a couple of months ago pam placed us on the louisiana and federal “no-call” lists. this means that telemarketers are suppose to have been notified that we’re not interested in receiving phone calls from them. it’s worked pretty well. in fact today i received a telemarketing phone call and it was the first i had received in a couple of weeks. since i was waiting for paint to dry on some molding when the call came i decided to let the salesman run through her whole spill. i figured this would be as good a way to waste time as any. i placed one ground rule upon myself, after i said “hello” and identified myself i would only say the word “no.” i would not respond with any other words. of course, the sales woman didn’t really want me to say anything until her spill was through. she started her spill and went on for 5 minutes. at the end of it she asked if i would be interested in this extra insurance.

i said “no.”

she said she was sorry to hear that and surely i didn’t realize how good this insurance was. she re-described it for 3 more minutes (i was timing all this just to see how long it would go on). at the end of the 3 minutes she asked if i might be interested now.

i said “no.”

this time she was very concerned that i simply didn’t understand how much money paying extra for their insurance would say me. so she decided to walking me through the benefits. she did this for 7 minutes and then asked if maybe now i would consider the insurance that would cost me nothing for the first 30 days.

i said “no.”

we had now had a 15 minute very one sided telephone conversation (albeit with me having a mere one word vocabulary). for some odd reason i was really beginning to enjoy this game. i was really hoping that it would go on and eventually lead to her asking questionings that were not of the “yes/no” variety. i was looking forward to her asking open ended questions that i could then respond to with “no.�”

“what type of work do you do, mr. terrell?�”


“excuse me?”


i started laughing to myself and then i realized that i might reach the holy grial of the “no” game and get her to ask, “can you say anything other than �no�, mr. terrell?”

alas, my goal was not to be, because she simply continued to push on with her sales routine. she talked for nine more minutes total (bringing the telephone call up to a total time of 24 minutes) and i was able to issue 4 more “no”s. my second to last one was in response to the question, “mr. terrell, is there any way i can convince you to try this insurance?” of course, my answer was already determined before hand and therefore the conversation was ended. i did get one last “no” in when she said “good bye.” i think the last “no” actually confused her.

on the good side after 24 minutes my paint was dry and i was back to work.

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