[A picture of private offices at Fog Creek Software] Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

Joel on Software

2001/08/13

by Joel Spolsky
Monday, August 13, 2001

Firewalls

We need a new firewall / NAT / VPN box for the office. If you know about these and could recommend one, please email me. [Update: thanks to everyone who wrote in. I think we're going with the SonicWall XPRS2. If you have any horrible experiences, please warn me!]

Telemarketing

Last week I got a call from MCI.

"Hi, this is your local phone company," they lied. "We'd like to save you money."

"Please take me off your list," I responded.

"List? I didn't put you on my list."

Now I was getting angry. I thought the law here was that they had to take you off their list if you insisted. But they refused. I hung up on them.

That night, Jared told me that they are only required to respond if I use the exact words "please put me on your do-not-call list". Apparently the telemarketers are now being trained that unless they hear this magic phrase word for word, they should keep calling you.

And call they did. Today, the same moron called me back. I told him the magic words: "Please put me on your do-not-call list."

"Oh, OK," he said. Same guy. So now I have proof that MCI actually has this insane policy, Jared is not just being paranoid.

Why do they want to call me if they know it makes me angry? What kind of company would do that? It can't possibly help and can only hurt. If anyone has any insight into the messed up management process at this company that actually made them reach this decision, I'd love to hear it.

If you live in New York State and don't like telemarketing calls, there is a web form you can fill out which makes it illegal for telemarketers to call you.

I filled it out today. According to the web site, the next "do not call" directory will be published October 1 and telemarketers have until November 1 to stop calling me, or they will be subject to a $2000 fine.

If enough people (and states) figure this out, maybe one day telemarketing will be worthless and nobody will bother any more.


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About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, which lets you organize anything, together, FogBugz, enlightened issue tracking software for bug tracking, and Kiln, which provides distributed version control and code reviews. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

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