Election Robo Calls: Bring Back the Heavy Breather

Jeanne Sager

phoneThe phone rang just after 8 p.m. It was Greg Edwards, running mate of New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino. And if I'd just hold on the line, he'd connect me to their town hall meeting.

It wasn't bad enough that the phone had rung just after I got my kid to bed and interrupted The Big Bang Theory on my TV. Now I was expected to attend a town hall meeting I never signed up for?

Welcome to the 2010 version of forcing your way into voters' lives any way you can. Their mailings (I had no less than eight different fliers in my box on Thursday) go straight to the recycling bin, so how else are they supposed to guarantee we know their names?

By waking our kids up with their robo calls. And loading our answering machine with inanities!

Not a half hour after I debated whether Paladino would actually let me ask my most burning question -- Mr. Candidate, exactly why do you hate the gays so much? -- the phone was ringing again. This time it was former President Bill Clinton throwing his support behind Paladino's opponent, Andrew Cuomo.

I hung up before he could get through his shtick. But I wasn't so lucky with the call from former New York Governor George Pataki this week. He wanted me to vote for George Phillips for Congress because Phillips "lives in our district."

Yes, Mr. Pataki, I'm familiar with election law. Mr. Phillips AND his opponent, Maurice Hinchey, both live in our district. Hence their ability to run for the seat. Keep trying George (both of you). 

Perhaps my favorite of all the calls came last week. A surveyor wanted to know how I felt about the two candidates running for State Senate in my area. I have a clear favorite for all the big reasons -- issues, issues, issues. But the fact that his last name is Sager doesn't hurt.

Which made me laugh when they asked if I have "favorable" or "unfavorable" feelings about "Sager" and "Bonacic." I'm still not sure whether I should be glad they didn't make assumptions about me based on my name or wondering why they didn't read the surname on their calling sheet. We're not related, but I was an immense waste of their time.

More to the point -- they were an immense waste of MY time. As are the six phone calls I've gotten in the past week that were dead air because the robotic voice wasn't cued to play immediately after my "hello." I could have used that time to get work done (I am, after all, a work-from-home Mom). Instead I gave up valuable "get something done that I'll get paid for time" to listen to some clicking.

At least whisper a few sweet nothings in my ear and make it worth my while. Maybe some heavy breathing to get my pulse racing. It's tough out there for a work-at-home mom. We don't have any office eye candy to lust after. We could use a pick-me-up.

My colleagues have gotten a laugh out of their robo-calls -- like the Tea Party candidate "yeee-hawwing" and inviting her to grab a pitchfork. Really.

What have I gotten? Extra time with my child (who took the ringing phones to mean it was time to get up). Less time with the escapist TV that makes me a happy, mellower person. And a reminder that most of the people running think I'm a lazy idiot who sits home all day eating bon bons, eagerly awaiting their calls.

Gee. I'm fired up to vote now.

What's the worst call you've gotten?


Image via tj scenes/Flickr

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