Sunday, February 26, 2006

Somebody in the World Who Wants to Do a Lotta Good for a Lotta People.

That titular mensch would be, according to one source you'll hear from shortly, a guy I worked for around late 1989, maybe 1990. This was in Plainview, not long before I bailed on the Island. I had done some telemarketing for a company with utility contracts but they went into the toilet, so I thought I'd look for something in the same field. It turned out the job I had there was unique in that there was very little cold-calling; that is, the people we were scheduling home energy audits for had requested the service. That is not real telemarketing.

The job I briefly took with the guy in Plainview (I have absolutely no recollection of his name so I'll refer to him as Mr. Putz) was closer to the real thing, but probably at the far end of that spectrum. Mr. Putz had one of those horrible calling machines (much like Homer Simpson once acquired) which would call every number in a particular exchange, e.g. 935-0001, 935-0002, etc. The recording was an utterly generic pitch for home equity loans, and had no company identification or contact info at all. To add to the aggravation of getting one of these calls, you couldn't hang up on the friggin' thing. If you hung up and picked up again, it would still be playing, and it was a good three or four minutes long.

When I wasn't sitting in a tiny, shed-like addition to this jerk's house calling old leads that would have put Shelley Levine into foaming apoplexy, I was listening to the tapes from that infernal auto-dialer to cull the information left by interested parties. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), what the folks who left messages were interested in was mostly cursing us out. Not one message was left with an earnest query about a loan. There were many messages of hang-ups, spitting venom, or just plain silliness, but when the rare actual phone number was left, it was usually due to the confusion of children or foreigners. Although I had been specifically instructed not to take the tapes home, that is precisely what I did in order to dupe copies of my favorite calls. I present them here, in two SoundCloud uploads by colleagues The Sleeping Brothers, for your enjoyment.

WARNING! There is seriously salty language in here, and the volume and sound quality vary due to Mr. Putz re-recording over the same tapes 15,000 times. There were some annoying squealing sounds between many of the calls which I did my best to eradicate, but a bit gets through here and there. When you hear it, imagine what it was like sitting through entire tapes of that!

Listen closely at 1:47-2:03 of the first clip: I swear it's Howard Stern's parents, Ben and Rae. My favorite is at 3:20 in the second clip, the guy who says he is going to report Mr. Putz to the "telephone commission" and concludes with a terse "Ya buncha bastids!" The one that provides the title of my post is classic too, a perfect little soliloquy of vituperation that I have memorized for just the right occasion. It's at the :53 mark of part two.

For further edification, though I don't recall Mr. Putz's real name, I do remember that his character was rather like this guy's:
This is the quietly bullying Hollywood jerk, played by Ben Stiller on his old show, who walks around in a velour caftan and pesters celebrities in restaurants into saying the lines they are famous for. Eventually he would browbeat them into doing something special for his wife, like the time he made Casey Kasem dress like a waiter to serve her. "C'mon, do it. Do it. No, really. Do it." Thin out the combover a little, add William Kunstler sideburns and you've got Mr. Putz.


Blogger MO'SH said...

Brilliant! This is Long Island in a way no book or documentary could capture (well, unless it was a documentary of you playing these tapes).

These clips took me home again. And for that I say "Fuck you, asshole."

My favorite is "motherfuckeeeeeeer."

Sun Feb 26, 02:04:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Brian Kunath said...

That's hysterical. I love the range of responses -- from polite to annoyed to fuck you angry. And even a few creative ones -- like the 1800-EAT-SHIT response.

Hopefully, someone did eventually find this guy and beat him sensless. That would be nice.

Mon Feb 27, 12:36:00 AM 2006  

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