602 Is This Brilliant, or What?
The telemarketers are all but banned from calling you. But some of them have found a stunningly inventive way of working around the law.
They don't call you, you call them! What? You heard right. They don't call you, you call them. Three NBC-Universal syndicated programs use this ploy.
Here's what happens. At least once during each show, but usually more often, the hosts, Maury, Jerry and Steve will pose an audience "question of the day." The questions range from how you like your eggs cooked to whether teenagers should be allowed to have sex and to drink.
At the end of the question, the host will give you a toll-free number to call so you can "voice your opinion," and will say that those who call with an opinion will be given "a chance" to "take advantage of..." some exclusive offers." Here are the first of them from Maury: To "thank" you for your answer, there are five: (1) Match yourself with college funds. (2) Computer and other tech gear. (3) Credit card debt consolidation. (4) Cheap health insurance. (5) Build it yourself storage. Brilliant! They can't call you. You call them!
Springer: answer the question. Then, the offers. Five offers. (1) credit card debt consolidation. (2) New computer and other tech gear. (3) Build it yourself storage. (4) College Bound Network for college funds and schools. (3) Health insurance. (4) More credit card consolidation. (5) more storage space. You have to assume Wilkow is the same stuff. Not all that "exclusive," apparently.
So someone at NBC Universal obviously thought this thing up. And it won't be long before other NBC programs do the same thing.
You can imagine Vincent D'Onofrio saying "Hi, this is Detective Bobby Goren of the Major Case Squad. Our question of the day is "do you think Police Commissioner Kelly has reduced crime in your neighborhood?" After which a chirpy voice similar to the woman who introduces the Maury, Jerry and Steve questions will offer you college choices, computers, credit card debt consolidation, cheap build it yourself storage and cheap health insurance.
If that's successful, Jay Leno, Brian Williams and Matt Lauer won't be far behind.
The law is clear. So, now, is the path around it.
--Pittsburgh must be expecting a revival of the Watts riot. The G-20 opens tomorrow, a gathering of most of the world's money from 19 countries and the European Union. And to "keep order," half the Pennsylvania State Police and a large contingent of National Guardsmen are there to help Pittsburgh's men and women in blue make sure no one gets hurt -- except by them.
--These economic summit meetings never really accomplish anything. The "joint communique" they'll issue at the end of the meeting was written six months ago and most of the work that led to it was, too. Kind of like the Olympics, only smaller and more competitive.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®