Dec 022012

I’ve just finished making the video below and it reminded me that when I first moved to the US, I found ending telephone calls a challenge. We used to get a lot of telemarketing calls back then (thankfully a law changed and we can now put our names on a no-call list). But the thing was, I could never find a way to cut the callers off. As Sabrina Gerland has commented elsewhere on this blog, it’s like British mothers fail to teach their kids how to say goodbye. But as you can see, I’ve got pretty good at it over the last 13 years…

 Posted by at 7:17 am

  7 Responses to “Learning to hang up”

  1. Hi, Vickie:

    Your video was delightful! I’m a bit more abrupt, but I always say ‘thank you.’

    My time machine doesn’t work well in the future, but we know something about the past, so it’s more useful in that direction.



  2. I’m on the no-call list too, but it doesn’t affect charitable and political callers (or nuts who just want to ramble on, though I have been spared those), and with them my policy is not to interact at all. I say “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do to help you” and HANG UP. These people have a script that can redirect the conversation almost no matter what you say to them, but they have no reply to hanging up!

    You asked me once if I thought your pronunciation had been Americanized. I don’t hear any of that at the level of phonemes, and very little at the level of sentence intonation. Your final words to the caller do sound rather American in intonation, though.

  3. If I get really, really irritated with a telemarketers Marc, I say ‘Oh that sounds really interesting. Can you hang on a minute?’, lay the phone down and go do other things. I reason that they can’t be bothering other people if they’re waiting for me to return – which I never do till they’ve given up. But then I have guilt pangs about what must have driven them to do such a god awful job, so it’s a no win situation really.

    American intonation at the end? Oh that’s interesting, John. It is very exaggerated and I bet you’re right. I also think it would come over as false to most Brits. Of course I was hamming it up a bit, but I reckon there are features of American intonation that can sound ultra (and so falsely) polite to Brits. The thing I debated at the end was how to respond to ‘You take care of yourself’. As a Brit, I wanted to say ‘And you.’ But I thought that might might make students conversing with ‘merican speakers sound a little odd. So I went for the ‘merican ‘You too’, reasoning that Brits would feel pretty comfortable about that too. Any Brits out there? Any thoughts?

  4. Hi there.
    We don’t have a no-call list here in France, least ways no one told me so with the telemarketing calls i just say “hang on, i’ll get the owner” and leave the phone on the chair.
    an hour or so usually works.
    Krissie, my wife, she just pretends to be about four years old.
    That works too.

  5. Ha! I love Krissie’s approach. It achieves the rejection without potentially wounding their feelings. Great one Chris!

  6. I do try to remember that the godawful script is not the fault of the caller, who is trying to do a hard job for a pittance. If you hang up, thus keeping it short, they can move on to someone who might be more productive for their employers.

  7. […] If you liked that video you might also enjoy  another one we made. […]

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