A couple of years ago I was on the receiving end of numerous telemarketing calls from a medicare scam. They called multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times per day. The scam was operated by a company that targets senior citizens, and would offer to send them knee or back braces for free or for a very low cost over the phone. How my number ended up on their marketing list is a complete mystery, as I am nowhere near the age of their chosen target market.
For those who are foolish enough to accept these offers, they would receive low quality braces that barely fit (given the patient was never measured at all). Medicare would be billed to pay for these shoddy products, while at the same time the victim’s medicare benefits would also be used up; if they do end up being prescribed braces by their doctors some time down the road, they may not have enough benefits left to pay for them.
Given the company is of a fraudulent nature to begin with, they ignored my attempts to remove my number off of their call list. Since they kept calling no matter what, over time I started having fun with them. I would purposefully speak in a very bad imitation of an old man’s voice and proceed to prank or troll the telemarketers.
One particular instance that made a strong impression on me was when a young lady called, trying again for the Nth time to sell me cruddy knee braces that I don’t need. I listened to her for about 30 seconds and answered a couple of basic questions in the process. This gave her the time to go over her sales pitch and built up the impression that I’m interested, hence lowering her mental defense. I then interrupted her, speaking in a very bad, nasal (for I was recovering from a very bad cold on that day) impression of an elderly man’s voice:
Only awkward, perhaps confused silence came from her end of the phone. I pressed on, for it’s best to strike the iron while it’s hot:
“You neiiiiiigh-ger! Get it? Because horses go neeeeeiiigh! Neigh-ger!”
I followed up with a few more imitations of a horse’s neighing, while maintaining my horrible old man accent. The combination of the cheesy dad joke, crappy pun, racist statement and purposeful mis-gendering of her sex must have pushed her over her limit. The little telemarketer exploded into a stream of expletives, and hung up on me.
Deliciously, a few seconds after she hung up, she called me back again, just to hurl more verbal abuse my way. She was truly enraged by what I said. She even threatened to call my number everyday. Due to my cold and the slight fever I was running, I didn’t bother sending any witty responses back her way. I simply imitated whatever she spoke in a sing-songy voice. “Gonna call you everyday!” became “awoo, Onna oll jyouu errday~” and so on and so forth. After a bit more of this, she hung up in exasperation and I was never called by this company again.
What I found to be curious, though, was how she was so enraged. The young telemarketer girl was definitely white from the way her accent sounded. The racist reference to the black man was not something that directly insulted her.
On the one hand, she is fine with scamming the elderly, even people who she is directly speaking with on the phone, and to work for a company that exclusively scammed medicare & the federal government. On the other hand, an insult directed to a group of people who are not even present to take offense pushed her to righteous fury. The difference between her response to the two different acts struck me as strange. The society, or possibly education system, that created whatever values that guides her that allowed for acceptance toward the scam while rage toward the harmless remark, struck me as being stranger still.
…if only she had reserved her righteous fury for the company she worked for.