An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Jon’s Wife

So this telemarketer from Sears just called and asked for Jon. And since I knew immediately that it was a telemarketer I told her no, he wasn’t here, but if she’d like to leave her name and home telephone number, I’m sure he’d love to call her back at an inconvenient time. And I don’t think she even heard me because she just sort of ignored me and said, “Well then, is Jon’s wife available?” And normally I would have said no, but I couldn’t help but wonder how she knew that he was married, and if she knew that much information, what else did she know? So I said, “Yes, I am Jon’s wife,” and before I could ask her how she knew that he was married, or if she also knew that he has a chronically unmanageable thicket of curls covering his entire head, or that he can’t sleep in past 7:30 AM on any given morning, and that when he wakes up he has the cutest uncontrollable urge to tap me and nuzzle my neck even though I’m usually grumpy and covered in a thick film of my own morning breath, or that he bought me Mother’s Day presents on behalf of the dog, or that he can stand to be around my family even though they’re abrasively Southern and very into plastic plants, or that he can wield a weed whacker LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS, or that he has such a remarkable relationship with the dog that the dog will only go pee if he is standing nearby, or that he hits his head on the heating ducts every single time he goes into the basement and vows that he is going to cover those fuckers with foam but never gets around to it, or that he has the most beautiful hands, perfectly aged and rough from working every day of his life and that there is nothing more satisfying in this life than to look down and see those hands gripping my waist, or that he can stand a certain way when he comes home from work, slightly angular, his arms heavy from fatigue, and that it makes my heart beat so fast that I can burn an entire package of Twizzler’s Cherry Nibs worth of calories just by looking at him, before I could ask her any of this, she made the monumental mistake of asking, “Well, does he allow you to answer his phone calls?” And I know she didn’t mean any offense, or at least for a split second I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed she didn’t mean any offense, but after that single split second I gave into the hackles on the back of my neck and answered rather lovingly into the speaker phone, “I’m not sure about that lady, but I am sure that your husband ALLOWS you to be a cunt.” And if she didn’t know before, she knows now that Jon allows me to use such language.

  • *high five*

  • you so crazy.

  • So did you get a Sears card or not?

  • While I’ll admit that calling a telemarketer a cunt can have it’s advantages, the best thing you can do (besides getting an unlisted number) is say “Sure! I’ll get him/her!” and set the phone down and walk away. Telemarketers are paid for their turnover, so if you keep them on hold for five minutes or more, you’ve accomplished two things: 1) That particular telemarketer won’t call you again. 2) The time they wait for you is time that they can’t use to bug someone else. Still, calling her a cunt was rich. We need to propel telemarketers into other, better jobs whenever possible.

  • Echo

    … that was hillarious. I’ll have to try that the next time I get a wrong number on a telemarketer.

  • I have no mercy on tlemarketers. As far as I am concerned, they are scum. I pay for my phone. Why should someone else use it for free so that they can try and sell me something?

    Here is how I have dealt with a few calls over the past few weeks:

    Carpet Cleaning – “Wow! I’m sure glad that you called. Can you get blood out of carpet? I mean a _LOT_ of blood! Can you clean celings? Can you get blood off of my celing?

    Free Dance Lessons – “Dance lessons? You want to give me dance lessons? I haven’t been able to walk since I got back from ‘Nam!”

    Real Estate Cold Call – “Do you really think someone would want to buy a house were a double murder took place? I mean, I still have all this blood on the celing. Is that going to lower my property values?”

    Duct Cleaning – “You want to clean my what? My ducks? Why would you want to clean my ducks?”

    Jehova’s Witnesses (ok, not telemarketers, but even more annoying when they ring my doorbell on a Saturday morning.) – “So, would you like to come in for a cup of coffee or a beer?”

    Mormons who come to the door are my wife’s responsibility. She belongs to Reorganized Church of Latterday Saints (now the Community of Christ). Both her father and her brother are priests.

    Wrong Number Telemarketer – “This is Detective Peabody of the York Regional Police. Can you tell me why you wish to speak to Mr. *****?” Or “I’m terribly sorry, Mr. ***** has passed away. Shall I take a message to give to the family when they return from the funeral?”

    General purpose – “I’m not wearing any pants!”

  • ~Angel

    OH MAN! I can’t WAIT to get married, just so I can do THAT!

