April 26, 1996
If you work in an office like I do, you probably know the joys of being able to transfer calls from one phone to another. I’d love to be able to do this at home, especially since yesterday I learned how effective it is for dealing with telemarketers. I answered the phone in my office the other day and a voice that could belong only to a used car salesman or a telemarketer said, "I’m Jim Hedson with Datamarket Information Providing Services of Wisconsin Incorporated and I’d like to talk to you about an exciting opportunity for you and your library. May I ask to whom I’m speaking?" Well, I was taken completely by surprise, so naturally I said, "Henry Miller." If he batted an eye, I didn’t see it. "Mr. Miller, I’m with Datamarket Information Providing Services of Wisconsin Incorporated and I’d like to talk to you about an exciting opportunity for you and your library." Why do telemarketers repeat themselves? They might as well be saying, "I’m not listening to a damn thing either one of us says now so you can hang up." It really didn’t matter because I had blocked him out anyway, especially when I realized it was somebody in another department he needed to be talking to. That’s when I saw the light.
I saw how to deal with confrontational telephone situations for the rest of my life: transfer them! I could bounce this guy over to someone in Security, and they’d never find me! By the time Jim Hedson got back to my department, if he ever did, he’d have forgotten whom he was talking to. I waited it out, though, mainly because of my sudden fascination with the number of small holes in the ceiling. I was so busy looking around for a rubber band to shoot at the person in the office behind me that I almost missed the end of his speech. "…and we can do it right over the phone! Now, Mr. Miller, doesn’t this sound like a deal you need to take?" I cleared my throat and said, "Could you please hold for one moment? There’s someone I’d like you to talk to."
The last I heard, Mr. Hedson was learning more than he ever wanted to know about Tamil separatists. Enjoy this week’s bit, which also has to do with telephones.
100 ZANY WAYS TO PHONE IN A PIZZA ORDER
1. If using a touch-tone, press random numbers while ordering. Ask the person taking the order to stop doing that.
2. Make up a charge-card name. Ask if they accept it.
3. Use CB lingo where applicable.
4. Order a Big Mac Extra Value Meal.
5. Terminate the call with, "Remember, we never had this conversation."
6. Tell the order taker a rival pizza place is on the other line and you’re going with the lowest bidder.
7. Give them your address, exclaim "Oh, just surprise me!" and hang up.
8. Answer their questions with questions.
9. In your breathiest voice, tell them to cut the crap about nutrition and ask if they have something outlandishly sinful.
10. Use these bonus words in the conversation: ROBUST FREE- SPIRITED COST-EFFICIENT UKRAINIAN PUCE.
11. Tell them to put the crust on top this time.
12. Sing the order to the tune of your favorite song from Metallica’s "Master of Puppets" CD.
13. Do not name the toppings you want. Rather, spell them out.
14. Put an extra edge in your voice when you say "crazy bread."
15. Stutter on the letter "p."
16. Ask for a deal available somewhere else. (e.g. If phoning Domino’s, ask for a Cheeser! Cheeser!)
17. Ask what the order taker is wearing.
18. Crack your knuckles into the receiver.
19. Say hello, act stunned for five seconds, then behave as if they called you.
20. Rattle off your order with a determined air. If they ask if you would like drinks with that, panic and become disoriented.
21. Tell the order taker you’re depressed. Get him/her to cheer you up.
22. Make a list of exotic cuisines. Order them as toppings.
23. Change your accent every three seconds.
24. Order 52 pepperoni slices prepared in a fractal pattern as follows from an equation you are about to dictate. Ask if they need paper.
25. Act like you know the order taker from somewhere. Say "Bed- Wetters’ Camp, right?"
26. Start your order with "I’d like. . . ". A little later, slap yourself and say "No, I don’t."
27. If they repeat the order to make sure they have it right, say "OK. That’ll be $10.99; please pull up to the first window."
28. Rent a pizza.
29. Order while using an electric knife sharpener.
30. Ask if you get to keep the pizza box. When they say yes, heave a sigh of relief.
31. Put the accent on the last syllable of "pepperoni." Use the long "i" sound.
32. Have your pizza "shaken, not stirred."
33. Say "Are you sure this is (Pizza Place)? When they say yes, say "Well, so is this! You’ve got some explaining to do!" When they finally offer proof that it is, in fact, (Pizza Place), start to cry and ask, "Do you know what it’s like to be lied to?"
34. Move the mouthpiece farther and farther from your lips as you speak. When the call ends, jerk the mouthpiece back into place and scream goodbye at the top of your lungs.
