Do Not Call Is Bad For All

By Sean Carter

There comes a time in every person's life when personal interest must give way to the public interest. This time has come for me. Therefore, I must call for a repeal of the Do Not Call law.

I must confess that when the law was first passed, I celebrated like I had just won the lottery. And in a way, I did. With telemarketers unable to reach my wife by phone, I might actually be able to quit one of my night jobs.

Sadly, over the years, my wife has bought more junk from telemarketers than should be legal for any ten people. In fact, reaching my wife on the phone is the dream of every young telemarketer. I suspect that at the annual telemarketing conference, they present an entire seminar entitled "Reaching Mrs. Carter: 15 Minutes to Retirement."

Therefore, I gladly put our phone numbers on the Do Not Call list. It was only later that I realized the error of my ways. The scary truth is the Do Not Call list may ultimately sink this country into a depression as deep as Rosie O'Donnell's belly button (well, may not that deep).

Let's face it. The Do Not Call list spells the end for the telemarketing industry. Although telemarketers still have more than 100 million phone numbers still available to them, all of the "good" numbers are on the list. The numbers on the Do Not Call list represent those of us who simply can't say "No" to a telemarketing deal. That's why we rushed to sign up in the first place.

The only prospects left for telemarketers are those with the backbone to actually decline a "special introductory offer." Therefore, within a matter of months, the millions employed by this industry will be out of work. However, the telemarketers won't be the only victims of this law.

The real victims will be the American consumers. The strange truth is that telemarketers provide a valuable service to the marketplace - they keep prices down. Without telemarketing, we may have never achieved the great price reductions we've experienced in many services.

For instance, I remember when a long-distance phone call to your grandmother cost just as much as round-trip airfare to visit her. Of course, this was only true if you were smart and called her during "off-peak" hours. If you made the mistake of making a long distance call during standard business hours, you would have to sell a kidney to pay the next month's phone bill.

However, all of that changed when we started receiving those nightly calls asking us to switch long distance carriers. Little by little, prices fell. Presently, long-distance prices are lower than Bill Clinton's dating standards. And we have telemarketing to thank for that.

The same could be said for home mortgage interest rates. Just a few years ago, we were all paying 9% and 10% on our mortgages. Then we started receiving nightly calls telling us we could save hundreds per month and take equity out of our homes to lose in the stock market.

The important thing to remember is that we didn't receive those calls from our existing mortgage lenders. They were all too happy to let us pay those high interest rates forever. We only learned about lower interest rates from other lenders, although in many cases, we wound up refinancing with our original lenders. The simple truth is that third parties informed us of the decreases in long-distance phone charges, mortgage interest rates, credit card interest rates and magazine subscriptions; just to name a few. However, thanks to the Do Not Call list, these people won't be able to call us anymore. Instead, we will have to depend upon the people who are currently ripping us off to see the error of their ways. This is about as likely as Tiger Woods dating a black woman.

By now, you too should realize that you've just made the biggest mistake of your life (unless, of course, you happen to be married). And sadly, I'm not sure if there is a solution to the problem. Although the FTC says you can remove your number from the registry, I haven't been able to figure out how to do so.

Therefore, I think we are going to have to take more drastic steps. That's why I'm proposing a "Please Do Call" constitutional amendment. This amendment would prevent us from ever doing something so stupid again (well, at least, until we decide to remarry).