Marketing targets

The cell phone of my house maid, rings five times in three hours.

We are familiar with telepathy, television, telephone, telegram, telecast and many such words with the prefix tele.

In line with these, is the new buzz-word of our generation, ‘telemarketing’. With the increase in the number of cell phone users in our country, the telemarketer is indeed having a field day. India is unique as a nation where its masses, devoid of access to private toilets, enjoy the comfort of owning and using cell phones. An intelligent telemarketer makes no mistake to exploit this situation.

The cell phone of my house maid, for instance, rings on an average five times in the three hours she works in my home every morning. Initially, she would drop her work at hand and make a beeline to her bag to answer the call.

The automated broadcast of the telemarketer selling a product, service or even soliciting her support in the forthcoming municipal election was, for the new cell phone user a moment of great thrill. “Amma, my corporator is asking for my vote in his favour,” she would say happily when she understood the recorded Kannada message. For other messages in English, she would catch on to some key word and build her own message around it.

Hence for those calls announcing the ‘season’s end sales,’ her understanding would be that a meteorologist was announcing the end of the current season! Nevertheless she had a good time at the feeling of importance she was getting from such calls. Her excitement was however, short lived as she soon realised that there was nothing in it for her from these calls. This contempt resulted in her ignoring all the calls that came in the morning hours.

My own experiences with telemarketing calls are also quite similar. While at a piano recital the other day, I felt the cell-phone in my purse vibrate. Fearing an emergency that might require my attention, I scuttled out to answer the call, almost tripping over the feet of the person seated next to me. It did not take me long to realise that the caller was a telemarketer trying to sell me a ‘villa’ off Bandipur Wildlife Reserve.

“This is an inaugural offer for a select few,” she insisted when I voiced my disinterest and annoyance.

I hear telemarketing woes all the time from friends as well. Recently my friend related a rather humorous incident. While shopping with her husband at a jewellery store, he received a telemarketing call, much to his annoyance.  “I am not interested,” he yelled.  The poor salesman mistaking that the yelling was aimed at him, quickly cleared all the sets away!

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