35. Tell them to double-check to make sure your pizza is, in fact, dead.
36. Imitate the order taker’s voice.
37. Eliminate verbs from your speech.
38. When they say "What would you like?" say, "Huh? Oh, you mean now."
39. Play a sitar in the background.
40. Say it’s your anniversary and you’d appreciate if the deliverer hid behind some furniture waiting for your spouse to arrive so you can surprise him/her.
41. Amuse the order taker with little-known facts about country music.
42. Ask to see a menu.
43. Quote Carl Sandberg.
43a. Quote Carl Sandberg translated into Spanish.
44. Say you’ll be able to pay for this when the movie people call back.
45. Ask if they have any idea what is at stake with this pizza.
46. Ask what topping goes best with well-aged Chardonnay.
47. Belch directly into the mouthpiece; then tell your dog it should be ashamed.
48. Order a slice, not a whole pizza.
49. Shout "I’m through with men/women! Send me a dozen of your best, Gaston!"
50. Doze off in the middle of the order, catch yourself, and say "Where was I? Who are you?"
51. Psychoanalyze the order taker.
52. Ask what their phone number is. Hang up, call them, and ask again.
53. Order two toppings, then say, "No, they’ll start fighting."
54. Learn to properly pronounce the ingredients of a Twinkie. Ask that these be included in the pizza.
55. Call to complain about service. Later, call to say you were drunk and didn’t mean it.
56. Tell the order taker to tell the manager to tell his supervisor he’s fired.
57. Report a petty theft to the order taker.
58. Use expletives like "Great Caesar’s Ghost" and "Jesus Joseph and Mary in Tinsel Town."
59. Ask for the guy who took your order last time.
60. If he/she suggests anything, adamantly declare, "I shall not be swayed by your sweet words."
61. Wonder aloud if you should trim those nose hairs.
62. Try to talk while drinking something.
63. Start the conversation with "My Call to (Pizza Place), Take 1, and. . . action!"
64. Ask if the pizza is organically grown.
65. Ask about pizza maintenance and repair.
66. Be vague in your order.
67. When they repeat your order, say "Again, with a little more OOMPH this time."
68. If using a touch-tone press 9-1-1 every 5 seconds throughout the order.
69. After ordering, say "I wonder what THIS button on the phone does." Simulate a cutoff.
70. Start the conversation by reciting today’s date and saying, "This may be my last entry."
71. State your order and say that’s as far as this relationship is going to get.
72. Ask if they’re familiar with the term "spanking a pizza." Make up a description to go with the term. Ask that this be done to your pizza.
73. Say "Kssssssssssssssht" rather loudly into the phone. Ask if they felt that.
74. Detect the order taker’s psychic aura. Use it to your advantage.
75. When listing toppings you want on your pizza, include another pizza.
76. Learn to play a blues riff on the harmonica. Stop talking at regular intervals to play it.
77. Ask if they would like to sample your pizza. Suggest an even trade.
78. Perfect a celebrity’s voice. Stress that you won’t take any crap from some two-bit can’t-hack-it pimple-faced gofer.
79. Put them on hold.
80. Teach the order taker a secret code. Use the code on all subsequent orders.
81. Mumble, "There’s a bomb under your seat." When asked to repeat that, say "I said ‘sauce smothered with meat’."
82. Make the first topping you order mushrooms. Make the last thing you say "No mushrooms, please." Hang up before they have a chance to respond.
83. When the order is repeated, change it slightly. When it is repeated again, change it again. On the third time, say "You just don’t get it, do you?"
84. When you’re given the price, say "Ooooooo, that sounds complicated. I hate math."
86. Order a one-inch pizza.
87. Order term life insurance.
88. When they say "Will that be all?", snicker and say "We’ll find out, won’t we?"
89. Order with a Speak-n-Spell where applicable.
90. Ask how many dolphins were killed to make that pizza.
91. While on the phone, fake entering puberty. Fluctuate pitch often; act embarrassed.
92. Engage in some serious swapping.
93. Dance all around the word "pizza." Avoid saying it at all costs.
If he/she says it, say "Please don’t mention that word."
94. Have a movie with a good car chase scene playing loudly in the background. Yell "OW!" when a bullet is fired.
95. If he/she suggests a side order, ask why he/she is punishing you.
96. Ask if the pizza has had its shots.
97. Order a steamed pizza.
98. Get taker’s name. Later, call exactly on the hour to say, "This is your (time of day) wake-up call, So-and-so." Hang up.
99. Offer to pay for the pizza with a public flogging.
If any of the above practices are rejected by the order taker:
100. Say, in your best pouty voice, "Last guy let me do it."