Tag Archives: Telemarketing

Grass-Roots Political Action: Phoning for the Cause


My late afternoon:

“Hello, is _____________ there? Hi, my name is Joe, I’m a volunteer for the Democratic Party, we’re calling voters to find out if you would like to vote early in the November election by mail or in person.”

If yes, circle M for mail. In the next two weeks, John or Joan Q Public will get the paperwork for a vote-by-mail ballot.

If no, ask if they’re interested in early voting in person and mention the county auditor’s office in Lindale Mall.

If rude, smile, apologize, hang up and call someone else.

The local Democratic Party at work. Actually, phone operators in Seattle in 1952, courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives on flckr, but the atomosphere seems right.

My oldest sister Pat has been active in campaigns lately, and I’m not sure, but I guess maybe she inspired me. When the local Democratic Party called and someone read the above script to me, I politely said “no thanks,” because I enjoy the ritual of voting on the actual election day.

But, when they asked if I would volunteer, I surprised myself by not saying “no.” Instead, I signed up to do some calling this afternoon. So I found myself in a slightly seedy downtown storefront in Marion, Iowa, in an uncomfortable chair with a script in one hand and a 5-page list of names in the other. It took a few minutes to get a pen located, and I used the paperclip from the pack of pages so I could keep my place. Can’t say I socialized much or all; basically, I just sat and called.

I’ve never been a telemarketer before and never hope to be one. And I can tell you this right now, I’d rather hear than  be one.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad. Most people were not rude, even those who were clearly Republicans or who had been called before.

I had 5 sheets of names with 24 names per sheet, which is 120. Some were married couples, however, so I probably only actually dialed 90 to 95 numbers. I started at 5:30 and was done by 7.

They offered to let me have another list, but I politely declined. I enjoyed a bit of grassroots politics, but I don’t want to overdo it. Besides, if I stayed longer, I am sure I would have started to eat cookies.

One glance at me and you know that would be a bad idea!

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