I’m looking for a second job to get a little extra money in the bank. We want to buy a house, and every little bit helps.
I was looking through the classifieds at Mountain Xpress when I found the perfect job scam. The nature of the company was pretty obvious from the advertisement:
Companies desperately need employees to assemble products at home. No selling; any hours. $500 weekly potential. Information: 1-985-646-1700, Department NC-6529. (Source)
Up to 2k a month, and you don’t even have to leave your house? Sounds too good to be true, so of course it is. But I like playing the sucker from time to time, so I called.
“Are you calling about the ad in the paper?” a woman asked when I called. No greeting, no pleasantries -– straight to the chase.
“Yes,” I reply.
“Is this the first time you’ve called?” my inquisitor asks. If red flags hadn’t been up when I first read the ad, they would be up now.
“Yes,” I respond.
“Are you calling for yourself or for someone else?” Now comes a bit of a puzzle. If this weren’t such an obvious scam, I might in addition to myself be calling for my wife. Two people can put together twice as much cheap plastic crap as one person.
Thinking all this, I hesitate, the reply, “I’m not sure.” I was going to ask for clarification, but the pleasant lady didn’t give me a chance.
“Well, you call back when you are sure.” Click.
Being rude to me on the phone is not a good idea. I like to call back. And so I do. Unfortunately, another woman answers the phone.
I decide to go through the whole monologue.
It turns out there are simply dozens of companies out there who just need my help. “What will you be doing?” the operator asks rhetorically and almost breathlessly. I can put together wooden CD shelves, jewelry boxes, and so on. This fine company will put me in contact with all these other companies who need my help. All for just a small fee of forty-three dollars. “And you don’t even need to worry about that, because we have a money back guarantee, written — on page three of our brochure.” It’s just too bad I don’t have one of these sitting in front of me. Still -talking- reading on the same breath as she started the -conversation- monologue with, the kind lady tells me that I can put this small, insignificant fee on a credit card, or I can send a check–why, I can even do it C.O.D.
“Come to me baby! Come to me C.O.D.” I think. She probably wouldn’t get the allusion. (Do you? Quick, quick — name the song and artist. And no Googling!) Besides, I couldn’t get a word in even if I greased it up really well, so I just smile to myself and continue listening.
Finally, I sense the spiel is winding down, and I get ready to say, “I’m not really interested.” Here it comes… “And so do you have any questions, sir?”
“No, but I don’t think I’m interested.”
“Something-unintelligible-about-four-syllables-long” comes the staccato reply, then click!
I bemoan my poor memory: “Why, oh why can’t I remember this woman’s name?” I have to call back. There’s just no choice.
It’s a moral imperative. (Quick — what movie?)
I get to the “Is this the first time you’ve called” point, and say, “No — actually it’s the third time.”
“I’m just calling to suggest you hire some operators with better people skills,” I continue.
“I know,” she sympathizes. She confesses that they’ve been getting a lot of complaints. I think, “Sounds like you should be monitoring your calls, with the little announcement at the beginning of the phone call that we’re all so used to hearing now.”
We chat for a couple of minutes. There’s no way for anyone to track down who it was that took my two calls, she explains. All the lines are directed to the one phone number, and there’s just a room full of people answering these phones.
“Well, then I suggest you get better telephone hardware, because tracking who answered a call like that is a pretty basic thing,” I explain. Whoosh — over her head.
Should I ask for a supervisor? She probably wouldn’t know what one is. “We just clock in, start answering the phones — we don’t even know who we’re working for.”
After I hung up, I thought about calling back again, but what for? These jerks have to deal with enough jerks like me, I’m sure.
They’re just tryin’ to make a buck…