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When Is Free, Free? Another “This is Joe” Enterprise

When Is Free, Free? Another “This is Joe” Enterprise

My land line just rang. It was Joe again, a medical health care advisor. Apparently, someone in our household is suffering from hearing issues. That may or may not be the case but if and when it happens, Joe won’t be the first to know.

I’m just about fed up with telemarketers. Day and night they call, badgering me with good news of free medical care, debt consolidation, offering a special promotion that is going on for this or that, or congratulating me on winning a free trip. That 5 day free cruise I won will only cost me $199 per person – yadda…yadda…yadda. Free is not free anymore!

By the time you’ve paid all the hidden tax and fees, bought a new wardrobe for the trip, gathered up spending money, and arranged travel to and from the ship, you’ve spent a small fortune on a trip you didn’t know you wanted – and can’t remember signing up for – you may have to take out a small loan to pay for it.

The difference between my answering the phone and H answering the phone is about twenty minutes. I can usually tell when something’s not quite right. I always say no quickly and hang up. And when they ask for H, I say he isn’t available – even if he’s standing next to me. He tends to listen to the whole spiel and then ask questions before saying no and hanging up. This tends to happen, more often than not, as we are walking out the door.

Have you ever gotten one of those calls saying you have been awarded a free government grant? Really? I sincerely believe that if the government was going to give me a chunk of money I never applied for, they would not hire foreigners to advise me of how to go about receiving it. Who’s with me here? Puhlease!

Calls from medical advisors stating Medicare as the key word aggravate me to no end. Numerous times the voice on the other end – usually a foreign accent that no normal person can completely understand – informs me that they have been notified that someone (if they had been notified, surely they have my name) in the household is having knee or back pain.

Of course older people have back or knee pain. It’s called a fact of life. I haven’t admitted knee or back pain to any medical offices and haven’t authorized disclosing my medical conditions to a third party. When they mention the word Medicare and you are there or nearing that age, most of the elderly stand up and take notice. Or they stay seated depending on the amount of pain they are in at the moment. These senior citizens are drawn into the web of deceit by the spider. I’m nearing that stage, but not quite there yet, and my mental faculties are still in tact!

Getting old means not always hearing or clearly understanding the guy on the other end of the phone line. These telemarketers know exactly which words and phrases to use to draw in the elderly and prey on their lack of knowledge. Mention pain combined with Medicare to someone who doesn’t know any better and you have the formula for disaster. By the end of the conversation you could be the proud owner of a piece of medical equipment you’ve been convinced you can’t live without – one that will do you no good sitting in the corner, still packed in the box, because it’s too complicated to understand – and a chunk is missing from your bank balance no matter how much Medicare chipped in.

I have no problem understanding Joe, but there is a lack of communication between us when I say, “We are not interested. Don’t call back.” What can I say? He’s a man and has selective hearing.

As soon as H retired we started getting calls informing us not to worry. Our credit cards were not in arrears, but we were eligible for a program to pay off our debts at a greatly reduced amount. That threw up a red flag because we didn’t have but one credit card and it carried a zero balance.

The daily mail to retirees and the elderly contains offers of programs to consolidate their debts with the letter worded consistently and expertly to make it sound as a notice informing you of the fact that if don’t pay them off immediately, with funds from their offers, you will be facing ruination or possibly a lawsuit. Another disaster in the making if you don’t read and understand the fine print.

Another offer we get quite regularly is for extended coverage on our vehicles – both of which are less than three years old. The letters are worded as though our warranty has never been activated and if we call now all will be fine in the world. Actually, they are trying to sell us an extended warranty which Dave Ramsey says to never buy.

I signed up for Social Security last year because it made sense for me to draw at sixty-two. I immediately started receiving offers of supplement insurance by phone, mail, and email daily, even though it would be three years until I would be eligible.

What happened to the days when you wanted some information you went looking for it? Now it comes looking for you whether you want it or not and doesn’t take NO for an answer.

I’ve decided that there is no way to stop these calls or letters or offers in the mail. They will keep coming as long as we have a phone and an address.

“Try it for free today!” Watch out for that statement, on the phone and in print, and never give your banking or credit information to these people.

Be careful. It’s scary out there! Rant over…




We’ve all gotten the calls on our landlines. You know the ones. Those pesky great offers of free vacations that only cost you an arm and a leg, or the insurance you don’t want but you can’t live without – or so they say.

Enough is enough! We sign up, registering our phone numbers on the National ‘DO NOT CALL’ Registry, clap our hands together and say “Oh goody! No more of that!”

But…the buck doesn’t stop there. Those telemarketers are a tough and crafty bunch. They’ve gotten access to our cell phone numbers now and the calls continue. Lucky us! We are now able to register our cell phone numbers with National ‘DO NOT CALL’ Registry.

Still, no matter what, the calls continue on landlines and cell numbers, but you know you can file a complaint if they do – which they do. What does filing a complaint consist of? I’m not sure exactly, because I’ve never filed that complaint.  You may  need the name of the caller, the number of the caller, what time of day the call was made, and what the caller was wearing. I have no caller ID on my land line and that’s where most of those aggravating calls come from. I just don’t answer on my cell phone if I don’t recognize the number.

There is one call we get on our land line day after day. It’s from Joe, and he’s with a medical insurance group of some kind. It’s the kind I need – he thinks. Joe is only an automated voice on the other end of the line. He has no set time to call. He makes his own hours and will even leave a message (usually a partial message) on the answering machine if he’s missed me. I don’t return the call because he usually calls back anyway. He’s a hard one to shake! Monday our call went like this:

Me – “Hello”

Joe – “Hello. This is Joe”

Me – silence trying to wait Joe out

Joe – “Hello. Are you there?”

Me – “Yes, Joe. I’m here. Please take my name off your call list. We are not interested.” (I was trying to be nice though I was irritated because Joe calls at least five times a week.)

Joe – silence…

Me – “Are you there Joe? Please take this number off your calling list. We are not interested.”

Joe – With a little laugh, (Have you ever heard an automated laugh? If not, you’re in for a treat!) “That’s funny you asked that question. Is it because you don’t understand?”

Me – “I understand you want to sell me something I don’t want Joe. TAKE MY NUMBER OFF YOUR LIST!” (By now I had lost my temper which is something that happens when you try to have a conversation with an automated voice.)

Joe – “No.”

Me – “YES!”

Joe – “No.”

Me – “YES!”

Joe – “No.”

This “yes” and “no” dialog went on for a bit before my button had been pushed too far.

Me – “YES. Take my number off the list Joe!”

Joe – “No…No…No…blip”

Me – YES! YES! YES!”

Joe – “No…No…No…No… blip No…No…blip No…No…No…etc. etc. etc.”

Me – Frustrated I hang up.

Next day – Joe calls again. I hung up. I knew it was useless to argue with him. Joe doesn’t take directions well.

Another Joe story here.




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