Spammed


Nine times. These relentless sales people called my phone NINE times within THREE hours. I had answered around the fourth call and said, “I am not interested, please remove my number from your list.” With that I hung up. I thought I had sounded firm, but evidently it was not enough.

Here’s the story, or the warning–however you want to view the situation. My ultimate goal is to publish a children’s book within the next few years. I had found an illustrator, but I’m a little short on the funds to make it happen as soon as I’d like. Through conversations about my options, someone threw out the word “grant”. This is like a magic spell for a poor person with big dreams. I searched for Web sites on the Internet and found one that seemed legit.

The site, https://www.newusafunding.com, had a secure address so I felt confident entering my email, phone number and address. I submitted the information and was brought to a page that asked for the sign up fee for $29.99. Due to my fiscal budget, I figured I should discuss any purchase with the hubby before I made some sort of commitment. With that, I closed my computer and headed to my sister’s house to wash a load of clothes. (Our washer quit on us over a month ago, but that’s another story all together).

Within 30 minutes I received a phone call from an unknown local number. It was a representative from the site and they were running a $19.99 phone special. I said that I would have to talk to my husband and asked if they could call later. He said his name was Clint Hicks and that he would call me the next day. I did receive a call the next day and he left a message with his extension number. I had an important meeting and did not return the call.

Four days later I receive another call from Mr. Hicks. I told him that we decided to postpone plans due to unexpected circumstances. I told him if I changed my mind that I had his number saved and would call back. This was not a lie. He sounded genuine and thanked me for my time. I hung up and felt pretty positive about the whole experience.

Then the torture started.

Forty-five minutes later my phone rang and had a very unfamiliar number. The area code was 548. I ignored the call and waited to see if the caller left a message. They did not. Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. Same number. Again, I ignored. Again, no message. After the third call I googled the 548 area code. The only information said it was not an actual area code, but one used for spam calls.

At the top of the hour my phone rang again. I was hesitant to answer, but the situation was absurd. I answered and there was a two second delay. “May I speak to Elise?” a foreign man asked. “Who is this?” I replied. “Blah Blah with some kind of government grant,” is all I could understand. “I am not interested. Please remove my number from this list,” I said in a stern manner. Well, stern for me.

I was proud of myself. I am usually too timid to tell someone, “No.” But I am very weary of the gimmicks of today.  You can never tell when something is sincere or a scam. I am usually quite cautious to give information through the Internet. I am still a people-person. When I conduct business I like to look someone in the eye and shake their hand.

Fifteen minutes later my phone rang again and it was the 548-number. I nearly exploded. How did he have the audacity to call again? At this point I felt very harassed. Seriously. Five calls in a little over an hour, isn’t that against the law or something? Especially after I said, “No.” I know it’s not a rape case, but it was starting to feel just as violating. I thought I was going to have to go to my phone provider and ask to have the number blocked. Talk about inconvenient.

I went to my sister’s shop for a haircut. When I looked at my phone I had another three missed calls from the number. I lost my composure as my sister washed my hair. I told them about the calls and asked if there was anything I can do. My sis and her co-worker laughed at how frazzled I was, until the phone rang again. Sis picked up the phone and saw it was the 548 number. She answered and what happened next still makes me laugh because it still makes me uncomfortable.

“STOOOOOOOOOP CALLIIIIIIIING THIS NUMBER!! TAKE THIS NUMBER OFF OF THIS LIST. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?? DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? STOP!”

I think the cars passing on the street heard her. My unborn started to kick my belly. I almost crapped my pants. She then politely hung up the phone, smiled and said, “There. I don’t think they will call you back again.”

And they haven’t.

Evidently the only way to rationalize with unwanted solicitation is to go completely ape shit. Salesmen are trained to drive you crazy. It is instructed that it normally takes seven, “no’s” before you get a “yes”. So if you are a nice person who can empathize with the fact that someone is just trying to make some kind of living during a recession and respect their position, you end up getting harassed. Because if you say, “No, Thank you,” to a sales person that means you still have six more tries before you break.

Morally I’m conflicted. If they don’t respect my, “No, Thank you,” why should I respect them at all? I have more than enough on my mind to worry about than unwanted sales calls. I guess the real moral of this story is to avoid looking for the “easy” ways. It always ends with more headache than it’s worth. Nothing is free. And this kind of catch ends up with you on the hook.

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