I wrote this piece in 2002, after receiving a phone call from the most annoying telemarketer in history. After telling him that I was very interested in signing up for his “free” water test, I asked him to hold on so I could find a pencil to write down the details. I then put the phone on the counter and finished my dinner. The gullible moron waited for about 13 minutes before finally hanging up. I never heard from him again.

© 2002 Mark W. Mayfield

If you’re a telemarketer, I have bad news for you. Most Americans are no longer fooled by your modus operandi (a Latin phrase meaning “obnoxious, sneaky sales tactics”). They know how to spot a sales pitch within the first five seconds of your call. When you mention “aluminum siding,” “or “low long-distance phone rates,” they gleefully hang up in your ear. They laugh when you offer them a “free water purity test.” They mock you when you say, “Congratulations! You’ve won a free roof inspection!” Like wily fish that see the same phony worm over and over again, they’re impossible to hook.

But take heart, my speed-dialing friend, because I’ve developed several innovative telemarketing techniques that never fail to dupe today’s savvy, streetwise consumers. I know that these methods work because I’ve tried them on myself, and they fooled me! Here are actual transcripts of me fooling myself with three revolutionary telemarketing techniques.

The Flattery-Will-Get-You-Everywhere Technique:


Me: Hello?

Imaginary female telemarketer: WOW! You have a magnificent voice! It’s so deep and sexy, and your enunciation is superb. Are you a professional speaker?

Me: (Lowering my voice and pronouncing my words perfectly) No, but sometimes, when I’m alone, I pretend to be a TV newscaster.

Telemarketer: Well, sir, if you look as good as you sound, you should be on TV. Your voice is giving me goose bumps! OHMYGOSH! I can’t believe I said that! I’m babbling like a star-struck schoolgirl. I’m supposed to be telling you about our company’s energy-saving dual-pane windows, but now I’m too flustered to deliver my sales pitch. I think I should hang up before I start making suggestive comments.

Me: (Desperately trying to sound like a TV newscaster) Wait! Please don’t hang up. I’m very interested in “cool stained windows” or whatever you said. Please tell me more.

The Never-Fail Guilt-Trip Technique:


Me: Hello?

Imaginary Fundraising Telemarketer: Thousands of blind, crippled puppies need your help right now.

Me: They do?

Imaginary Fundraising Telemarketer: Yes, and they can’t wait. If these puppies could talk, they’d say, “Please help us, Mr. Mayfield. We’re poor, pitiful puppies who need a little love from a wonderful man like you.” (At this point, the telemarketer imitates the heartbreaking whimper of a sad puppy.)

Me: (Choking up) Please stop! That’s so sad.

Imaginary Fundraising Telemarketer: Yes, Mr. Mayfield, it is sad, but it gets worse. These fluffy little puppies are also homeless orphans who forage for tiny scraps of food by busy highways, dangerously close to fast-moving traffic.

Me: STOP!!

Imaginary Fundraising Telemarketer: These neglected puppies have no caring mothers to nurture them. They have no strong fathers to protect them. They have no loving masters to neuter and spay them. They don’t even have rawhide chew toys. Won’t you help them, sir? Imagine their happiness and gratitude when I tell them that a very nice man named Mr. Mayfield made a generous donation to the “Blind, Crippled Puppy Foundation.” (At this point, the telemarketer imitates the happy, high-pitched barks of a happy, grateful puppy.)

Me: (sobbing) Is ten thousand dollars enough? If not, I’ll sell my car and include the puppies in my will.

The Listen-To-Me-Or-Else Technique:


Me: Hello?

Imaginary stupid teenage Telemarketer: That stuff is gonna kill you, dude!

Me: What stuff?

Imaginary stupid teenage Telemarketer: Your tap water, dude! It’s full of deadly bacteria, poisonous chemicals and lots of other harmful stuff that can make you really, really stupid!

Me: You mean really, really stupid like you?

Imaginary stupid teenage Telemarketer: Heck, yeah, dude! I grew up drinking tap water like yours. That’s why I say “dude” so much. Dude, if you don’t want your kids to be like me, you should buy our expensive water purification system. Waddya think, dude?

Me: Sign me up.

To learn more revolutionary telemarketing techniques, order my complete home course entitled “Call Them at Dinnertime.” And if you order within the next hour, you’ll win a free septic tank inspection.

E-mail Mark at


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