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This article is a blast from the past.  I was reviewing some stuff on LiP the other day and came upon this article and thought it was kind of fun, so I decided to re-post it today. This incident happened before it was common to have a US phone number even if you live abroad.  Enjoy.

A funny thing happened as I sat in my office in Davao City, Philippines a few years back.  It is something I think about from time to time, but I don’t believe I have ever written about it before.

Tagalog Buddy

I was reminded of this incident the other day after I wrote an article about outsourcing in the Philippines.

There were a lot of comments about call centers, phone calls received during the night and such.

My friend, Macky, left a comment that kind of rang true to me:

However, Service/tech calls aside, I have a problem with the random phone solicitation. It bugs me when a telemarketer calls me.

I am on the NO CALL LIST and yet a few get through. Of course, many of the Pinoy operators have no clue what that is when I remind them. Sorry, countrymen, but cold sales calls bother me especially when they recognize that I am also Pinoy and think I am excited about this. woohoo.

Sometimes, during a 3am call, I think about asking the caller if they are in Davao. And if so, if they can wait 10 minutes while I drive to his call center and staple a NO CALL LIST printout on his forehead.

When Macky left that comment, it brought back the memory of this funny incident that happened to me some years ago here in Davao.

As most readers know, I have a US telephone number through Vonage.  I’ve been using Vonage service for about 8 years now, and with it I can call the USA for free (I pay a monthly charge of about $25).  Also, because I have a US phone number, people in the USA can call me for free.

Early one morning I was sitting in my office working.  My Vonage phone rang.  I figured it was my Mom, some other family member, or perhaps a customer of one of my businesses.

I answered the call:

Me:  Hello?

Caller:  Hi, this is Steve from Sears Siding.  I wanted to let you know that we have an installation team who will be in your neighborhood next week, and we thought you might want to have Sears Siding installed on your home.

Me:  Uh, let me just make sure I understood you correctly, an installation team from Sears Siding will be in my neighborhood next week?

Caller:  Yes, they will, we are installing siding on several homes on your street, can we include you?

Me:  Are you sure they will be on my street?

Caller:  Yes.

Me:  OK, that’s interesting.  I am curious, I don’t know of anybody in my area who has vinyl siding.  Are you sure it can hold up well to the weather where I live.  I have heard that in some areas of high heat that vinyl siding may not hold up well.

Caller:  Sir, no need to worry, we have a full warranty.  Any time that there is a problem with your siding we will send a technician to your home to repair the problem.

Me:  Really?  He will come to my home whenever I have a problem?  My home is really far from any of your outlets, are you sure he will come here?

Caller:  Yes, sir, he will be there within 24 hours after you report the problem.

Me:  That’s great service!  I can’t imagine a US company sending somebody thousands of miles like that just based on a single phone call.

Caller:  Thousands of miles?

Me:  Yes, thousands of miles.

Caller:  What do you mean?

Me:  Well, since your outlets are in the USA, and I live in the Phil…

Caller interrupts me: You don’t live in the USA?

Me:  No, I live in the Philippines.

Caller:  Can I speak to the person who lives in the home where you are now?

Me:  Yes, that is me, I am the one who lives in this home.

Caller:  But, you said you don’t live in the USA.

Me:  Yes, that’s true.  I live in the Philippines, and you are calling me in the Philippines.

CLICK.  He hung up!

Ha ha.  I really got a kick out of it.  If I had been in the States, I would have hung up on this telemarketer right away, but since this was my first time that I had ever received a sales call like this in the Philippines, I decided to have a little fun with it.  You can be assured that I do not have any Sears Siding on my home, though.

This was back in the days when VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services like Vonage were in their infancy.  Most people didn’t realize it was possible to have a US phone number and live in the Philippines back in those days.

I still get such sales calls from time to time here in Davao, but it is rare.  I never (or rarely) answer our Philippine line, I let our nieces or Feyma take care of that, they never want to talk to me anyway.  But, on the Vonage, I usually am the person who answers that line, so I get to talk to the telemarketers when they call, and I usually give them a little more than they expected!

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Darin
Guest

That is hilarious Bob. You had the wife rolling on the floor. Thanks for the experience. And thanks for the tips of vonage phones. We will have to send one home to the family now in Gensan.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Darin – I’m glad you enjoyed it. I thought it was hilarious when it happened! They never did come and install my new siding!

Neal in RI
Guest
Neal in RI

Bob
This is a good one, I read it out loud to the Wife and she had a laugh of it a s well.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Glad to give you and your wife a smile today, Neal!

