I got my first piece of hate mail for one of my columns.... yay!!!
Here is the column.
...that sparked the hate mail:
Hello Mrs Lauzon
I am writing to you regarding the article you wrote in the Chronicle od May 12th 2010.
First of all, I have to say I am writting in english but my first language is french. Here it goes:
I think what you have written concerning people who are solliciting over the phone has some truth but was written in a very juvenile way. What's all this talk about fart noises or having to poop and swimmer's booger? What kind of audience are you trying to adress yourself to? The five year olds?
I am a person which has always worked in sales and solliciting is a very big part of my job. I work for an insurance company and I am recognized as a professional and I make a very good living doing so. And I would like to add that we do not call people that are on the Do not call list.
This said, I don't think that making fun of people who makes solliciting calls is the good way to go. Many companies, a lot of them professionnal, do it and it's a very hard thing to do. It take a lot of pride swallowing and a lot of perseverance. Have you ever tried it? I very much doubt so because if you had, you wouldn't think you're so funny writting about it this way.
You know what I wish for? For someone to educate people about simple good manners with people who cold call as we say in our industry. The term cold call speaks for itself. It's because of people like you. People who think they're so clever by tricking us, waisting our time, thinking we're just clowns and that you can act like an idiot or a prick just because we're at the end of a telephone line and not right in your face. You know we can't defend ourselves. We're being listened to!!! Of course we can't start telling people off. It's so easy to bang on someone who can't defend themselves. Well you know are people like you are called? Bullies! And may I add that if I would get a nickle everytime someone acts like a retard when I make calls, I would be a millionnaire! So please, don't think you're so smart.
How about writing an article on the same subject but this time tell them that the proper thing to do is to simply say no very politely, then say no politely a second time (because we will come back to add more....it's in our job) and ask not to be called again. Simple, respectfull and no one puts down anyone. Now an article like this would impress me!
It's so easy to make fun of someone when you've never been in their shoes....how about defending them for a change? And how about giving a break to those who aren't as smooth in delivering their speach? We don't have a text to read but a lot of others do. And did you ever think that just accepting to do that job takes a lot more guts than a job who lets you talk about anything you want and have your opinion printed in a newspaper ? I'm sorry but no. Or were you in a rut and couldn't find something to write about and you had your deadline to meet so you decided to bash on that poor guy that called you during dinner? Oh and may I add that people are always eating at different hours, at 6pm, at 7pm, at 8pm. If we had to worry about dinner, we wouldn't be able to do our jobs. I got yelled at by a guy once for calling him during dinner and it was 8pm!! My question is this: Why do you pick up the phone when you're eating if you don't like it???
Finaly, I would like to tell you that phone solliciting is still proven a very profitable way to get business. So unless you can find a way to change that, we'll keep calling. But don't you prefer getting call instead of a flyer that waists paper? I mean, it's still an environment friendly way to do businness.
And before I go, if you're on the do no call list and you still get solliciting calls, you're able to file a complaint about them.
I remain very uniterested in you myself....until the day you can defend phone sollicitors! Or until you start being polite with them!
That garnered my response:
Thanks for reading me and for taking the time to write.
First of all, thank you! I've been writing about boogers, poop and farts for The Monitor for about 2 years now and finally, my first piece of hate mail! Indeed, I have arrived.
Naturally, your being a phone solicitor, my first reaction was to hang up on your e-mail within the first few seconds of reading it. I'm glad I didn't because it turns out, I have no issue with you. You don't call people on the Do Not Call List. I've been on the Do Not Call List since the day it started. Remember that day? I can see how it might have gone by unnoticed. Only 1.5 million people joined in the first 24 hours.
Anyway, I do empathize with you to a degree, dealing with rude people. That guy who got mad at you because you called when he was eating dinner at 8? What a jerk. You mean to tell me, you called him, in his home, at an inopportune moment and he was rude to you? The nerve. Next thing you know, he'll be walking around his house naked when you call. What a perv!
Y’know, I bet he wasn't even eating. He was probably washing the dishes. Or at best, having a snack. 8pm? Who does he think he is, Gerard Depardieu? (Although, do you happen to know what he was eating? Because that might have made a difference. Maybe he forgot to defrost the chicken and only took it out of the fridge at like 2. Or maybe he was crockpotting. Those things take a while). Still, dinner at 8. Doesn't he know when normal people eat? You shouldn't go to bed on a full stomach, it makes you dream about kittens with old man faces.
I would however, like to thank you for the handy tip of having to say no twice to a telemarketer. I did not know this. I thought one "No thank you" usually sufficed for most adults. But I do have a question - does it have to be twice? What happens if I say it 3 times? Or 1.5? What if I say it in rapid succession "No-no"? Does it count as one or two? Should the tone suggest irritation, happiness or confusion? I really want to get this right for next time.
You asked me: Why do you pick up the phone when you're eating if you don't like it??? I never said I don't like picking up the phone when I'm eating. I pick up the phone a lot when I'm eating. To a fault, possibly. I just don't like picking up the phone while I'm eating and it's a telemarketer.
I'll make you a deal: Next time, I will try to not eat dinner at any hour considered freakish by Western culture, remember to say no twice and do my best to not pick up the phone while I'm eating if I think there is a chance it MIGHT be a telekmarketer (but if it's my callback for the broadway production of Cats, and I miss it, I'm gonna be pretty ticked).
Just like you, I have good manners (why just this morning, I said sorry when someone stepped on my foot). Which might be the reason people keep calling me. I'm nice. I listen. In fact, I am never rude to telemarketers because as I wrote in my article, they're just trying to make a living, and that is respectable as anything. If I answer the phone and the solicitor sounds 'green' and nervous I feel for them - I always let them continue and then politely decline. But, like you, my INSIDE voice is a whole other story. Say! Imagine if you could put all the things you ever wanted to say (but didn't) in one place and publish it for people to read? On behalf of all the people on YOUR side? What an idea. Wish I had thought of it.
Honestly, I do appreciate that you took the time to write. You're also probably a pretty nice person. Believe me, I like polite people too. But I just agree to disagree on this point. In other words, when it comes to telemarketers calling my place? I still say: No. NO.