I have a fail safe method of dealing with telemarketers:  I hang up on them.  I mean, it’s trivial to tell if you’ve got a telemarketer on the phone or not; they’re totally obvious.  Between the awkward delay you get from the autodialers to the way they very formally ask for you by your complete legal name, it’s plain enough that they’re wanting your money so I just hang up on them.  Pop!  Done!  I waste none of my precious time, I wasted none of theirs and everybody’s happy.

Except anybody who hears me either do it or tell about it.  I’m accused of being rude.  I feel it’s rude for total strangers to interrupt me and ask me for my money; I really don’t feel bad at all for hanging up on them.  There’s no need for rude remarks from me to the telemarketer, mean tricks to waste their time, or any of the other typical bad ideas you talk about at work for dealing with these people; there’s just a brief moment and a hangup.  No problem.

So, who’s in the wrong here?  Not me!

BTW, I am on the national do-not-call registry but I still get calls from non-profits and political campaigns.  I don’t even take the time to ask them to take me off their list, even that’s more trouble than simply hanging up.