Bill Dignan
Guest
Bill Dignan

Hi Bob, I’m living in Legapi City now and brought a Magicjack. They work fantastic in case anyone is looking for a cheap way to call the states.

Bill

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Bill – I personally recommend Vonage much higher than MagicJack. We all have our favorites… magicjack is not mine. Thanks for sharing, though.

Thomad Gil
Guest
Thomad Gil

Out of curiosity why don’t you like the magicjack Bob. I use Skype but am always looking for options and personal testimonials are always best

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Thomad – I like Vonage because I don’t have to use my computer to make or answer calls. Vonage hooks directly my telephone. I have two line telephones in many rooms of my house. Line 1 is my PLDT Philippine line. Line 2 is my Vonage US line. Even if my computer is turned off, I can answer my phone calls from the USA, or make a call to the USA. If I am watching TV, or if I am outside in the yard, I can answer my phone (for outside, a cordless phone, of course). With Magicjack, Skype,… Read more »

Thomad Gil
Guest
Thomad Gil

Thank you. You make an excellent argument. I guess I am limited to the computer based ones as we don’t use a land line as the country seems to be so cell dominated and affordable. Also I don’t knbow if I would make enough calls to justify the monthly Vonage fee even if I did get a land line. So if limited to a computer based service which one would you choose.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Thomad – I think I didn’t explain it well enough! You don’t need a landline here for Vonage to work. But, what I mean is that you can use any regular telephone receiver for it, not the computer. So, even if you don’t have a landline, just plug a regular telephone into your router box that will be supplied by Vonage, and you are in business. Even if your computer is turned off, your Vonage line will still work, as long as you have an internet connection (you can be connected to the net even if your computer is… Read more »

Thomad Gil
Guest
Thomad Gil

Thank you very very much. Awesome. I’m sold!!! Get that Vonage affiliate link up on LIP will ya LOL

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Thomad – Actually, the links to Vonage in the article are affiliate links, so if you use one of those, I’ll get credit. Thanks for that! 😆

Thomad Gil
Guest
Thomad Gil

FYI, I just went to Vonage and saw the $14.99 month plus taxes/fees unlimited plan to 60 countries good for three months but then the pricing goes to $25.99 a month. There is also a 500 minute monthly plan but it shows $17.99 and both plans require a USA address. still cheaper than skype so I will probably make the switch.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hmm… I have not looked at their plans for a while to be honest…. they may have made some changes since I was last there. I have been using them for 8 years already! 😆

MindanaoBob
Guest

BTW, I forgot to mention… yes, you are right, you must give a US address. I have a US address that I use for mail forwarding, and for things like this.

Jay
Guest
Jay

That would have been more funny, if the call was based out of a Filipino call center.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Jay – It would have! But, that happened in the days before call centers were prevalent in the Philippines.

Danny
Guest
Danny

Hey Bob,

Excellent story, I would have told him yes, I want the siding put on my house, and to send a salesman out right away, and then give him your address. 🙂 It would have been the same reaction I am sure. Thanks for the smiles..

Take care,
Danny H.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Probably so, Danny. I could tell that the guy was getting really shocked the further along the call went.

chasdv
Guest
chasdv

Hi Bob,
I just loved your wind up,your a man after my own heart,Lol.

We now have whats called computer generated calls,otherwise known as silent calls.
The computer logs what time the call was made,so the live salesman knows what time you are normally at home,and can then make a live call later.
However,apparantly,if you hit the hash button 8 or 9 times very quickly in succession,it throws the computer into confusion,Lol.

BTW,never heard of “vinyl siding”,as far as i’m aware its not hit the UK yet,although we do have plastic guttering and plastic double glazed windows.
regards,Chas.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hmm, no vinyl siding in the UK, chas? Sears and the others will have to get busy and gain a new market! 😆

Interesting about those silent calls… just another way to make themselves a pest!

Jade
Guest
Jade

Cahsdv,
I’ve had a few of those silent calls to my cellphone, they must be from computer generatd random numbers. How else? Occasionally I get one from a philippine call plan outfit, real live people, real philippinas, coming from somewhere in California though. They really like to talk a long time. How did they get my cell number?
Jade

chasdv
Guest
chasdv

Jade,
Yeah they are annoying,fortunately i’ve only had the rare sales txt on my cell.
How they get your No? Its quite simple really,so many companies these days sell mailing lists,bloody annoying,what happened to customer confidentiality.
I’ve spent many years in sales,and even i find some of the tricks they get up to these days very underhand.Everybody is after a share of your hard earned money,and it appears to have got worse since the recession.
regards,Chas.

peterjoy
Guest
peterjoy

Lol a good posting bob yes thay can make a pest of them selfs we have 3 or 4 call day here at home and mom is hard off hearing and she will just drop the phone back down lol but thay have a job to to just like u mate and as i did say be for i have a wife that works in a call center so i know what it is like for them that work in one………l from peter martin tassie

MindanaoBob
Guest

I really hate those calls, peter… glad I don’t get many of them here!

