Don’t call us

The phone rings. I force a smile. My face feels stiff so I rub my cheeks and smile wider. They say that smiling helps you sound friendlier on the phone. I think this is true. I stand for a moment to help with my flow. I sit again and look at the screen. Keep ringing, keep ringing, I think, Just don’t pick up.


“Oh good evening, hello there. Am I speaking to Mr blah, blah, blah?”

“Yes, who’s asking?” Mr blah, blah, blah sounds suspicious. I can feel him bristling. I suspect I’ve interrupted his supper.

I explain who I am. He asks how I got his information. I have a vague but, ultimately, inadequate answer.

I really, really do understand when he makes his excuses and goes.

It pains me that his supper will be interrupted again, likely on another night this week.

He gave a “hard no” but didn’t actually ask for his details to be removed from the database so the system reschedules his call.

I pray it won’t be from me.

In a sense, it wasn’t hard work. Sit at a desk, make some calls, try to make the sale.

Some people seemed to love it. They got a real buzz from it.

I hated it. I was losing my mind. I couldn’t emotionally remove myself from the situation.

I’m not proud of it but I walked out mid-shift and never went back. I didn’t even call or write to resign.

That’s not something I want to teach my daughter.

It’s made me really feel for the person on the other end of the phone

It’s also helped me perfect my exit strategy with absolute clarity that I do not want to be called again.

I’ve become cautious about writing my number down for anything

I even leave our landline phone unplugged most of the time.

After all, who needs a telemarketing call when trying to get a toddler to nod off for a nap?

Despite all this, I still get the calls from people with eery accuracy for my daughter’s age.

They come with offers and surveys perfectly suited to me as a parent.

In the sleep-deprived early days of Talitha’s life I struggled with my “hard no”. I certainly never remembered to ask how they got my details.

Remembering my own name was a challenge, let alone figuring out how they knew mine.

More often than not, I had one arm awkwardly maneuvering a newborn I did not yet feel comfortable holding, with her attached to the breast.

I’ve been on both sides of this so, like a real cliché, I just hate on “the system”.

The system can be changed, though, which is why I am glad to participate in Bounty‘s campaign against the selling of parents’ phone numbers to third parties.

Really, don’t call us.
I received the trim phone pictured above as a “thank you” from Bounty for participating in this campaign. I may even plug it in.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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