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Phone bangs

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Best New Career for Laid-Off Dot-Com Workers
Telemarketing

Mere moments before Chuck Heston discovers the ape-clustered planet he collided with is actually Earth, possibly the most thrilling conclusion to a movie in decades — and the ultimate human nightmare — the phone rings. But you can’t pause HBO. A few more rings and you’ll go completely mad. Hopefully it will only be Britney. You can call her back after the credits roll. Or just your best friend. He’ll understand.

Not a chance.

It’s a product jockey — a telemarketer. In fantasies, such calls should be short and sweet. “Thanks, but no thanks,” you could say before the women on the other end of the line even catches a breath. “Sorry, but I’m satisfied with my current vacuum cleaner,” you could announce before the marketer even finishes a single word. Alas, that is just a dream.

In the world of product pushing, your comments play second banana to a preprinted sales pitch. And the business is booming — like Pokémon, only more annoying. So who better to man the switchboard than dot-com rodeo riders? You know, the former players in the tech stock explosion, from a fairytale time when Pets.com, Go.com and eToys were still buzzing — rather than buried 10 feet under.

Even though the aforementioned isn’t an accurate statistic, it fares well in the humor department. Imagine, the programmer who once attempted to entice shoppers to purchase a 20-pound sack of Kibbles & Bits online is now hawking long-distance service. And even though he may not convince you, he compels you to listen contently.

By now, Heston has laid eyes on the Statue of Liberty, broken and decayed. The screen fades to black. The credits roll, just as you feared. And all you’ve learned is that Sprint offers better local-calling rates than AT&T.

Damn, I always thought that planet looked oddly familiar.

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