My totally unscientific, non-verified research tells me most people tend to not answer the phone when the caller is not known to the called. I’m the opposite. Unknown caller? Of course, I am answering! Private number? Yes, please.
So, when “507-607-xxxx” called me on the 9th of October at 8:23 pm, I was all ears.
“Hello?” It’s my standard open.
Pause. It’s probably a computer.
…at the end I would just ask if she still wanted to talk to John or if my opinions mattered too.
“Good evening” She had a southern drawl. Not thick, maybe Carolinian? “I’m calling from (something mumbled) and I’m trying to speak with John.”
“I’m sorry, you’re calling from where?” I know this game!
“Oh, I’m just calling to see if you would be willing to take a short survey. It is just a few questions and only takes a couple minutes.”
I mean, I was going to wash dishes, and then check on my clothes in the dryer, and the music is a little loud so I will have to turn that down. And if I do take your survey it will probably go longer than a few minutes. And I haven’t verified that I am John, so there’s my out later. And…
“Of course, I can’t commit to answering, but you are welcome to ask.”
“You can’t commit?” She laughed a little, but confusion was the prevalent tone.
“Not without an attorney present.”
“OK.” She laughed again.
“But ask away, and we can see how it goes.”
“Um…well, OK.” She wasn’t laughing, but she didn’t seem annoyed. Probably confused and already off script, and my plan was to stay as far off as we could. “As you know, there is an election coming next November, and it is still some time off, and blah blah blah, so how likely would you consider yourself to vote in that election?”
Ding, ding, ding. Happy face! Heart emoji!
These are the calls I hope for when I answer an unknown number. I don’t mind the computer calls from a resort I have recently stayed at or the potential liens from the IRS. The vehicle warranty calls can be annoying because my car is still under a warranty, but I mostly know those are BS. But this is a recruiting call. Somebody wants me on their team, and I can make myself very attractive.
“Hmm, that’s a good question. I suppose it depends on the issues.” I already knew I had answered perfectly, and I could even sense the next question. I have never played football, but I get the appeal of picking up a fumble and running, untouched, into the end zone. I just had to mention family values or gun control or immigration or whatever-gate and I knew I could figure out what voter persona I would have to take for the rest of the call. Then at the end I would just ask if she still wanted to talk to John or if my opinions mattered too.
Her confusion had subsided and now she was fired up. “That’s true, the issues are very important, and so is the election, what issues would you…”
Dial tone. Call ended 1:17.
Crap! Back to the dishes and laundry.