Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.


November 10, 2009

I'm gonna knock on your door, ring on your bell ...



A little while back - in moment of unprecedented common sense - the Australian parliament passed the Do Not Call Act. This freeing piece of legislation, allows you to register that you do not want cold calls made to your home.

I duly entered my telephone number into the government database and for a while there, children's nap times were peaceful, dinner preparations were uninterrupted and I no longer needed to explain for the umpteenth time why I thought the free holiday/computer/car I was being offered was a complete scam.

But as time has progressed, telemarketers have wised up. And are striking back.

They have instead trained an army of late teens. They cruise the streets with clipboards, shonky laminated and lanyarded I.D. cards and floppy fringes that make it hard to tell if they have eyes. They frequently travel in pairs. They call at nap times and ring the door bell like there is an emergency. They press their noses to the screen door at dinner time. Sometimes they rattle the door handle.

In the past weeks I have been variously instructed to: go find my last two gas bills; recall off-the-top-of-my-head my current electricity tariff; sign up for karate classes; and pre-pay $200 worth of car services. My polite decline in each case was met with persistence, then complete condescension. Sometimes I am asked if they can come back and speak to my husband instead. What the .... ?!

Then there was the case of young man bearing a shopping jeep of energy-efficient light globes, who told me that the law said he must come into my house to switch over all my incandescent bulbs. Yeah, sure, right. Knock yourself out .... and while your at it, my jewellery and cash is kept in that drawer over there.

These cold callers are difficult to get rid of. Much harder to ditch than telephone callers.

They have hides thicker than a rhinoceros. The perils of waking sleeping children or dinner catching alight completely escapes them. And during their cold calling training they have been told to handle potential customer objections in the same manner as they deal with requests from their parents to move out of home.

Do you think it will all stop if I remove my number from the Do Not Call Register? Is it worth the risk? Maybe; maybe not.

At least my standard response is likely to work more effectively back on the phone, than it has at the door: The Hoppo Bumpos aren't home just now. Please leave a message after the tone. Beeeeep ......

27 comments:

  1. I have had them here too!! SO annoying..especially at 6 when the withcing hour is on.

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  2. Oh, they're everywhere! They drive me nuts. They are a persistent lot indeed. I have found blatent lies can be used quite effectively.

    Try these:
    My brother/brother-in-law/insert close relative of choice is CEO of an electricity company. You can't beat the rates we are on. Thank you.

    I am a senior manager at such and such a company. I have an excellent staff benefits package. Thank you.

    You could also try my husband is a mechanic/electrician/etc.

    I've got nothing for the karate dudes. Sorry.

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  3. Our doorbell doesn't work...not fixing it any time soon ;)

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  4. Don't do it! Don't take your number off the register. Our's isn't on it (for some unknown reason) so not only do we get annoying phone calls a inconvenient times where no-one speaks for about 5 seconds and then launches into a massive spiel so you can't tell them you're not interested (I just hang up on them now), BUT, we ALSO get people trying to sell us stuff at the door! Grrr.

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  5. My grand-father in law just tells the appropriate sellers that he is rich and doesn't need to save money. Maybe let one of the youngsters answer the door- then they wont geta word in edgewise!

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  6. These sales people are completely separate from the telemarketers - but perhaps the govt needs to set up a "do not ring the doorbell" list as well as the phone one.

    I have a peep-hole in my front door, so I just don't answer the door when they ring the bell. I don't have any napping littlies to be disturbed, though.

    On the other hand, my son is unemployed, and tried this stuff for a while. It is terrible work, for low pay. He was gone for 12 hours a day for an average daily income of $30. When a bus-load of them were taken to a country town for a week, the accomodation provided was one on-site van at a caravan park. They had to buy all their own food, which left not much change out of the $30. So I do have a lot of sympathy for the kids, but I just don't answer the door to them.

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  7. oh it's horrible isn't it, we are getting more and more and I always thought door to door was illegal these days what happened to that??? It's bad enough having the religious loonies coming, now this! I just don't answer the door if I see them coming. When my girls were little and sleeping during the day I permanently had tape over the door bell

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  8. Tip for the ones who call... get your 4 year old to answer. They soon can't handle the endless rambles about swimming lessons and what they had for lunch and hang up. Pay back I reckon.

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  9. Yep, we were being harassed by them too. What with them and the (feral) children in our street, we built a 6 foot fence around the front yard. Works a treat. They try to open the gate and can't and don't realise I can hear them complaining about it. :)

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  10. I did a trial day with a door to door company trying to sell Australian Power and Gas (forgive me i was quite poor!) and they are so pushy!!!