  • The other day an alarm systems salesman knocks on my door and asks my wife if our parents are home… Dude, this is Utah. We both laughed in his face until he left with his tail between his legs.

  • Sears! Be weary! So I saw this whole show (probably 20/20 or something) about Sears telemarketers. One woman bought a refridgerator there (or something), but turns out she also bought daily phone calls from Sears which evidently escalated to full on harassment. Something about warranties or In-House servicing or whatevs. Anyway, she sued them and won some ridiculous amount of money. cha-ching, cha-ching.

  • jackie

    oh and i think she lived in the boondocks too… maybe utah?

  • Danika

    I’m totally fucking jealous of you!! If only I can find love like yours.

    When I was a kid I’d pretend to burst out crying and say he/she is no longer with us. Make em feel like crap. I mean yeah its just a job but if your gonna take the job as a telemarketer than be prepared for the abuse that comes with it!

  • jen

    Yes, the cunt deserved it. But what I want to know is: Can Jon bottle whatever it is that makes you feel so crazy about him and sell it to me? Because I’ve got a man who loves me dearly, but the man needs to get his level of “hots for Jen” cranked up by about 25 bajillion. I’d be THRILLED if he felt about me the way you feel about Jon. Seriously, I’ll pay all my monies to get that kind of honey.

  • wilber

    A couple years ago, I toured a telemarketing call center (we were using them for customer service). Months later, got a call selling long distance that I knew had come from there. I asked the caller if they were calling from the ____ building at the corner of ____ & ____. Got an uncertain “yes” in response. I then asked, “oh are you on the 5th floor in the room with orange cubicles?”. REALLY freaked her out as I cut through her wall of anonymity.

  • My brother is this hard ass heavy metal type of guy. He didn’t last more than a week as a telemarketer.

  • Now that you’re in Utah can I be Jon’s wife too?

    Oh, wait…I don’t like being mormon.

    damn. 🙁

  • People are always calling, asking about whether we’d like to hear about their phone service. We say no and they continue anyways, which is usually when I say: “I’m sorry, I don’t have a phone.” And hang up.

  • zchamu

    Here I was, all feeling mushy-gushy after reading that amazing description of your husband, then I get to the last line and it actually, in fact, made my ginger ale come out through my nose. Well done.

  • Let’s hope the telemarketers of the world have thicker skin that to feel “downgraded” by a stranger’s comments. As you point out, Lorelei, they deal with “crap” all day long. I guess Dooce held a gun to this telemarketer’s head and made her work as a telemarketer? No? Well, then, maybe she broadcast her BRAND NEW TELEPHONE NUMBER and begged the telemarketers of the world to commence in wasting her time. This telemarketer is not simply being paid to ask the question, she’s being paid to tackle the ENTIRE job, come what may.

    As for Dotty, pick up a book. Go read something on independent thought. Get an idea or two of your own. And then learn to say – and write – exactly what you mean. Do you really categorize all telemarketers as “minimum-wage-slaves”? I’m sure they’d appreciate that. And have you really concluded that they are all so weak that Heather’s comments would have “ruin(ed) the(ir) day”? And how exactly do you go from disagreeing with Heather’s handling of the situation to calling her “hip and PC”? Your stream of thought eludes me.

    And what’s up with people commenting on blogs? If you don’t like what someone’s blog says, go somewhere else. It’s a web journal. No one cares about your negativity. It’s one thing to disagree, and another to TRY and be insulting and sarcastic.

    Oh, and DAYMENT: I forgot to say earlier, your comment has made me laugh more than once in the past two days!

  • Lex

    With great power comes great responsibility, and it is clear from this post that Dooce fully understands her obligations in this regard. The future appears secure.

    (I’m just trying to figure out what my wife would have said if asked the same question.)

  • scot-on-the-rocks

    What a magnificent story of love and ‘terror’tory.

    Your irreverence is indefatigable! Such brilliance is surely part of the mirrored appeal you received from your husband. Men with such women should praise god to have been chosen from the herd of adoring candidates.

    Congratulations to Jon…!!!

  • diana

    LOL. You know you can get this nifty little machine called the TeleZapper for $40 that keeps telemarketers from calling you. I know it works from first hand knowledge.

    Finally I have to agree with Dotty on this one. Most telemarketers aren’t there by choice, but because they don’t have a better opportunity.

