Just got a call from someone who has not been taught manners. When telephoning someone, especially someone you don’t know, the general guideline is that the caller identifies himself first, then asks for the person being called.
This was an unsolicited call from some company. What company? Still don’t know. [Name offered, possibly not his real name] said he was calling from the “Auto Processing Department.” When asked “of what?” he didn’t seem to understand the question. Pressed for the name of the company, he repeated “Auto Processing Department,” then adjusted slightly to “Auto Processing Center.”
Never did get a company name; have no idea what product or service was being offered. Caller–a young guy located in California–probably didn’t go to college for this, assuming he went. But this–telephone soliciting–was in all probability the only job he could land. Usually I try to be decent to cold callers, when I make the mistake of answering the phone, but this time the caller gave up, courteously, signing off wishing me a good day. Irritating though the whole thing was, I hope at least the job is just for the summer. It’s still a waste of everyone’s time. But our anti-regulation types on the whole won’t hear of protecting consumers against waste of time, waste of money, product malfunction, service misfeasance, or outright fraud.
We need our Do Not Call list capabilities again.
More fundamentally, we need to invest in our country, so our young people will have something to do besides telephone soliciting, waiting tables and bartending.
Rep. Boehner and Sen. McConnell seem unlikely to come through any time soon, since their place in Congress depends on preventing the Obama administration from accomplishing anything further positive. But at least the larger media outlets could report and explain the difference between debt and deficit, and the tax differential between income tax and capital gains, and the place of hedge funds and holding companies in the larger picture of wealth and income disparity in the U.S.
On related matters
Speaking of California–one of the unspoken truths in our century is that real estate in California costs too much. California is not Hawaii, certainly is not Hong Kong or Tokyo. California does not have to import almost all of its manufactured goods and most of its food. For a house to cost five times as much, or more than five times as much, in California as on the East Coast is not economically rational. There is no objective necessity for the gross difference. People should not have to finance a move to California as though they were about to rent on Saturn. The gap between California and the rest of the nation is a drag on the entire housing industry.
Re-reading the above, on second thought I do not lump in waiting tables and bartending with telephone soliciting. Waiting tables is honest work. Telephone soliciting is often not. This is not to blame a young guy for taking whatever job he could get. The fault lies with his employers, among others: He has the thankless task in the first place of calling strangers who do not want to hear from him. To perform this task, he is given no job training except on reading from a script. Probably they bestowed on him a fake name to identify himself with.
The script is a bunch of malarkey, and to have to read from it is demeaning, comparing unfavorably with reading from scripts (TV/radio commercials) pitching embarrassing body products. At least commercial voice-over pays well, something not said for telephone soliciting.
The kicker is that all the time spent by this employee on the job is subsidized through our federal tax policy; his wages or salary are a business write-off for the employer. Any time misspent or message misdirected, owing to lack of training or lack of demand or lack of good business judgment, falls under the same heading of business expenses. My time wasted, au contraire, or that of any other unwilling customer, is of course not a write-off.
Meanwhile, we’ve got GOP legislators and candidates screaming about ‘government jobs’–meaning teachers among others (firefighters, police, emergency response). These guys are perfectly willing to support half-trained telephone soliciting on behalf of possibly fraudulent products–most of these calls turn out to be about refinancing mortgages or some other form of lending, which is seldom offered via cold calling by any reputable company. They’re considerably less willing to support education at any level, in the public interest, by genuine teachers at genuine schools.
It’s the scandalous set-up for-profit diploma-mill online ‘universities’ all over again, on a smaller scale.