Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't Call Me. I'll Call You

Last month, World Vital Records called me just to say hi. The lady was very nice, and she asked how my research was going. I answered all her questions. Fine. No, I don't have any brick walls right now, etc.

At that point, she must have looked at my profile on her screen and seen that I had written an article for them in the past. She then tried to sell me a copy of "Google Your Family Tree". I again said no thanks, as my master's degree in that area would suffice.

I was very polite. The lady was just doing her job, and doing it quite well in my opinion. She tried to help me, plug items and engage me in basic genealogy banter, but no sale on my end. Finally, she said thank you and that was the end of the call. I figured more information would go on my customer profile and since I wasn't buying, I'd never hear from them again.

Fast forward a few weeks to the present. One afternoon, I'm chatting online with Holly (aka awesome boss lady). At the same time, there is a massive thunderstorm and my pool is about to overflow, there's a lake in the backyard and clogged drains. For a good 20 minutes, I run between the chat inside and the pool outside. I'm juggling both these things and my son's need for attention when the phone rings...'s World Vital Records and they want to know how my research is going. Talk about timing!

The lady (again...polished, professional and polite) began the script, but I couldn't do it. I just asked to be taken off the call list.

I don't remember giving them my phone number, but I must have. I don't remember requesting to be called, but there is probably a box online I forgot to check somewhere.

I won't knock World Vital Records for the attempted pitch (which led to a strikeout) or the kind lady for just doing a job. It's just that I don't like telemarketing. Not even in genealogy.


  1. When you sign up, I think they have to take your fone number down. Either that, or you have to call in order to complete the signup. I remember having a major Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment when it came to signing up and one or more of the hoops I was required to jump through. The frequency of emails from WVR is matched only by in its inexorable persistence.

    Well, here's a coupla cheers for their politeness n all on their end. Makes me wonder about other genealogical researchers who are in stages of flailage -- for whom such calls are a welcome thing.

  2. Susan, I was thinking of other genealogists, too. If you were just beginning, or plain stuck, this would have been a great opportunity. It's just that with the 1st call, I thought I was clear about my situation and that it would be noted in my profile (I'm a waste of telemarketer dollars). With the 2nd call, it was clear they were starting over from the beginning. I don't want to do that every month. To WVR's credit, they were extremely professional and polite. I was impressed.

  3. I'm with ya, Amy. When I answer the phone I never have my genealogy data open and in front of me, nor am I prepared to talk about it. Then when I'm working on genealogy I don't want to talk on the phone. The two just don't mix.

  4. About 25 years ago, I thought I'd make some fast money doing telemarketing on the side. Ha! I lasted three weeks before I quit. I was making sales, but it was NOT a good feeling. I wanted to say to these poor, elderly people, "you don't REALLY want to buy [this product] do you?" It's a business that preys on people who can't say no. Here's a good line when they call, "Why don't you give me your home phone number so I can call and interrupt YOUR dinner some evening?"

  5. I tried one of their "free trial" things, and was sorely disappointed. I got one call, told them I was unhappy and did not want to be called ever again, please.

    So far, so good, so I give them credit for that.

    My personal view is that telemarketing should be outlawed. The National Do Not Call List is a good start (my home phone and cell phone are on the list -- it doesn't stop the most unscrupulous from calling, but most of the telemarketing firms seem to be abiding by it).

    My husband and I have a policy that we do not make any sort of commitment over the telephone.

  6. Ditto your thoughts. I also told them not to call me any longer.

  7. Ditto here, also. I told them not to call me again. It's irritating and makes me feel like I don't want to subscribe any longer.