How a Telemarketer Ruined my Day

I quit my teaching position to have a baby, and my husband was graduating from college the same month. We were living in Texas at the time, and I had just given birth to my first baby. My husband jumped into one of our lousy cars and drove off to Washington to get a job. (Yes, my husband and I had agreed that after he finished college, we would move to a state that “looked more like England,” and we decided on Washington, even though we knew no one there.)

So I was alone with my four-week-old colicky baby one afternoon, and he was way overdue for a nap. He screamed and screamed for three solid hours. I was so exhausted and weary when finally the baby fell asleep. I crawled into bed and was drifting off into la-la land when suddenly the phone rang.

Oh, I forgot to tell you we were in a one-bedroom apartment. I decided to sell the dining room table when we got the crib, and we would just eat food while sitting on the couch. Our only phone was in the dining room, which was now the makeshift nursery.

Even though my body felt like lead, I jumped out of bed to get the ringing phone, lest it wake up the baby. The moment I jumped up, I threw out my back and felt excruciating pain.

As soon as I said, “Hello?” I heard a telemarketer on the other end. I also heard the baby begin screaming again.

I couldn’t hear what the telemarketer was saying, but I interrupted, “Thank you for ruining my life. You caused me to throw out my back, and you woke up the baby. And it took me three hours to put him to sleep. Take me off your list, and never call back here again.”

I hung up the phone.

I could barely walk. I fumbled around to find some pain killer that wouldn’t affect breast milk, but there wasn’t any.

Needless to say, when I moved to Washington two weeks later, I got an unlisted phone number. It was bliss. Nobody called. The phone never rang unless it was my mother.

Fast forward about a decade. I was at the state fair, and someone was wanting me to put my phone number on a piece of paper for a drawing. What was the prize? $100. I told the person, “If you paid me $100 for my phone number, I wouldn’t give it to you, so why on earth would I enter your drawing?”

The lady looked at me like I was out of my mind.

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6 Responses to “How a Telemarketer Ruined my Day”

  1. Malea says:

    Ouch to your back, and I relate all to well to the rest! When my son was less than a week old (and colicky like you wouldn’t believe), a guy came to the door selling magazines. He wouldn’t leave, even put his foot in the door when I tried to close it, lied to me three times about why he was there (I asked point blank each time, “Are you selling something?” and he said, “No, I’m not selling anything” each time). He was awful, and when it came out that he was indeed selling something, and told me I could buy magazines INSTEAD OF GROCERIES AND BABY NECESSITIES, I almost shoved him down the steps. The more he went on, the more upset I became, and the more upset the baby became. The guy only survived because his friend came along and pulled him down the stairs, saying to the guy, “Dude, what did you say to her? She looks like she’s going to kill you if you don’t leave!”

    The next time a door-to-door salesman came along, I politely said, “Tell me in 10 words or less what you are selling, and don’t lie. The last guy that lied and then refused to take no landed down there (I pointed to the lower level pavement) when I threw him over the balcony. And, I’m not kidding…” That time the person backed away and apologized for bothering me.

    • Susan Evans says:

      I don’t even open the door. I yell, “No thank you. Have a nice day.” I yell it with finality and walk away from the door. Especially if it’s a man and I’m alone with the kids; there’s no way on this earth I would open the door. Thankfully we’re armed here.

  2. Debbie says:

    I remember hearing that story from you back when Brian was little shortly after you moved to Washington.It is crazy how many years that has been now!

    We went to unlisted numbers when we were first married (almost 30 years ago!) because our last name was a favorite of teenage girls having slumber parties to call at 3am and make toilet related jokes. While I never threw out my back did not appreciated the startle of being woke up especially since joel was USAF and home 4 then gone 4 days at a time rotation.

    When we moved to Arizona 3 years ago we got our phone from CoxCable and while unlisted they only retire a number for 30 days before re-issuing it it. So we were get non-stop debt collector calls and insisted on another number to only get more debt collector calls for another party and truant officers calling about their 8th grader skipping again. We then opted to just our cell phones which we only give out our numbers to friends.

    I am with you no $100 offer is gonna entice me to give out my number!

    Merry Christmas!!


  3. jen says:

    My husband politely tells them I’d be more than happy to take YOUR number down and call YOU back at dinner time, that usually shuts them up in time for him to say we’re not interested and hang up quickly.

    We’re unlisted-unpublished too but because hubby was in law enforcement, how they get the number any way I’ll never know!

    Blessings Susan to you and yours.

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