by Rod Bartchy
I used to just
say No Thanks to telemarketers and
hang up. On occasion, after say the third
call in six minutes regarding a great deal on
crawl space inspections, I might let loose with
some invective. It was dinner time, ok, and
the cat was eyeing my salmon.
But last month
I had a change of tune, both literally and
As soon as the
telemarketer got her pitch out, I launched into a
robust version of Home on the Range. When I got
to a discouraging word, she hung up.
Since then Ive
had a lot of success with this approach. Many
of the calls are sourced overseas. How to
respond to Home on the Range is not spelled out
in their telemarketer playbook about saving me
money on my electric bill.
ready to rock if it goes to cost comparisons,
kilowatt hours, and two-year deals. But
where the deer and the antelope play
leaves them baffled.
But to the
credit of some telemarketers, after a stanza of
Home on the Range, theyll still gamely try
to get me back on point.
Rod it is home we are talking about and we can
save you money on your electric bill.
My last name
is virtually unpronounceable unless youre
Swiss, so telemarketers worldwide call me Mr. Rod. They
all claim to have names like Frank, Jim, Sally or
Carol to make me feel comfortable
So now I have
a choice. Sing another stanza. Pick a
different tune, or riff off their bogus names.
hows the weather in Albania this morning? or
is India a good place to retire?
This too is
not in their playbook. Some will disconnect at
this point, but a brave few will persevere.
is a very good place, Mr. Rod. But you do
need life insurance. Who will pay the bills
home on the range when you are
But when this
happens Ill up the ante and launch into my
brothers favorite number, Who Let the Dogs
After a couple
of stanzas, Ill pause. Theyre
usually stunned into silence at this point. Then
Ill press on, accusingly.
the dogs out, didnt you, Frank! Not
instinctively protest their innocence while
frantically riffling through their playbook under
rare one that gamely tries to use dogs to
redirect me back to their pitch.
Take the case
of Sam from Shanghai. After the
first verse of Who Let the Dogs Out, he
melodiously returned with
Mr. Rod, your pets are important to you but so is
your phone bill.
that one. I parried with my rap version of
Park is &%!@% melting in the dark, dog, all
that sweet green icings goin down.
Sam came back,
not with a spiel about my phone bill, but with a
great reggae rendition of the next lyric.
left da cake out in da rain, mon. I dont
think, I dont think I can take it
Think Bob Marley with a Cantonese accent.
Game on Sam.
took too long to bake it I countrify in my
soulful faux Willie Nelson tenor.
Ill never have that recipe again
Sam did a great late career Sinatra.
special was happening. We both knew it. And
the next line happened spontaneously, both of us
no! Sam held the note a bit
longer than I did. A beautiful moment really.
the rest of MacArthur Park. Yellow cotton dress
men playing checkers. You know the song.
buy into his sketchy cell phone companys
two-year deal. He figured as much. We were
past that now. But I did invite him to call
me back anytime with his play list. Were
buds now and on a slow night in Shanghai Im
always available to sing the blues.