Unsolicited Parenting Advice– From A Telemarketer?!

Emmie, my 10-year-old, posed a humorous question to me yesterday, as she was making her lunch and our caller ID voice (who we think sounds just like the lady from our neighborhood Chinese restaurant) suddenly filled the air.  Emmie had just heard me say, “Don’t answer it– I recognize that name and it’s a telemarketer.”  She paused a moment, pouring leftover chili into a bowl, and said, “Mom, do telemarketers like getting calls from telemarketers?” What a great question.  I wonder if they do? I wonder if they run to the phone with glee and always pick up, listen carefully, and then say something nice? 

I was cured of talking to telemarketers a couple years ago. After a long, tiring day, I was preparing dinner when the phone rang. I could tell it was a telemarketer’s number (why do they always have to call at mealtimes?) so I chose to let the answering system get it, and at the time we had one of those where you hear the message as it’s being left, so you can “screen” your calls.  And I got to hear an earful– a loud recorded message, about how “marriage should be between a man and a woman, and to join the fight against same sex marriage, call this number” …it also said a few more things about gays and lesbians, if I recall.  Now, put aside any political/social opinions you have about the topic and consider what I was thinking: I’m glad my youngest child wasn’t home at the time, because I hadn’t talked to her about that topic and I really wasn’t ready to broach the subject while chopping celery.  I thought about a young mom at home with an even younger child playing at her feet, and got madder.  Oh, sure, we modern parents are used to deflecting “unwanted sexual advances” when our kids are in tow, from the Viagra ads on the car radio,  to the “57 Ways to Please Your Man in Bed” magazine covers that scream at us in the grocery store checkout line, and the “Condoms to Go” billboard that’s been staring at our family along a major highway for at least 10 years.   But there was something about a total stranger using my phone lines to yap about a sexual topic in my own home that really got my blood boiling.   Every parent knows when the time is right to explain various things to their children, and I had made a conscious decision that it wasn’t right yet for Emmie, that she wasn’t at the right maturity level and neither was anyone in her class.  I felt like our privacy had just been grossly invaded, and I thought that whatever organization this was might want to re-think their marketing techniques (after all, I studied advertising in college and used to work in PR).  And so, heart beating very fast, I called the number in the message.

“I just want you to know that I don’t appreciate you calling my house and leaving a message on this subject because I have young children,” I said, “and I’m not ready for them to hear about this.”  The young guy on the other end immediately copped an attitude, much to my surprise.  “Well, then you should always pick up the phone!” he declared, matter-of-factly. Wow, nothing gets the adrenaline flowing like a smart-ass telemarketer.
“WHAT?” I said, raising my voice.  “Are you kidding me? That’s what an answering machine is for!! I’m a parent! I don’t have time to answer the phone every time it rings!”
Smart-ass telemarketer: “Well, then you should be telling your children about gay marriage.”
Nothing sends a parent’s anger off the charts like having a telemarketer give them parenting advice. I was so mad at that point, I can’t remember exactly what I said.  I know it involved the words “How dare you” and slamming down the phone.

I stood there in my kitchen, staring at my pile of celery, not believing what had just transpired.  What breed of telemarketer is this, who has the nerve to tell me how to answer the phone and how to raise my kids?? Do they not care anymore whether they make sales or win votes?? And wasn’t he representing a conservative organization who supposedly is concerned about “family values”?  I could have pursued the matter further, but I didn’t want them to waste any more of my time. 

We have an answering system now where the messages are left internally. And my child now knows a lot about the birds and the bees and gay marriage– but thanks to me and my timetable, not a telemarketer’s.

7 thoughts on “Unsolicited Parenting Advice– From A Telemarketer?!”

  1. One of the things I’ve done in the past after getting a telemarketer call is look them up and post a complaint on callcatalog.com — one little thing I can give back to society 🙂

  2. tester

    Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I discovered a sea shell and inflicted my 4 year old little girl and said “You could hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off subject but I had to tell someone!

  3. tumi バッグ

    だから、高齢化が、それにもかかわらず重要な 911 に代わる 924 偉大な実際には理にかなって多くなります。イギリスでこれらの単純なハイエンド製品のいずれかの値が通常よりもヨーロッパ プラス U ので。s.、多数の例外的な女性を入れたり、その仲間の労働者ほぼ確かにチェック アウトです出差項目の店のこれらの人々 に危険なアメリカ人の友人が、厳しいサービス後権利ない保証が付いています。

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