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Good ideas at the time.
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The old 'ad-based free phonecalls' chestnut (so baked it's been forgotten again, apparently) surely has some mileage left to run. Or at least the 'free phonecalls' bit does. Instead of having to listen to a bunch of adverts, which never seemed to go down to well anyway, how about having to TAKE a short
call after yours which provides a service? This would have to be something which didn't require taking an order (e.g. for a pizza or anything, as that would require a follow-up) but could instead be something like providing the weather forecast, taking an incoming call from a bizarre premium-rate phone number, or any as-yet-unthought about services which this could inspire. Hey, maybe you could do this *before* you make a call, using the time you spend 'working' to earn credits for the call you're about to make.
On the supplier side, phone companies could supply free phone calls in exchange for you hanging on at the end of your call in order to receive a couple of short incoming calls. Eg. "What's the forecast for Northern Wisconsin?" <look out window> "Rain!" or "Heuuughh, ahem...um.. whatchya wearin', honey?" <look at clothes> "Ooh, leather!" etc. Given the choice, I'd take the weather forecast, though.
||There's no efficient way to check if you're still listening.
||U are an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
||There's no quality control; there's no telling what
kind of bozo you'll end up with. You might end up
getting wrong directions, for example. (I had a
friend who used to give wrong directions on the
street just for fun when he had no clue what to
say.) What if some idiot gets the call for suicide
counseling and just tells him he's wasting
everyone's oxygen? What if YOU get the call and
have no clue what to say? I still have to stay
neutral because there's still some room to work
with this. You might have to identify yourself for
some accountability, for example.