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A question of time:

Is it polite to hang up on telemarketers?  What if they just start talking and don’t give you the opportunity to decline?


Why yes, of course it is.  Why shouldn’t it be?

I have a friend who devised a delightful time waster for them.  When they ask for her by name, she says that she’ll go and get her(self), and then sets her phone down and just goes about her business until they hang up.  That way, she reasons, she’s sparing someone else the dilemma of whether or not to hang up on them.  It may not be polite, but it’s funny.

Telemarketers are not actually people, they’re salespeople, and there is a profound difference.  You aren’t hanging up on a friend in need, you’re disconnecting from an unwelcome intrusion into your life.  You didn’t give them permission to call you, and you didn’t sign up to be contacted (rather, you better not have, cause otherwise you are being a shit).

I’ll give you a slight out.  Since they started the conversation without you, you can end it without them.  Simply say, over whatever they’re saying, “I’m sorry, but no, thank you,” and hang up.  You’ve obeyed the forms of politeness just as much as they have, and everybody is happy.

As soon as you hang up, go to your computer and sign up at the National Do Not Call Registry.  Go to and register your home and mobile numbers.  This will take you off all those pesky lists, save the political action ones, sadly.  And if you’re in a swing state, more’s the pity.

I’m sorry for you.


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