    And when you consider that most states have a minimum wage of $5.15. Someone working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, with no sick days, no paid vacation, no health care and no benefits…makes $10,712 a year before taxes, social security and Medicare are taken out of their paycheck.

    So, assuming said person takes home a generous $300 every two weeks after taxes, said person has to come up with a way to pay for rent, food, health care, transportation & child care (if applicable). It’s doubtful this person is getting anywhere fast. So when the telemarketer is that dependent upon their bi-monthly paycheck do they really have the choice? When are they going to take the time off to look for another job that pays more?

    Minimum wage workers (and I’m not talking about college kids or high school students) often have to take on multiple jobs just to make ends meet, and they are still not making enough. Often at that income level, people are making the choice between taking their kid to the Doctor and buying dinner.

    So, in defense of Dotty’s statement, they probably do feel like minimum wage slaves.

    I suggest you read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America.” She goes far more into depth on the subject than I do – as she actually put herself in the shoes of a minimum wage worker for several months.

    Finally, the telemarketer by asking if Dooce can take her husbands calls was probably in regards to a legal issue. Often with regards to accounts or other legal issues, you have to have permission to handle sensitive materials even if it is your husband.

    Though I doubt the telemarketer’s day was ruined by Dooce’s comment, as she probably deals with a lot worse during the day.

    So let’s hope that this was a college student or a high school student who is working as a telemarketer b/c their parents said they have to…

    And before I would criticize anyone else about having an independent thought, I suggest you do a little research yourself.

  • diana

    Also, considering Dooce’s number is so new, it’s doubtful it was a telemarketing call (sorry Dooce). It takes awhile for phone numbers to get on telemarketing lists…as I’m sure it’s not even in the phone book yet.

    It probably was a courtesy call in regards to the Sears Home Appliances they just recently bought.

    Dooce it is possible that you bought the Appliances under Jon’s name? Is there anything that you still haven’t recieved yet? Just an idea as to why Sears might have been calling…

  • I’ve been waiting to use this:

    But I’m rarely home when they call.

  • My comments regarding an independent thought stem from sweeping generalizations that are made by unthoughtful people. It happens often and is a personal pet peeve. It’s one thing to use such generalizations rhetorically or as humor. It’s another when you base your flaming on such generalizations. As for telemarketers – or minimum-wage earners, in general – I have two thoughts. First, I will not be “talked into” having sympathy for someone who has a minimum-wage job. There are plenty of people for whom I have sympathy, and they might earn minimum-wage, but that wouldn’t be my sole or deciding reason for automatic sympathy. If you did a little research on me – read my blog, maybe – you’d know that I have no college degree, am in the middle of a divorce after seven years of marriage and arranging my entire life around a future with my husband, recently had to move myself across country (2500 miles) with two small children and very little money – a trip on which my car broke down and I had no better choice than to pay for a $1350 engine repair. I now live with both of my children, no child support, astronomical daycare expenses, and while I *barely* make enough to support our basic bills (which do not include cable, cell phones, getting my nails done, or the sushi that I love, in case you might wonder what the term “basic” means to me), I also make too much to qualify for any public assistance (which means I make more than $20,000/yr). So, forgive me if I don’t recognize that anyone lacks choices, especially in the United States. Is life easy? No. Can you make it? Yes. Do I have a soft spot for people who struggle? Most definitely. Do I have a soft spot for people based solely on the knowledge that they earn minimum wage? No. Make the choice to do more, be more, earn more. Of course, you can’t expect tomorrow to change if you are doing the same things you did yesterday.
    Second, this is an online journal. This is not a message board asking for commentary. Yes, there’s a place for comments. So comment. If you have something nice to say. If not, go read somewhere else. And as I said earlier, disagreeing is one thing. Being negative and sarcastic and offensive is another, and isn’t welcome. That being said, I appreciated your retort. I found it extremely thoughtful and carefully written and it didn’t flame…until the end.

    P.S. I have read “Nickel and Dimed”.

  • Danika

    If you don’t like telemarketing.. McDonalds is always hiring. Your argument that they can’t find another job to replace telemarketing falls short… especially if its based on telemarketing being a minimum wage job. Minimum wage jobs are fairly easy to find… of course somewhat dependant on where you live.

