Fun with Phone Solicitors: 50 Ways to Get Even

Fun with Phone Solicitors: 50 Ways to Get Even

by Robert Harris

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They wake you up Saturday morning, waste your time, and interrupt meals and precious couch time. They're phone solicitors-the only group more despised than lawyers. Now here's your chance to strike back-hustle the hustlers, annoy the annoying-and have a blast with these fifty foolproof ways to get even. Drive 'em nuts with

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446543750
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/26/2008
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 570 KB

About the Author

Robert Harris is an English author and former journalist. He began his publishing career in non-fiction but is best known for his works of historical fiction. His first novel an alternate history Fatherland was published in 1992 and later adapted by HBO in1994 into a movie. His second novel 1995's Enigma was also made into a film. Harris' 1998 novel Archangel was made into a miniseries for the BBC staring Daniel Craig. in 2006 he published Imperium which was the beginning of his Cicero Trilogy. He is married to Gill Hornby, sister of famous novelist Nick Hornby.

Learn more about Robert Harris on the B&N Podcast

Read an Excerpt

The Receptionist Ruse

TECHNIQUE: Elude the solicitor's pitch by transferring him via an imaginary inter-office telephone system.


SOLICITOR: "Good afternoon—I'm calling for Ms. Beale."

FUNSTER: "One moment please—I'll connect you." [Press two buttons in sequence on your phone.]

After about five seconds, expect the solicitor to say something like "Hello-is anyone there?" Ask for whom he's holding, then press the phone buttons again. At this point the game will probably be over. It's highly unlikely that it will go to a third round-but one can dream, can't one?

The Middleman Misdirection

TECHNIQUE: Disrupt the solicitor's rhythm by relaying his offer to an imaginary friend in another room.


SOLICITOR: "Good evening—have I reached Mrs. McCormick?"


S: "I represent the Acme Hotel and Spa in Orlando, and I—"

F: [Very loudly aside] "HUH?...[Pause]...HE SAYS HE REPRESENTS THE ACME HOTEL AND SPA!"

S: "I'm calling tonight to make you a special offer."


S: "Uh, well, we'd like you to be our guest for a weekend, and—"


S: "Ma'am, is this a bad time?"


S: [Solicitor hangs up.]

BONUS POINTS: If the solicitor refuses to give in after a few rounds, you can end the conversation by saying "I really have to go. I'm getting tired of yelling."

This one will be more effective if you can get some of the facts slightly wrong as you relay them. Doing so will keep the solicitor engaged, and he'll try harder.

The Put-Down Ploy

TECHNIQUE: Avoid the solicitor by just putting the phone down and walking away.


SOLICITOR: "Good afternoon—is this Mr. Roger Davis?"


S: "My name is Sally, and I'm calling—"

F: [Quietly put the phone down and continue with your life.]

S: [Solicitor hangs up.]

At first you'll probably listen for the solicitor's attempts to get a response from you. Although this can be amusing, it really defeats the purpose of the technique. So just try to continue with what you were doing before you were so rudely interrupted.

For full credit, it's essential that you get the solicitor to end the "conversation." So be sure to wait at least thirty seconds before you come back and hang up.

The Answering-Machine Antic

TECHNIQUE: Sidestep a conversation with the solicitor by simulating an answering machine greeting.


SOLICITOR: "Hello, this is Darnell with The Acme Group. May I speak with Mr. or Mrs.—"

FUNSTER: "Hello, you've reached the Franklin residence. At the tone, please leave a brief message, and we'll get back to you." [Make a beep sound or press a button on your phone and hold it down for a couple of seconds.]

S: [Solicitor hangs up.]

Chances are good that the solicitor will hang up before you can finish. But if he does try to leave a message, cut him off after a few seconds with a beep-beep, and then hang up.

The Order-Line Obfuscation

TECHNIQUE: Dodge the solicitor's pitch by guiding her to the correct department within your organization.


SOLICITOR: "Good evening—is this, uh, Mr. Pruitt?"

FUNSTER: "Speaking—go ahead with your order."

S: "Uh—well, Mr. Pruitt, I'm Yvonne at Acme Business Solutions. We're conducting a survey of—"

F: "No, no, lady—this line is for orders only. I think you want Customer Service. Do you want Customer Service?"

S: "I'm sorry. I must have dialed the wrong number."

F: "Yeah, like I said, this line is for orders only...."

If the solicitor asks what company she's reached, make up some official-sounding name, like "Consolidated Import and Export" or "Worldwide Amalgamated."

And if she tries to be difficult by requesting the Customer Service number, just give her your number with the last two digits reversed, or your number with a 1-800 in front of it.

The Teenager Transfer

TECHNIQUE: Nettle the solicitor by calling his intended victim in the manner of a typical self-absorbed fourteen-year-old.


SOLICITOR: "Hello—may I please speak with Mrs. Ruskin?"

FUNSTER: "Hang on." [As loudly as possible] "MOMMMMM!" [Toss the phone down and walk away.]

After seven or eight seconds, pick up the phone and say "Hello?" If the solicitor is still on the line, he will probably say "Yes, I was holding for Mrs. Ruskin." At this point you might feel a bit of guilt for taking advantage of the solicitor's naÔvetÈ, but do not weaken-press onward nevertheless. Yell "Mom!" at the top of your lungs once again.

The Is-Anyone-There Initiative

TECHNIQUE: Head off interaction with the solicitor by simply not being able to hear him.


SOLICITOR: "Good evening. May I speak to, uh, Mr. or Mrs. Brown?"

FUNSTER: "Hello?"

S: "Yes, I'm Mr. Ramirez calling from Acme—"

F: "Hel-lo? Is anyone there?"

S: "Yes sir, I'm calling about—"

F: [Impatiently] "Is-any-one-there?"

S: "Yes sir, can you hear—"

F: [Angrily] "Now look, whoever you are, I'm not playing your little game. What's next? Heavy breathing?"

S: [Solicitor hangs up.]

To make this technique work, be sure to talk over the solicitor to give the impression that you can't hear him.

And since this one probably won't last for very long, it's important to get ticked off pretty early in the encounter. But if the solicitor does persist, you can start speculating about who the crank caller is. (For example: "Uncle Frank—is that you again? It's not funny anymore!")

Copyright (c) 2001 by Robert Harris

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