A Special Place in Hell . . .
I don’t know about you, but we are being deluged with phone calls and emails from organizations asking for contributions. Most are contacting us because we have given them money in the past. A few of the solicitors do a pretty good job, but others should really find another line of work.
Some of the calls—and we’ve been getting more and more of these—are the so-called “robo-calls”. The most recent one is a message offering us one last chance to salvage our plummeting credit rating. My least favorite is when I pick up and hear the recorded voice of Newt Gingrich. That’s really nauseating on an empty stomach.
Then there are the scammers calling to tell me their sophisticated electronics have detected a serious problem with my PC, which is likely to crash unless I allow them into my computer to fix it. (How do I know these bozos are crooks? I have a Mac, not a PC.)
You can tell which calls are solicitations as soon as you say, “hello”, because there are several seconds of silence on the other end before someone picks up and launches into their pitch. They’re very persistent and don’t take “no” for an answer, at least not right away. My wife talks to most of them because most of the calls are from non-profits we support. She patiently explains why we’re not going to respond this time. Me? I say, “I’m sorry, the Loomises are away for six weeks. I’m a house sitter.” Works like a charm.
Every day also brings at least a half-dozen emails from political organizations or committees supporting or opposing a specific candidate or issues. Often we’re asked to sign an on-line petition that will be forwarded to the members of Congress. Staff people in Congressional offices will tell you privately that these petitions are a waste of everyone’s time.
What does work are phone calls . . . lots of calls from real constituents going to either the member’s Washington office or the district office. Congressional staff people answer the phone, and–trust me on this– they actually keep score! They maintain a running total and they know which position is leading and by how much. Also very important when contacting a member of your Washington delegation: make sure they know if you are an actual constituent . . . that you’re a registered voter in his or her state.
Oh, yes . . . and while you’re at it, tell ’em you want something done to stop all those damn robo-calls!