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Good Morning Bob; You do funny very well! I for one do not miss those cold calls I used to receive in the states. One of the many pleasures of Philippine Living is eating supper with out 4 to 5 calls. In the states I sound very excited to hear from them, explain that I was very interested, and could I have their number so I could call them back. For some reason they hung up.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Paul – Ha ha… I used to do the same thing in the States. Only difference was that I would ask for the caller’s home number, so I could call them back while they were eating dinner! 😆

chasdv
Guest
chasdv

Ha Ha,
I just ask them to hold the line,while i get the house owner,then leave the phone off the hook for 10mins,by which time they have hung up Lol.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Ha ha… I love it! I wonder how much time they wasted while waiting? A lot, I hope!

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Chas;
Very good, you’re a genius!

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

I could only dream about getting their home number, I would have stayed up for days calling them.

MindanaoBob
Guest

It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? 😉

Randy W.
Guest
Randy W.

Paul

There’s a new kind of telemarketer that call’s business’s. When they call they ask for the owner. Well finally i told one to stop calling and bothering us and he said i still want to speak with the owner. I said i was the owner and he just hung up. No more calls. be safe

Jade
Guest
Jade

Bob, About 30 years ago a department store called ‘Prange Way’ opened in the only enclosed mall in my home town. Their phone nimber was only on digit different from my partnts number. You can guess the result, my parents endured 20 nuisance calls a day. They had had their phone number since the late 1940’s and all of their friends knew it. Once the phone rang for the n’th time that day. I picked up the phone and said, Congratulations you are the lucky 100th caller today and you qualify for a $50.00 gift certificate on this day only.… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

That’s a great one, Jade! I bet some of those people were steamed when they went to the mall and the people looked at them like “what are you smoking?” 😆

Jade
Guest
Jade

Bob, Pehaps another interesting variation would have been: Thank You for calling Prange Way. We are having a gift coupon promo and are giving these out to random callers to our store. We have 50 $10.00 gift coupons to give out on our anniversary customer appreciation day. Sorry you just nissed by one call of winning one yourself. You are invited to call again and encourage your friends to call the store for their lucky chance at winning. Remember that only one in ten calls are routed to the gift coupon operator.
Or something like that…

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Jade – Only problem with that version is that it encourages more calls to your parent’s home!

Jade
Guest
Jade

But not all…………….

MindanaoBob
Guest

Not all, but still more! How about saying this:

“{the same words you used, but add} now, I am not supposed to do this, but I am going to give you the direct line to the gift coupon operator, {insert real mall number here}, be sure to dial carefully so that you get connected straight to the gift coupon operator!”

Jade
Guest
Jade

Good thought Ha ha I like it

Jade
Guest
Jade

To clarify my plan: The intention would be to barrage the store’s phone system with a lot of nuiscance calls!
😉

Bob New York
Guest
Bob New York

Since being on the national ” Do Not Call ” kist for a few years that has filtered out a lot of the phone solicitor calls but some still find their way through it. I don’t answer the phone anymore until just after the 4th ring. That may fool those computer generated calls to think an answering machine or voice mail system is answering the phone. I recently tried what I assume was VOIP provided by Comcast Cable in my area to try and save on the 40% tax I get on my regular ” phone Company ” landline. Hated… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Ha ha… Bob, you need to get paid by Jollibee for all of the promotion you do for them! I bet they don’t even know that they have a one man call center advertising agent in New York!

Bob New York
Guest
Bob New York

When I was a kid and we used to go on family vacations ( long before the interstate highway system ) I always liked it when we would stop at ” Dairy Queen ” for ice cream. We had nothing like it in the small town where I grew up so it was always something to look forward to when we went on vacation. Fast forward the calandar for…………well lets just say a ” few ” decades, and there is still something to look forward to as a special treat on vacation that I don’t have in my home town… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Bob – That’s a nice way to look at it… I think it’s true to say, then, that Jollibee brings out the child in you! 😉

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