I refuse to be sympathetic to these poor unfortunate souls. I was before, not so much anymore. I was called by my school's alumni association looking for pledges of devotion towards the university, by monetary expression. This Sophomore, or so he claimed to be, was good at what he did. I really hate hanging up on anybody, and I understand it's their job, but I wish I would have. I feel...used. Here is the strategy...
1) Bring up fond memories of your time at the university so you'll feel gratitude towards the institution
Telemarketer Joe: So ma'am, did you enjoy your time here?
Me: Yes, I did.
Telemarketer Joe: What was your favorite part?
Telemarketer Joe: (nervous laughter) Oh, ha ha, being done, well, yes, good for you, ha ha, well I'm a Sophomore and my favorite parts are (insert long pre-printed list here)
2) Ask for a very large sum of money first, you’ll be more inclined to acquiesce to smaller sums by the laws of telemarketing endurance (they’re going on half dozen cups of coffee; they caught you just getting out of the shower).
Telemarketer Joe: Because of above fond memories, can I put you down for $500 so these memories can be shared for generations to come?
Me: Um, no. I feel I did my part with tuition.
Telemarketer Joe: Oh, ha ha, well, you know, we are not a state supported school and blah blah blah, can I put you down for $200?
Me: Still no. (I am perversely staying on the line to see how long this will continue)
Telemarketer Joe: (rattling right along) if you've been on campus lately you'll see all the fine renovation projects in progress, last year we raised 1.5 million dollars by contributions from faithful alumni like yourself, and most of this was made up of smaller gifts, can I put you down for $100?
Me: that's a smaller gift?
Telemarketer Joe: How 'bout 50$?
Me: I give you credit for being so persistent, but at this point in my life I really don't foresee myself giving anything to this organization, but thank you for the call. (I can smooth talk with the best of them)
At this point Telemarketer Joe knows I'm going to hang up on him, so he saves face by thanking me for my time and mentioning something about keeping the foundation in mind when I next get a big fat paycheck or something...he was talking so fast it was hard to make out. I looked at the clock, 20 whole minutes! That must've been a record for him, I know it was for me. The whole thing felt so insincere and underhanded, trying to be my friend for the nano-second I talk to you so I'll give you money. Honestly. Which is wasn't.