HIGHTOWER: Taxpayers Train Telemarketers

In a suggestion box at one of our national forests, someone who's clearly not much of a nature lover left this comment: "Too many bugs. Please spray the wilderness to get rid of these pests."It seems to me that bugs belong in the wilderness, but there is one breed of pest that I wish someone would spray: telephone solicitors! In the early AM and in the late PM, on weekends and even on holidays, while you're eating and while you're sleeping [telephone ringing] here come the telephone solicitors, barging right into our homes. Hustling everything from charge cards to politicians, telemarketers have become a major man-made nuisance.This is why it startled me to learn that some of my tax money is going to be spent to populate our world with even more of these nuisances -- and, indeed, to establish telephone solicitation as a "profession."I kid you not. Telemarketing is trying to get respectability, now referring to itself as [quote] "The Call Center Industry." It not only is seeking more workers to pester us with more phone calls, but it also wants those workers to know more about computers and to be trained in ever more sophisticated ways to sell more stuff to us.This is where my tax dollars come in. The Austin Community College has announced that, at the request of the "Call Center Industry," it will offer classes to train phone solicitors. Only, graduates of these classes will not be called anything so declasse' as solicitors -- instead, they'll be given certificates designating them as "customer support analysts."Great. We taxpayers get socked so telemarketing firms can get free training for their low-wage workers, the workers get a certificate giving them a fancy title, and we'll end-up getting even more pestering phone calls to our homes.This is Jim Hightower saying ... Why don't they just poke us in the eye with a sharp stick while they're at it?Source:"ACC answering call to train telemarketers" by Nichole Monroe. Austin American-Statesman: Nov. 12, 1997.

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