  • Kimberly

    Speaking as someone who was actually employed as a telemarketer for years, I have a few thoughts. Way to go. While telemarketers DO legally have to get permission to ‘pitch’ the person with whom they’re talking, she did NOT word it properly and should know better, which I’m sure she does now. Also, telemarketers are NOT minimum wage slaves! They get paid a commission according to the sales they get. Some get paid VERY WELL. I know I did, which is why I was more than happy to ask for the shit that I was handed every time I made a phone call. If you want to ‘hurt’ a telemarketer, keep them on the phone and don’t buy anything. Comments that YOU find amusing, they do too…breaks up the monotony. I think you were absolutely right in your handling of the situation.

    I also adore the way you adore your husband. *sigh*

  • diana

    I stand corrected. I made one of those gross generalizations that you speak about.

    I generally assume that someone with web access has better circumstances than the average shall we say “minimum wage earner.” Like I said, I stand corrected.

    Second, my comment wasn’t intended to invoke sympathy for “minimum wage earners.” It was an explanation of the term “minimum wage slave.”

    And with all due respect, I
    rescind the comment of offense at the end of the my previous submission.

  • Wow. Extremely adult. How refreshing. *sincerely*

    (Extending hand for shake…)

    You know, every once in awhile I’m wrong, but not a lot. It’s good that you realized and backed off.

  • That was a joke. I found it rather hilarious myself. I really needed a laugh.

  • diana

    My comment on finding another job wasn’t about finding another minimum wage job, it was about finding a higher paying job to better their circumstances. A minimum wage job just doesn’t cut it. And I was defending the term “minimum wage slave.”

    I also worked in telemarketing. And while you were lucky to be at a sales commission telemarketing firm, not every telemarketing firm has the same incentives, or sometimes the thresholds aren’t attainable. Not every telemarketer is making a sales pitch either. There are other kinds of calls.

    By the way Dooce, I am in no way criticizing your handling of the call. I think it was witty and sarcastic, and it wasn’t the right way for the telemarketer to ask if you had Jon’s permission.

    And despite the fact that it has turned into a conversation on telemarketers, I thought the main point of your Blog today(about your adoration of Jon), was incredibly eloquent and well written. I wish I was able to write with the same mastery of words.

  • diana

    Handshake accepted! 🙂

    It’s always good to get into a healthy debate with someone!

  • Lisa

    I loved the post, but I’m thinking more of how cool it would be to have a laptop in the bathroom.

  • I used this one a couple of weeks ago and it still makes me laugh…!

    Telemarketer: I was wondering if you have few minutes to talk about our new product?

    Trent: Actually I am busy at the moment, but if you give me your home number I will call you after you are done your shift!

    Telemarketer: We are not allowed to give out our home numbers to customers.

    Trent: Oh you don’t want someone bothering you at home?

    Telemarketer: No.

    Trent: Neither do I!


  • wow. such energetic commenting here today!

    i’m just jealous that you got to say “cunt” in the course of your day, dooce.

    i mean, how often to you get THAT opportunity?

    oh yeah, and that love stuff is pretty cool too. that happens to me when i see my guy sleeping. it nearly makes me cry sometimes i love him so much.

    btw: i heard this awesome piece on NPR recently about a guy who was a telemarketer until one of the randomly dialed numbers resulted in the call made him realize he had to quit. he reached his own answering machine.

  • Hats off to Charles R. Kaiser! I’m always looking for new and creative responses to telemarketers. My fave is asking them to hold on a minute, putting down the phone and then providing an aural odessy for them. It both chews up their valuable time and provides me with entertainment.

    But, the Letterman-esque “I’m not wearing any pants!” is just inspired.

    As I was reading your post Dooce, I shuddered to think how my wife would respond to “does he allow you to answer his phone calls?” Your response was even more entertainingly extreme and profane than I had imagined my reason for living would provide in the same circumstance. Deeeelightful.

  • Dooce, you slay me. I don’t condone that type of behavior/talk, but part of me loves you all the more for saying exactly what you are thinking.

    On another note- some people need to get their own weblogs and stop using your comments section as a place to blog- I don’t think I need to name names…

  • barb

    wow and i thought your post was long.

  • Right on! Love your site and your entries.

