Just about every day we get unsolicited calls falling into three categories: telemarketers, surveys, and charitable organizations. I have found that the best way to get rid of telemarketers is not to give them a chance to talk. One of my children once asked me, “Why do you always say, ‘Lo meunyanim'” (not interested)? After saying those magic words I hang up immediately. I figure I am doing them a favor by not letting them waste their time on a non-sale, although one called me right back to chastise me for being rude. I don’t think she has much of a future as a telemarketer!
On the rare occasion that I agree to answer a survey on the phone, I always regret it. They invariably take about twenty minutes to complete, even though the caller insists that it is a “short” survey, and that he is “almost” fniished. My favorite was the marketing survey about a new type of white cheese. Each of the thirty or so questions included the name of the brand. Clearly this survey was an effective advertisement as I remember the name of the cheese to this day.
When we first came to Israel, the few requests we received from charitable organizations occurred on their “yom hatramah” or annual appeal, which was run by volunteers. Nowadays our phone rings constantly with requests for one organization or another. Lately, every week brings a new organization requesting aid for “mishpechot bimetzukah” (families in distress). How many such organizations do there need to be? There are two or three in my town alone. And the callers are as aggressive as any telemarketer. I know most of them are paid, and they must work on a commission. I don’t have any other way to explain the fact that they call every two or three months or more. When going over our expenses we recently found that my husband and I had donated to an organization twice within the same week.Then there was the caller who tearfully pleaded for funds on behalf of a patient needing an operation in chutz laaretz (outside of Israel). When I mentioned an amount the caller exclaimed, “Oh, that’s not enough!” I am not implying that the request was not genuine, but I had no way of knowing for sure.
More than once I have found an exorbitant charge to a charitable organization on my credit card statement. Fortunately I was able to cancel these donations easily. Are these genuine mistakes or are they intended to beef up a commission? It’s too bad that the reputations of these organizations become sullied by this practice. I don’t want to entrust my credit card number to careless or dishonest representatives.