    If you don't switch there and then they don't get their commission- they can't give you written information either. They even have training on what to say when you (the customer) decline and actually spend hours trialling their techniques on their co-workers.

    It made me feel really icky walking around intruding on peoples lives i i didn't take the job at the end of the day!

    It is probably just best to shut the door ASAP!

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  11. If a polite "no thanks" doesn't work, tell them to fuck off and shut the door.
    If that still doesn't work, it's shootin' time!!
    LOL

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  12. I am the mother of not caring about the callers feelings in situations like this. I actually quite enjoy whipping out a firm "No. Not interested. Goodbye" & hang up without waiting for their response.

    I used to wait for their response, before I became so brutal hehe, and they would have the nerve to have a second try at coaxing me into chaning from Optus to Telstra. They have a nerve!!!

    On the otherhand I do think that they have a very difficult job especially if they work on commision. But they still make me grumpy! :)

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  13. You made me laugh out loud with your comparison to dealing with customer objections/parental requests!

    It is a tough one. You don't want to be rude but the way in which many door-to-door sales people are told to act, requires you to be rude to get them to leave. Thankfully we don't get many but I politely decline and if it goes on, tell them what I am goign to do... "I've told you no thanks and now I'm going to close the door and get back to dinner".

    Good luck. If all else fails, maybe you could take up those karate lessons... I hear they're going cheap!!

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  14. How about having a recording of a really vicious sounding dog barking and growling near the front door. I bet they'd think twice about ringing the bell again.

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  15. Oh, I find that a bit scary. At least the phone callers you can have a bit of fun - I hand the phone over to the three year old, or practice my funny accents. Augusten Burroughs wrote a great essay about this once - can't remember the details but it involved asking the operator to send a picture of his penis.

    Harder to do these things in person though, I feel. Frankly I don't evebn like my friends coming to my house, let alone strange teen salespeople.

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  16. Sorry to tell you this , they're not after your cash and jewellery they're after the Enid Blyton collection , well I would be !

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  17. I have three extremely viscious sounding dogs who make 'hounds of hell' noises when I come through the gate. I love it when I get coldcalled. My favourite was seeing some snotty kid in a tie on one side of the five bar gate and three waggy tail, loud-voiced dogs AND his clipboard on the other!

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  18. Hey Leisl, there are some laws about that. We can discuss at the next TCB... (working in compliance does have some advantages)

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  19. I got the karate people the other day!! What??? Karate door to door??? And the best part was the girl selling it had no idea of what she was talking about.
    I said that it wouldn't be suitable for my children based on age (thought that was a good and yet polite knock back) and she then proceeded to tell me why it would be fine for my three and a half year old daughters to be in a class with kids aged five and over.
    They just stop short of putting their foot in the door.

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  20. i just close the door if they get into the flat complex somehow. don't even say anything as they shouldn't actually be in the building. yes they are doing a job but at the same time they are bugging me and being pushy about it so i don't feel i need to put up with it.

    make up a sign that says you do not talk to door to door callers and put it on the door. might help a bit.

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  21. I believe if you have some kind of sign up, they are supposed to comply with your wishes, like the telephone 'do not call' register. Can't remember where I saw that information, or what the sign is supposed to say ('go away!'?) But it does seem unfriendly, I suppose, to legitimate visitors.

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  22. I had the car one the other night. I had one on the toilet and one getting ready for bed. I got to the door and after the spiel when I could get a word in said "my daughter's on the toilet doing a poo I really need to go!" that moved him on like a shot

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  23. I like to twitch a bit as they start their spiel...then..move on to talking to the audience...comment on their performance....ask the audience if they are genuine?
    Bonkers really scares people...I'm sure they have a secret "don't go there datatbase" and my aim is to be top of the list with flashing lights!!!

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  24. Two things.

    Spare a thought for the oldies living alone in their own homes who are also dealing with these people. I have three small kids and it's a pain, but some of the oldies sometimes just don't get it that just because the salesperson says they need to change their lightbulbs/power/phone etc...doesn't mean that they do. They also don't get that they DO NOT have to let them in their houses nio matter how persuasive they are. Some are completely petrified, especially if the sales people are pushy. That makes me feel so sad.

    Also, I was informed that door to door sales people are bound by 9am-5pm rules so if they knock after 5 it's against the law. Tell them you are calling the police to report a door to door salesperson working out of hours. Or just take their name and company name and report them. If enough people complain maybe something will change. That doesn't help with the during the day ones but it might help with the dinnertime ones.

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  27. Oh, I find that a bit scary. At least the phone callers you can have a bit of fun - I hand the phone over to the three year old, or practice my funny accents.we are thankful to you and always feels fortunate when i visit here.You have changed my vision of living the life. Do not call Register

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