In the past year, telemarketers have become a bigger nuisance in my life than ever before. At first I would just hang up on them. The calls kept coming. Then I started to ask to be taken off their calling lists. The calls kept coming. I got angrier and angrier but...The calls kept coming. I realized, hey, why not toy with these inconsiderate jerks the way they toy with me? Since they have an incentive to trudge through the call to the end, they stay on the line MUCH longer and take MUCH more abuse than you'd normally expect. I've turned telemarketing calls into prank calls where the "mark" calls me! Here are a few strategies I've come up with. Some I've tried already, and others I am itching to try in the near future. Deaf Guy: Make the operator repeat everything twice by shouting into the phone "EXCUSE ME? I CAN BARELY HEAR YOU!" every 15 seconds or so. Being sure to interrupt since it adds to the realism. The operator will gradually raise her voice until she is screaming too. Once she reaches maximum volume, say in a calm, cool voice, "There is no reason to shout at me." Silent Guy: This is almost the opposite of Deaf Guy. Try to speak as little as possible...and when you do, whisper with only a "yes" or "no" answer. The object is to allow the operator to go as long as possible without you saying a word. Eventually, there will be a moment where the operator will think you may have hung up the phone. "Hello, are you there?" Don't answer immediately. "Hello?...Heeeellllooo?" The longer you can drag out the uncomfortable silence, the better. Just before they are about to disconnect, whisper, "yes, I'm here", and start again. Please Hold: In this one, the object is simply to put the operator on hold...and leave them there. The call goes something like this: "Hello, I'm Jane Doe from the Acme Widget Company and..." cut her off immediately and say, "Oh, yes...I've been looking to buy an Acme Widget, can you hold for a second, I have a call on the other line?" The key is to REALLY sell yourself. Then just put the operator on hold and walk away. If you have a speaker phone, put the call on speaker and hit the mute button. See how long the operator waits before she hangs up. Hey Baby: After the operator gets done with her intro, say something like, "Wow, you have a really sexy voice.". Then at the next pause you say something like, "I'll bet you are gorgeous...are you married?" As the call moves on, show as little interest in the sales pitch as possible, but keep pouring on the complements. Eventually, ask her out for a date, and DO NOT take "no" for an answer...even if you have to promise to fly across the country to meet her. This works best if the operator is of the opposite sex, but it can also work for the same sex if you are feeling adventurous. It's a Pleasure: Take "Hey Baby" in a slightly different direction. Ask the operator what she looks like. Ask her what she is wearing. Again, keep pushing the envelope with increasingly personal questions. As the call continues, gradually increase your heavy breathing. If she actually answers any of your questions, respond with a breathy, "Oh yeah, I like that". Mr. Potty Mouth: Do not answer a single question without using an obscenity. Instead of saying "yes", say enthusiastically, "You bet your @$$!" or instead of "no" shout, "Are you F___ing out of your mind?!?" Confusion: Refuse to acknowledge the actual product being sold. If the telemarketer is selling cell phones, ask questions as if they were selling mattresses. The trick is to start off with rather vague questions that could be construed as legitimate (although weird), and work your way to more specific questions. Here's an example for a telemarketer selling cell phones: "How comfortable are they?" "Will I be able to fit it in my bedroom if the room dimensions are 12 x 16" "If I buy this, will I sleep better?" "How thick is the padding?" "Do I get a free box-spring?" When the operator finally catches on and corrects your mistake, say, "Oh, you are selling cell phones? I'm sorry, I already have one." and hang up. Hannibal: Some telemarketing calls are consumer surveys. As soon as you realize it is a survey, say in your creepiest voice, "If I help you, Clarice, it will be 'turns' for us. Quid pro quo. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no? Yes or no, Clarice? Poor little Catherine is waiting." This should be followed with a long maniacal laugh...keep laughing until she hangs up.