Monday, March 11, 2013


A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet


Enough is ENOUGH!  It is time to put an end to the terror of telephone telemarketers in  America.

I have had ALL my phones listed on the government's "Do Not Call" list since the very first day I was allowed to sign up.  The telemarketer calls are as bad today as they were then. 

Friends report to me they are receiving calls from telemarketers between 6 AM and 7 AM in the mornings, even.

I have even had telemarketer calls in the hospital -- one while I stood watch over my father as he lay on his death bed.  The call came in on the hospital line and rang the phone on the table beside my dying father.

I must admit to using all the “Sunday School Language” I knew -- and even made some up -- to spew all over that SOB on the other end of the line -- but, of course, it did no good, whatsoever.  In fact, the telemarketer on the other end of the line actually LAUGHED!

Now, I even get them on my cell phone.

Telemarketers have, for all intents and purposes, made our land-line phones useless to us.  We don't answer them anymore.  They just ring and ring and ring and we do our best to ignore them.  I have unplugged the phones from time to time, but members of my family visualize some message of earth shaking importance coming in on the phone so they do not like it when I unplug the phones.  (Actually, I have come to believe folks who feel they absolutely MUST answer a ringing phone have some form of the malady known as the "Stockholm Syndrome!")

The Do Not Call List is quite likely the most useless government program ever devised.  It has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.  It is useless as a filter for anyone tied to a phone by a phone line.   And the telemarketers are coming after your cell phone number, too.  Soon, you won't be safe anywhere from the telemarketer terrorists.

A suggestion:  What if telephone service providers offered a white list/black list service much as our e-mail clients offer?  If the calling number is not on your white list -- your phone will not ring.  The call will only get through if the caller is on the "approved " list. 

But, hey!  The telcos make way too much money off those telemarketers to do anything that might threaten THAT cash flow!

I’d like to see telemarketing completely outlawed by the US government. If the feds don’t want to touch it, then the individual states should. In fact, they MUST.

We need to put pressure on our respective state’s Attorneys General to clamp down on telemarketing laws in our own states. (A number of states deferred to the federal government for a law to control the telemarketers.)

I am tired of being hounded, in my own home, by anyone seeking to sell me goods and services I have no inclination to buy. Had I, I would have gone to a local merchant and made the transaction.

Frankly, I don’t care if it IS a charity calling. They are invading my privacy, unbidden, and that is wrong and I’m ticked off before I ever lift the receiver.

In recent years I have heard of a number of families ridding themselves of land-line phones altogether and relying on their cell phones alone.  That is well and good for some folks, I suppose. But for an old broadcaster, like me, who recognizes that a cell phone is nothing more than a tiny "walkie-talkie" radio, I must tell you, I do not place that much reliance on the things.  As any military man, or former military man, can tell you a "walkie-talkie" is great -- when they work.  I feel the same way about cell phones.

The point is -- we ought not be placed in a position in which we feel we have to make that decision as a result of being hounded day and night by telephone intruders trying to sell us something, or begging for donations, or promoting some politician we like even less as a result of that blasted phone call!

Listen-up Congress creatures:  If you want some credibility restored and you are the least bit interested in restoring your likability ratings, then here's your chance.  Pass legislation to stop telemarketing within the United States. Hell, why not go for a constitutional amendment?  (OK.  So THAT was a bit TOO much.  It just demonstrates my frustration!)   

© J. D. Longstreet

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