  • you have such balls. I always bite my tongue when those damn telemarketers call. But I’m on the “stay-at-home-mom” list, so they always ask for me anyway. Occaisionally, I will get an a-hole who asks, “is this the lady of the house?” How totally 50s of them. And being on that particular list allows me to receive calls from house cleaners and maid services. What an insult. They just assume your house is a mess because you have little kids. Ok, maybe it is.

  • Dooce,

    Just you be nice now *wink* it could be the lotteries office calling one day.

    One of the jobs I had was at the publicity office of an Australian lotteries office. I used to ring winners every morning … I know, I know … it sucks right? 🙂

    For legal reasons I was only allowed to tell the registered winner they had won. So you can imagine the abuse I got sometimes when I got the wife/girlfriend/SO and wouldn’t tell them who I was or what I was ringing about.

  • that was amazing.

  • Geezus! That’s brilliant.

  • dayna

    you are ab-so-fucking-lutely dazzling.

  • Danika

    Diana ~ I just meant that if you couldn’t handle telemarketing you could always get a different job to sustain you until you got something that pays more. Of course thats if you have minimum wage telemarketing job.

  • Dotty

    Oh lordy, where to start…I’ll make this quick. Heather#2 – you slate me for making ‘sweeping generalisations’ and then feel justified to use such a presumptious, condescending put down as ‘read a book’? Damn. And you tell me to keep negative comments to myself cos I can go elsewhere? A retort that George W would be proud of – how insipid…how unthinkingly censorious…what a bland sentiment. It wasn’t meant to be a blaze against dooce…simply trying to make a serious point with humour. She says herself that opposing opinions are welcome – I’m sure she wouldn’t want this to be a forum for people just to come along, kneel down and gently kiss her ass.
    Telling your life story does not give you some moral high ground. I could do the same, but it wouldn’t change my poition, or yours I fancy. My only point is that as a reaction to a slight inconvenience, calling someone I cunt is – I feel – unreasonable. And it is a response based on a presumed imbalance of power…and this is what makes the ‘minimum wage’ issue important. It is the same sentiment that allows people to shout at homeless folk to ‘get a job!’. People deserve to be treated with respect no matter who they are…whether they are in the service industries or otherwise…I am baffled that presumably rational people can have such volumes of bile toward such a minor inconvenience. And that such a throwaway comment as mine could invite such lengthy, sanctimonious response. I thangyaw…

  • I’m not gay, but if I were, I’d steal Jon away from you.

  • lovin the dooce

    ya know, dooce’s ‘job’ with this blog is to make us laugh, which she does very well. Yeah, I wouldn’t call anyone a ‘cunt’ unless they did something really worthy of the title, but didja ever think that these stories may be ‘enhanced/slightly fabricated to get the reaction that they do? Dooce has a way with words. And speaking of getting a reaction, I have never seen such a bigger group of ass-kissers in my life. Okay maybe that is a bit harsh. Dooce-worshippers, then. I always have a mental picture of hundreds of people at their computers reloading dooce’s page to see if she has posted anything. And then it’s a race to be the first to comment. That, in itself, is hilarious. Is there a prize or something?

  • Dotty

    But her biggest talent is at eliciting reaction. And after taking 10 minutes to cool my shoes, I feel silly for getting into a virtual argument…let us all chill ourselves. I mean no more disrespect to either Dooce OR Heather#2 than I imagine Dooce really meant toward that cold-caller. I was irked by Heather#2’s super-condescending response, but that’s no reason to fling yet more mud. Apologies if my original post seemed like a ‘flame’ – just reacting to what I saw y’know? I still think it was rude, but we have got sucked into a whole argument we are not in a position to wage. So, we take a breath and…..ahhhhhhhh. Relax.
    Love to all…

  • Jonathan


  • id

    It seems to me that telemarketers chould sometimes have a little more tact. I got a call a couple years ago at eleven o’clock at night. When the man started talking about lawnmowers or weed whacking or whatever it was, I interupted him and asked incredulously, “Are you really calling me at eleven at night to SELL something?”. He answered me, “Oh, is it too late?”. When I told him it definitely was, he then asked, “What would be a good time to talk to the man of the house?”. (I’m a woman, by the way). To which I responded, “Oh, you want the man of the house?”. When he said yes, he did, I told him he had the wrong number and promptly hung up. The man of the house. I never expected that. Never ever.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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