Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tele-Sales Jammer

waste the time of hapless phone salesfolk and hopefully put telemarketers out of business
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I discovered this by accident but it is quite potent. Most telemarketing companies use some sort of computerized dialing and recognition system that looks for a short human greeting before sending the call to one of it's operatives. Record a very, very short outgoing message on your answering machine (mine is a terse: "leave a message after the beep, thanks") and the computer thinks you've said "hello.. hello?" so sends the call to it's next available human who unknowingly starts to pitch to your answering machine, usually ending with "hello... hello? anyone there?". You, of course, get to hear and/or delete these at your leisure although some do have some minor entertainment value of their own, and often the line stays open and you get to overhear comments the operator makes to co-workers at the fone-farm.

As a corollary to this, when I do answer the phone I have a rule that if I answer the phone and get two "hello"s in without hearing a voice then I know I've been dialed by a machine so I just hang up.

doghouse, Apr 19 2001

A Telemarketer's Nightmare http://www.halfbake...ter_27s_20Nightmare
Different means, same end. [iuvare, Apr 19 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Hat tip to egnor. http://www.junkbust.../telemarketing.html
His contribution to handling telemarketers (borrowed from his link on the "Telemarketer Revealer" idea) [iuvare, Apr 19 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       HalfBaked. (...this idea should go under "business: telemarketing"...)
iuvare, Apr 19 2001
  

       [admin: moved.]
jutta, Apr 19 2001
  

       I, too, follow the "Talk fast or I hang up" rule, though sometimes I forget.
centauri, Apr 19 2001
  

       Discovered this one myself quite by accident: My wife recorded a very brief greeting on our machine. Ever since then, not a single evening goes by that we aren't treated to five or six mouth-breathers wailing "Hello... uh, hello??" on our machine because their autodialer was fooled into thinking we had answered the phone.   

       As my wife points out, it does not seem to stop the telemarketers from calling. On the bright side, it wastes their time and money, which is nice.
brypri, May 05 2001
  

       The device used to tell whether there's someone on the phone is apparently called in the trade a 'grunt detector'. <No, I am not and have never been a telespammer, but on one of the newsgroups I read there is occasionally a long rant against them, followed by an apologetic ex-spammer, followed by a couple of indignant telespammers saying they provide a valuable service like commercials on TV or the radio...>
StarChaser, May 05 2001
  
      
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