phone-a-thon adventures.

while taking a fast-paced world religions course this month during j-term, i also have ventured into the world of telephone solicitation. oh yes, friends, i have become one of those. here at oklahoma baptist university, we use our j-term phone-a-thon to raise moolah for the school's general scholarship/material/random need fund. in my little cubicle, i dial alumni and friends from across the nation, tactfully and cheerfully reciting the same little phrases. this mundane process has proved to be surprisingly eye-opening, and dare i say even a wee bit enjoyable. we win coveted packets of shawnee mills mixes and sonic coupons by playing hangman and trivia games, and the competition for most pledges per evening is quite fierce. there are even cookies and sweet tea provided for us every night, which makes this endeavor oh so worthwhile. :] it never fails, however, that i get a few alumni on the other end of the telephone who choose the following reactions:

#1: the "nobody-can-hear-me-through-the-phone" alumni
"hi! may i speak to joe schmo?"
"who is this?"
"my name is taylor phillips and i'm a student calling from oklahoma baptist university."
"hold on." .... a whispered conversation will take place, in which one spouse tells the other obu is on the phone. he/she will then respond with, "they're just lookin' for money. hang up."
"he's not here."

#2: the former donor who just raises my hopes too high
"hi! may i speak to joe schmo?"
"hello, my name is taylor phillips and i'm a student calling from oklahoma baptist university. how are you this evening?
"great! if you have just a moment, i'd like to speak with you about the obu fund, which i see you have donated $1,000 to in the past five years. would you consider making another gift this year?"
"nah, i think we'll pass this year. but thanks!"

#3: the "i'm-too-busy-to-talk...but-i-still-answered-my-phone" alumni
[sigh] "hello?"
"hi! may i speak with blah blah?"
"this is she."
"hello, my name is blah blah blah. how are you this evening?"
"pretty good. you?"
"great, thank you for asking! i'm calling on behalf of the obu fund. do you have just a minute to talk about that?"
"oh. ... actually, i'm putting my kids to bed."

#4: the "i'm-angry-you're-interrupting-american-idol" alumni
"hi! may i speak with blah blah blah."
"just a sec."
"hi, my name is blah blah blah. how are you?"
"great! i'm calling on behalf of the obu fund. do you have just a minute to speak with me about it?"
"no, thank you. why are you calling on the american idol premier night?!"

#5: the "i-think-obu-sucks-now" alumni
[insert usual introduction here]
"honey, i will never give to obu, and i'd be glad to tell you why."
"i was a missionary with the southern baptist convention for 33 years, and i was fired after all that time for not signing the baptist faith and message because it's oppressive to women. as long as obu is supported by the sbc, i cannot give with a clean conscience. are you a missions major?"
"um, yes actually."
"oh dear. sweetheart, you gotta make some decisions early on."

friends, these are just some of the many conversations i've had in the last two weeks. don't be fooled, not all of my phone-a-thon nights have been this negative. i have been blessed with many wonderful conversations and lots of coupons and cornbread. :] but these adventures in phone calls have prompted me to ponder my past and future reactions to telemarketers or my gift-seeking alma mater. i now know how frustrating it can be to be hung up on, and to go through scores of alumni and not have one pleasant exchange [bear in mind they all graduated from a christian university...]. i sure hope this lesson in patience has also taught me to remember these very phone-a-thon adventures when i myself am called up by a poor college student who's just doing their job.
so what about y'all? have you ever taken a job as a phone-caller or been on the receiving end of a telemarketer? how did you react in various situations?


Anonymous said...

Never took a job as a phone caller person, but I have had some fun with the phone caller people.

Once, I had a very friendly telemarketer call me at THE most inappropriate time. This conversation was as follows:

"Hello, this is Such-And-So calling for Mr. NorEaster! Do you happen to know if he is around?"

"Hi, I am Nor! And how might you be doing?"

"I'm doing very well thanks! And yourself?"

"I'm doing really super there, thank you very much! But, hey, maybe you can help me out with something..."

"Of course, Sir! What can I do for you?"

"How many telemarketers does it take to change a light bulb?"

[ ... Dead ... Silence ... ]

"One," I finally said. "But it has to be while you're eating dinner!"


(Mmmnn...Yeah. Sorry about that, Taylor. Guess I got a mean streak! No hard feelings though, right? Umm...Right......?)

taylor said...

haha, as long as it wasn't one of my fellow obu students, i'll let ya slide. ;)

Anonymous said...

Heh. Thanks, Taylor. ;)