Since the advent of the do-not-call registry, however, and my signing up for it, my goodwill has vanished. (The industry's kicking and screaming and attempts to use free speech laws to cover their desire to sell me siding helped.) I have asked them politely to cease and desist. They haven't. They are now getting paid to bother me when I have asked them not to. And so, I no longer think sympathetically of people doing a crappy job, I think of someone who is accepting money to Aggravate Me Against My Will. I don't care that they're not getting paid well, or that they need the money. Hit men don't get paid nearly enough and undoubtedly need the money too, but I am not obligated to be polite when they are kneecapping me. If you take money to bother people, you're taking money to bother people, and you should expect them to react. If you are paid to blow a kazoo in the ear of a sleeping wolverine, it is ultimately not the wolverine's fault that you will require the services of a surgeon, a therapist, and a proctocologist with very long tongs afterwards.
So pretty much as soon as more than three words are out of their mouth, and I have determined it's a form call, I say "I don't want any."
If they say "Okay," and hang up, we're all good. I bear them only a small amount of ill will. But god help them if they continue. I can fit an adverb seven or eight times in a sentence, all of them beginning with "F."
Since we moved, I've been getting two or three calls a day for "Mrs. Jackson," who obviously had the number before us. When I say "Wrong number," they move on to "Are you the lady of the house?" which is not so much waving a red flag before the bull as using the red flag to staple the bull's eyelids open. I don't really like being called "lady" at the best of times--at 8 AM, by a telemarketer who got a wrong number but refuses to let go a breathing body on the other end of the line, death is too good for them.
An acquaintence of mine swore up and down that the best way to get rid of 'em was, after the spiel, to say "So...what're you wearing?" but it loses some of the effect when you're female, alas.
And that's my gripe for the day. Damnit.