for various long distance carriers. I usually tell them, "No, I never call long distance, because I don't have any friends." They never know what to say after that! Don't they ever get the point that a product can be sold by creating a market for it? Get me some friends, then I'll make some phone calls. That sounds pretty simple to me.
Or I get calls to join a book club. I usually ask, "say, do you have a book on 'How to Eliminate Telemarketers?'" Funny, they never have that one. Don't they ever do market research to find out what kind of books I would really like to have??
Then there's the telemarketers who obviously haven't done any research about my living conditions, and they ask, "Do you have storm doors?" I say, "Gosh, I don't know. Let me check". About 20 minutes later, I may check the phone to see if they're still there.
Many years ago I learned that the few times I actually got a telemarketer with a pleasant female voice, it was only a front. For example, she would say seductively, "would you like us to come over to your house tonight with a free gift and show you more?" So did she? Of course not. She didn't ever come. She always would send over some old guy with a cigar, plaid suit, a name that would resemble "Bilko", and a cheap gift that indicated he had a tie-in with the cracker jack company, prize division. I took a bath and used mouthwash for that??
Well, I've decided to take constructive action against such ignorant telemarketers. If they don't have enough sense to properly gather accurate information about me, I'll just hafta give it to them myself. So, telemarketers, stick THIS into your database:
Marketing Profile of Don Mueller
Whenever approached by anybody who reeks of being a salesman, he instantly goes into his carmudgeon personality. Treats all salesman like crap, with the exception of girl scouts selling cookies, in which he actually refuses to buy
cookies with a smidgen of civility. It's possible that he will listen to the pitch of a salesperson, if she's young and single and goes for aging carmudgeons, and likes to listen to old showbiz stories. Any checks that he writes likely will give an example of his fiction writing abilities.
Products that he may actually buy:
1.Something that would attract young single women to his house.
2.Now that I think of it, a young single woman.
3.A money back way of winning the lotto. In another words, if he uses the company's method of entering, and he doesn't win the million, then the
company owes him a million dollars.
4. A pop can recycler that not only smashes cans, but smashes 'em into quarters.
5. Bubble mailers filled with helium, so that when he mails something, the weight is zero and he doesn't have to pay postage.
6. A really good way to silence noisy, neighborhood kids who throw balls at his house when he's trying to take a nap.
7. An electronic jammer to silence noisy radios in the neighborhood.
8. X-ray specs that really work.
Now, of course, I'm a realist. I know how much good this article is really going to do. A day after this is published, my phone will ring, and I'll hear:
"Uh, hello? Is uh, Mistah Mule, er, Merler, uh Milhous, um Muller there?
Have you thought about your funeral plans yet?"
Isn't the Information age amazing?
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