If you register on the “Do Not Call Registry,” solicitors are not supposed to call unless they’re charitable, political or already have a business relationship with you. While this may look like it is there to protect you, you need to look at it from the other person’s perspective.

In this case, if you walk a mile in the other person’s moccasins you’ll likely start suffering from a strange and incurable foot disease.

Many legitimate organizations subcontract their fundraising activities. When they contract with professional fund raising services, the charity may receive almost nothing (10 cents on the dollar in some cases) from all money donated. There was an excellent article in the Virginian Pilot http://hamptonroads.com/2011/10/donor-beware-your-money-might-not-go-where-you-think that discussed this.

Imagine winning the lottery and in your excitement you donate $1,000 to a charity through their fundraiser. The fundraiser is allowed to keep $900, and it’s all legal.

Naturally, this got me thinking. If I’m a telemarketer who handles charitable clients as well as for-profit clients, doesn’t that mean you and I already have a business relationship? If so, I can call you and try to sell you anything!

Of course, I could always use the six degrees from Kevin Bacon line of logic. You donate to a local charity. That charity uses a telemarketing firm. The local charity has their phone service with the same company as you. Therefore as a telemarketing firm that uses the phone system, I’m entitled to call you.

Or, if you make a donation to a charity by check or credit card, that means you have a business relationship with a bank. If it’s a national bank, the telemarketer may use that same bank, so it could argue that there’s already a business relationship. 

The latest wrinkle is that telemarketers and debt collectors have figured out how to spoof caller IDs. Now “technically” this is “illegal” but we know what that really means. It means that it will continue until some lawyer files a class action suit and all of us who are affected will get a 25 cent coupon for some product that the telemarketers have been trying to sell us.

I believe in picking my battles. I believe in not letting things upset me. I believe in Occam’s Razor; (Wikipedia defines this concept as “simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones.”)

My solution – when the phone rings and it turns out to be a telemarketer or other obnoxious caller:

1. A police whistle or other loud noisemaker

Of course, these other possibilities have benefits as well:

2. Interrupt the caller and explain that in their line of business they need ready access to accurate information, which is why you want to sell them a set of encyclopedias.

3. Gush as to how lonely you’ve been and are so glad they called. So lonely! Ask them where they grew up. Their favorite color. After each answer, be effusive in your support for their answer and how wonderful it is. The clingier the better.

4. Tell them that you’re very interested and have been thinking about (fill in their product or charity here) the whole time you were in prison for passing bad checks and credit card fraud.

5. Tell them of course you want to buy or donate, but first you need their social security number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name.

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