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Telemarketers Describe The Biggest Freakouts They've Experienced On The Job

Updated October 13, 2018 5k views19 items

There are many difficult jobs out there. As anyone who has worked in the service industry knows, it's tough to find an easy, safe, and rewarding way to make a buck. But few career paths are as challenging as telemarketing.

Telemarketers have a notoriously bad rap for interrupting people's dinner or TV time. Everyone needs to make a living, though, and telemarketers are merely trying to do their jobs like everyone else. Plus, besides experiencing rudeness, telemarketers sometimes must deal with aggressive prospective clients.

These hilarious and cringe-worthy telemarketer horror stories from Reddit entail people in the industry describing their worst yet most memorable calls. These may not compel you to join their profession, but should at least help you sympathize with our telemarketing brethren. 

  • Grandma Dishing Out Sass

    From Redditor /u/formertelemarketer

    There are several of them that I and my coworkers find humorous that wouldn't be humorous to other people (such as when people try to tell us calling them is against the law, and they sound so f*cking uppity about it). I've heard more funny ones than I've been a part of. My favorite one was with an older grandmother who was watching one of her grandchildren. She was actually a sale, and halfway through the process, she asks me to hold on - obviously I say yes, then wait.

    I hear some commotion in the background, then she comes back. "Okay, can we expedite this? I'm making cookies with my grandson, and he just spilled a gallon of milk all over my slippers. He says he's sorry, but I know he isn't."

    [This is] followed by the shriek of a small child who's just been sassed (he had to be only like 5) yelling, "I AM SORRYYYYYYYYYYYY."

    [And the grandma saying,] "NO, YOU'RE NOT."

  • Going Nuclear

    From Redditor /u/Relacuna:

    I, too, worked at a health insurance company, doing customer service for payments, plan changes, the fun stuff.

    This woman calls in, we ask for member ID, name, date of birth, and zip code. She yells at me right away that she didn't have her ID because she never got her "f*cking ID cards." Okay, so I go to name and date of birth, [and] she doesn't pull up in our system.

    I try everything I can think of, spelling the name differently, transposing numbers in her DOB to see if they were entered wrong, the whole thing.

    Since we only offer insurance in a small portion of the country, I ask for her state and zip code.

    She then SCREAMS in the phone to the point that the call is distorted, and I can't understand what she's trying to string together. I hear "f*ck," "g*ddamn," and "c*nt" clearly, and screaming sobs. This b*tch was going NUCLEAR.

    I again try the second search of asking for state and zip code. Which... makes her lose her sh*t even more. She manages to stop scream-crying, and just YELLS at me that she hopes my mother r*pes me like we're r*ping her and hangs up.

    My supervisor was live monitoring that call, and was able to go in and get her phone number. She was calling from a state we don't even offer insurance in, she called the wrong company.

  • The Existential Crisis

    From Redditor /u/OhBother:

    Once, a lady said she didn't know what I did to end up where I was in life. That one kind of stung.

  • Just Doing Our Job

    From Redditor /u/newm1070:

    I worked at my [university's] phone center for three years calling alum and parents, asking for donations. I loved it and rocked at it. I raised 50k last year for my school.

    Honestly the rejection doesn't even [faze] me - you are on the phone, you are most likely never going to see them ever in your life, so f*ck 'em, you don't need them. It also creates great small-talk skills and made me a lot more confident because I do not have a fear of rejection anymore. I can go up to guys at bars, hit on 'em, and not worry about being shot down. I now work at a publishing company calling teachers and same thing, but the teachers are a lot nicer. I do have some horror stories, though, from my university phone center.

    I have been called a f*ggot multiple times on the phone when making small talk. You know, you talk about what they were involved in and what you are, I would say I was involved in the school's GSA [Gay-Straight Alliance] club and apparently that did not sit well with some donors.

    To be fair, it is a Catholic school, so I should not have been too surprised. It gave me a tough skin, though, and I really did enjoy it. Some of the girls I worked with though would leave crying... some people are really jerks. Lesson of the story, don't forget that you are actually talking to a person on the other side of the phone, and treat them like you would treat someone face to face. We are just doing our job and making calls.