So I’ve been receiving unsolicited junk mail trying to sell me a warranty on a used vehicle I purchased from a private seller, because I had to register the sale to comply with state laws and somehow my mailing address became part of a public record
warranty con-artist companies gained access to. Today they demonstrated they also have my phone number, as they called me. Normally I don’t answer numbers I don’t recognize, but I was expecting another call from a company that had a similar number, so I mistakenly answered it. What happened then is the interesting part.
The woman on the line starts the preamble to her pitch and ends with asking if I’d received the mail they sent me. I said, not at all rudely (the rudest thing I do on phone calls is hang up, but I was feeling uncharacteristically hopeful I could make this the last time they tried calling me, so I answered her), yeah, I don’t want to buy a warranty, thanks but please stop calling. She starts off on another canned response from whatever manual she was trained to spout. But she must have rehearsed her responses, because she sounded so much like the canned responses recorded on an automated phone system that I interrupted her and asked not meanly but with genuine uncertainty, is this an automated call? That was the first thing that caused a unscripted response as she seemed momentarily confused at being taken for a robot (yes, insert joke, but that still has to be pretty weird to have someone not be sure you’re real). She chuckled just a little nervously and said no, I’m a real person. Must be a bad connection or something.. At which point I said oh, well, I definitely don’t want to buy a warranty. Thank you and please stop calling. Then I hung up.
But it wasn’t a bad connection at all. I just had a moment when it occurred to me that it would be trivial to write a fairly simple program to toss canned responses at someone based on key words in their replies, and I really wasn’t sure if it was a response tree of well done recordings or an actual human telemarketer.