Say My Name

Over the past two days I’ve received two similar calls on my landline. They came from different numbers. Here’s how they went:

Phone rings, I answer.

Me: Hello.

Silence. Then some clicking.

Me: Hello?

More silence and some background noise, then the caller responds.

First call, a man says, “Oh, hello, Arianna.”

Me: I’m sorry, you must have a wrong number.

Caller: Well, wrong name but right number. Who am I speaking to?

Me: Who am I speaking to?

Caller: This is Joe from [name of nonprofit organization] …

Me: I’m sorry, Joe. I don’t make donations on the phone. Could you please remove me from your list?

Joe: Could you let me talk to you about …

Me: I don’t make donations on the phone. Thank you. (Click)

Second call, there’s the same silence, clicking, background noise. I say hello twice, then a woman says, “Hi, is this Enid?”

Me: No, I’m sorry. You have the wrong number.

Caller: Oh, I’m so sorry for the mistaken name. Who am I speaking to?

Me: Who am I speaking to?

Caller: This is Ann from [name of same nonprofit organization] …

Me: I’m sorry, Ann. I don’t make donations over the phone. I asked to be removed from your list yesterday.

Ann: I see. Can I talk to you about …

Me: I don’t make donations over the phone. Thank you. (Click)

And it’s true. I don’t … with apologies to all the legit telefundraisers out there. But I don’t normally hang up so abruptly either. Usually I’ll listen and engage long enough to find out what the organization or mission or program is, explain that I don’t make donations or pledges on the phone, and ask for the organization’s URL. More than likely, I’ll check out the website, and if it’s something that I want to support, I’ll make an online donation.

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Comments
  • mike

    In the movie, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Judi Dench is a recent widow who receives a scripted call from an India-based call center. The caller is so tied to the script she does not connect with Ms. Dench’s character. Fast forward and Judi finds herself in India and actually visits the call center. She eventually makes a presentation to the call staff and through role playing and a lesson on English culture and common sense breathes a little humanity into their approach. Judi’s character should be cloned and distributed quickly.

  • abc

    That sounds like a data processing error. I can’t imagine anyone would do that on purpose. If so, surely a few days of poor results would convince them to abandon that bizarre technique. It must have been a mistake. Since you say the organization seems legitimate, have you considered contacting them directly to tell them about your experience? I’d be interested to know how they’d respond.