By Frank Houtz, BYNA Elder
Don’t you just love the telemarketers who call at supper time? It seems like I cannot sit down at the table without the phone ringing prior to our first bite. I have added our number to the do not call registry, but there are still some brave salesmen, or automatic dialers that do not believe that “do not call” applies to them. It is so frustrating to get up from the table, while everyone is waiting for the prayer to finally be said, to answer the nagging phone just to find out it is a sales call, trying to sell us pork chops at a cheap price. Organic, healthy pork chops, delivered directly to your door step, only $4.95 a pound. Words that should not be uttered, cross my mind. I try to politely bring the call to an end, but too often I am interrupted by another attempt to tell me how good these pork chops are. My benevolence is mistaken for a real desire for their sumptuous product, when in reality I eat Kosher and am repulsed by the thought. So much for being nice! But still, it is my responsibility to properly represent God to these people. Why does it matter? Its the congregation phone that I answer and the congregation is labeled by the way in which the one who answers the phone behaves. When the caller ID is displayed on the modern devices we call telephones, it shows “Congregation Beit Minorah,” so my actions represent the whole group, whatever it is.
How bad is this sales call phenomenon affecting our society? Do you love to get those sales calls? What makes these sincere salespeople so loathed by the general populace? They just have a message they wish to give to a people they perceive need their product. Do they make you desire their product? I have placed my number on the “Do Not Call Registry,” but they still keep calling. The numbers evidently fall off of the list after a period of time and you have to reenlist for the “Do Not Call Registry” if sales calls resume. Is there anything we can do to rid ourselves of this pestilence? I believe there is.
At one time I owned an automobile service garage. Since, every call may have been a paying client, I was conditioned to answer every ring. That was how I paid the bills. This was before caller ID, so we just needed to talk to everyone who called. Often I was on my back under a car attempting to fix a problem just to hear the ringing of the phone. The previous owner of this business had a body shop, which supplied a continuous drone of loud running tools. To offset the din, he had installed a bell for the phone that sounded like the public school fire alarm. It was right in the bay where I most often worked. The decibels were incredible and I could never get used to its sudden intrusion into my peace. One day, while I was laying under a car checking the CV boots, the phone’s alarm bell sounded. I was startled and my head hit the undercarriage. Blood began to flow down my forehead. I had just a short time to get to the phone to take care of that possible needy customer. I made it to the phone to discover it was the AT&T phone rep who called at least twice a month, asking if I wanted him to share how I could increase my incoming phone calls. He wanted me to spend $1500.00 on a yellow pages ad. My patience spent, I informed him that if he called again, I would have the phone removed. I had too much interruption already and I didn’t need any more.
The other day I was trying to contact a local concrete company to order a truckload of concrete. I called and got an answering machine that requested I leave a message, only to then declare that the message machine was full. I thought they must have closed for the evening and I would try in the morning. I called in the morning and got the same problem. I continued until about 9:30am and then thought, “has the place closed?” I got in the car, drove to town to the concrete plant and found three people sitting in the office discussing the ballgame. I asked if they were having phone problems. They said they’d had many calls already this morning. I told them I was calling and they asked if I had my phone number blocked. I said, “not that I know of,” since I didn’t know if one of my children had done that at sometime but, I assured him I didn’t even know how to block my phone number. They said they do not answer calls from block phone numbers. They don’t have time for all the sales calls. Then it hit me, Beit Minorah. Nobody knows what Beit Minorah is. It is a church, but who has ever heard of a church with a Hebrew name? They probably think it is a sales call. So sales calls have gotten so bad that they were ignoring a call from someone who was wanting to spend over a thousand dollars with them. Wow, have we ever been badly trained. It is a sub-conscious training, but training just the same.
Don’t you just hate these unwanted calls? Is there any way to stop it? Yes there is! We are told we cannot change what other people do, but we can change our own behavior. As you continue reading, you will discover how you can have a hand in stopping this intrusive behavior, one person at a time. The first step given in Scripture is to treat others the way we wish to be treated. So for the sake of knowing how serious you are about stopping this intrusion, please click on the “I agree” link, to say that you will not participate in making unsolicited sales calls because you don’t like unsolicited sales calls. (If you disagree, but still want to read the rest of this article, then click the “I disagree” link to continue.)