My Ship Almost Came In
My ship's aglow with a million pearls.
And rubies fill each bin.
The sun sits high in a sapphire sky
When my ship comes in.
Lady in the Dark
A number of years ago, consultant Dick Benson called me, and in the course of our conversation, he said, "I predict that in five years outbound cold-call telemarketing to consumers will be dead." I filed away his prediction in my mind and decided not to use it in the book of direct marketing rules I wrote with Don Jackson. Five years later, I found Benson had gotten it backwards. Cold-call outbound telemarketing to consumers was very much alive. Benson was dead.
I work at home and receive a lot of cold calls from telemarketers. Particularly galling is when the phone rings, I answer it, and there is dead silence on the other end—a predictive dialer too quick for the telephone sales rep.
One day as I was having a sandwich in the kitchen, the phone rang. A woman started promising to save me a lot of money on my long distance calling. I said I was not interested and hung up. She immediately called back.
"You don't understand," she said. "I am not trying to sell you anything. I want to save you money."
"On my long distance."
"That's it. If I were selling you something I would be asking for money. But I can save you money."
"So you want me to quit MCI and buy your service, is that it?"
"Uh … well, yes."
"So you are selling me something," I screamed. "Don't you ever call me again you sleazy dishonest @####@!"
And I slammed the phone down.
She was so offended that over the following week she called two or three times a day. Sometimes she would say, "Hello, Denny." Sometimes it was silence on the other end of the phone. I got call waiting and when she called, the display said "NAME UNKNOWN, NUMBER UNKNOWN." I stopped answering the phone and she stopped calling.