Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Marketing machines
I made a promise to myself long ago never to buy anything from anyone who programs a machine to call me to tell me about it. I have never had any reason to regret this. I am not a big fan of telemarketing -- I'm sure they are perfectly nice people with families who love them, and you gotta make a living, but surely you could have found a more honorable profession. Isn't McDonald's hiring?

The only thing worse than telemarketers is robotic telemarketers. If you are going to waste my time trying to sell me siding, you can damned well waste your own time too.

So imagine my surprise when Steven den Beste, being buffeted by political dialing machines in the days leading up to the California primary, said:

It's a violation [of] federal law to use a device which calls a number and plays a recording to whomever picks up the phone.

Oh, really?

But wait: My daughter's middle school uses one to keep the parents informed of upcoming events. The public library uses one to phone us when the book my wife ordered on interlibrary loan arrives. (You should hear how the voice-synthesis-droid pronounces her name...) Are those illegal, too?

Actually, I rather hope they are. They could just as easily use e-mail (the middle school already does). Ah, technology.

No comments: