Mantis shrimps' eyes are more evolved than humans: they have four times as many color receptors and can see ultraviolet, visible, and polarized light.

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veryone has gotten a call from a telemarketer, the new Scourge of the Telephone System. Previously when the phone rang, you always wondered if it was someone you knew or another nimrod with something to sell. Well, the time has come to turn the tables. We need to take control of our own phones. We need to take the "market" out of "telemarketing."

PREMISE - Telemarketers take the brute force approach to making sales. If you talk to a whole bunch of people, someone will buy what you're selling.

COUNTER-TACTIC - Waste as much of their time as you can. Each minute that you waste means several potential customers that will not be reached. Make telemarketing unprofitable. Hanging up only increases the chances for them to make a sale. Don't let this happen

HINTS - Most of the preliminary stuff is done by someone making minimum wage, reading from script. Let him/her finish. It's easy points (see SCORING below), and besides, you were watching "Star Trek" and weren't using your phone anyway. It's easy to keep a telemarketer interested using attentive grunting, similar to when your mother calls.


Each minute spent on the phone: 10 points for each minute
Getting transferred to someone who makes more than minimum wage: 15 points
Each minute spent on the phone with person making more than minimum wage: 25 points


Getting telemarketer to repeat part of the script: 5 points each
Getting answers to stupid questions: 15 points each
Changing the subject: 50 points
Making the telemarketer angry: 175 points
Making the telemarketer hang up: 750 points
Call back, get his/her boss on the phone, and tell him/her the telemarketer hung up on you: 1,500 points
Getting their 1-800 number: 10 points
Checking the number a week later and it's busy or disconnected: 5,000 points


[phone rings]

    You: Yes?

    Them: Hi, I'm with Fly-By-Night Carpet Cleaning and we're in your area (...)

[start clock]

    Them: (...) would like to know if you're interested.

    You: Sure.

    Them: Well, we are currently offering (...) depending on the size of the rooms.

    You: Well, how much for the whole house? [15 bonus pts]

    Them: Let me transfer you to __XXX___


    Them: Sir/Ma'am?

    You: Yes? [25 pts/min]

    Them: How large is your house?

    You: Oh, about 2,000 square feet.

    Them: [calculates amount] Well, that would be about $xxx.

    You: [duh?] It won't hurt the floor, will it?

    Them: Oh, no! We use a [... explanation--this usually takes some time...] and is completely safe.

    You: [duh?] Even with my pets?

    Them: Oh, yes. The chemicals we use [...]

    You: Do you have to pre-treat, since I have pets?

    Them: Yes, and we do that with [...]

    You: [getting a repeat] But the original offer was for $39.95, does that include treating for pets?

    Them: [...]

    You: [subject change] Well, it *is* kind of dirty. The guys were over for the game. Did you see the Cowboys vs. the Rams?

    Them: Yes.

    You: What a game! That last touchdown pass! Wasn't that a great play?

    Them: Well, back to your house ...

    You: Oh, yes. Well, what about moving the furniture?

    Them: [...]

    You: [subject change] Do you clean furniture, too? Those guys spilled some beer. Have you smelled old beer on furniture before? But what a game, eh?! I couldn't believe they couldn't move the ball in the second quarter ... [...]

    Them: [getting angry] Ahem ... would you like us to come out?

    You: Well, when could you come out?

    Them: How about next week?

    You: Hmmm ... morning or afternoon?

    Them: Either would be fine.

    You: Do you have anything the week after?

    Them: Sure. Can I put you down for Tuesday?

[Okay, let's try for those last big bonus points:]

    You: Well, I don't think it matters, since I have all hardwood floors here.

    Them: [click!] [Yes! 750 points!]