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Colony of Losers Day 6: Call Centers Part 2: Scam Call Centers

Posted on | April 10, 2010 | 3 Comments

Lower Than You Can Go:

There are legitimate call centers and there are also scam call centers.

I have worked at both.

While legitimate call centers make you into a robot, scam call centers make you feel like the worst piece of shit the universe ever crapped out.

My job at XXXXX Credit Solutions can only be justified by the fact that I was extremely bad at it and made little money while doing it. Friends of mine have gotten trapped in the scam call center lifestyle. You can make a lot of money if you are willing to fuck people over. When you don’t have money morals are fairly easy to push aside. And when you are making lots of money it’s easy to justify living on the wrong side of your conscience.

I was just out of first year university and needed to make some money to pay for my summer escapades.

I should have known there was something wrong when my job interview took place at a frat house located on a local university campus. Walking to my bosses office meant passing the weed room, where employees smoked from a gigantic bong during breaks. During the interview my Broish boss looked at my resume while puffing a cannon sized joint and said like about a hundred times. He assured me that you couldn’t get ahead in this world by being lazy. He was dressed head to toe in name brand clothing. He looked like an advertisement for Banana Republic. During exhalations he lectured me on the importance of a good work ethic.

I had two bosses. They played bad cop/good cop with their staff.

Bad Cop was the type of guy who would fuck your little sister and then borrow ten bucks from you to get a cab ride home. Typically handsome, from a well off family in Toronto he was prone to cursing out his staff and temper tantrums that made you want to ask him why his parents never loved him. On other days you want to slap him and send a puddle of hair jel cascading into the air. You didn’t because he looked like the type who would sue you if you did. He had a thing for the young girls that worked for him and cheesy pick up lines back up with booze.

Good Cop had a preacher’s voice, winning smile and was often late for work because he had been held up saving orphans from burning buildings. Bad Cop yelled at us when sales were down. Good Cop offered us raises if we could just pull our socks up and do our best out there. Good Cop dealt with us when Bad Cop forgot to pay us.

They were business students at a local university and had found an excellent way to make money during summer vacation. I can’t tell you how much money they made. But the clothes got nicer. Brand name sportwear became expensive suits. Bus passes became luxury cars.

The scam was selling “credit cards” to people in the States. Supposedly we operated out of Las Vegas.

Call Centers buy “leads”. Leads are lists of people who might be interested in buying what you are selling. Our leads had all been rejected by major credit card companies and were not eligible for any line of credit.

Poor destitute motherfucker is buried in debt. We give him a shovel. We tell him if he digs long enough he will reach China and freedom. Usually he buries himself alive.

Morally our sales pitch was the equivalent of picking up girls at a bar by slipping GHB in their drinks.

I can still remember the spiel. “Hello my name is Michael Kimber and I am calling on behalf of XXXX Credit Solutions.  I am calling to inform you that you’ve been pre- approved for a credit card with a credit limit up to $5000. How does that sound?”

The keywords in that sentence are “up to”.  The marks rarely heard it.

All you needed to do to get a credit card was to pay a fully refundable three hundred dollar activation fee. Once you got your credit card you could pay yourself back the three hundred dollars and all would be well. We didn’t explain that you would be borrowing that money against your line of credit and you would have to pay off the interest.  The most important point was that you weren’t actually buying a credit card. You were buying a credit repair kit. Which basically meant you got a brochure that explained why you had fucked yourself over for a one-time payment of the little money you had left.

I made three sales. After doing so I felt sick to my stomach. I dedicated myself to making no sales and seeing how long it took for them to fire me. It was around this time that they moved into an office building and expanded their staff. Dope was no longer smoked at the office.  Haircuts became slicker. As a result of the transition they lost track of my sales and I was able to work three weeks longer than I should have.

I don’t remember much about the people who worked there. Most were in University and needed some excuse to not get a real job.

Frenchy was different. She had a French accent and a way with words. She faced a lot of sexual harassment from Bad Cop. It was here that I learned the phrase, “Take her easy and if she’s easy take her twice.” Frenchy told him to fuck off and wore low cut shirts and skirts that were basically underwear.

She needed the hours.

When Frenchy turned 19 she got a credit card and bought an expensive car. She fell behind in the payments and quickly found herself in debt to the tune of $20,000. As a result she worked nonstop helping suckers hang themselves in the name of hope.

None of the calls were that much fun. People called me horrible names and threatened my life. A lot of the customers were high on expensive and soul-destroying drugs. Sometimes I called very good people and had to hang up on them before they became a sale.

The call that sticks with me involved a man from the Southern States that was very eager to get a credit card. He asked very politely if I could call back. He assured me he was very interested.  I asked why he wasn’t interested in fixing his bad credit as soon as possible. He replied apologetically and said that he had just accidentally shot his dog and needed to get him to the vet. However he really wanted me to call him back on Monday. I told him to take care of his dog.

I called him back on Monday. The dog was dead and I made my third and final sale.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Colony of Losers Day 6: Call Centers Part 2: Scam Call Centers”

  1. Julia Smith
    April 10th, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

    Is it wrong to say I’m glad you felt sick to your stomach after your three sales?

  2. Best Bike Lock
    May 17th, 2010 @ 8:40 am

    Great article, i hope can know much information About it!

  3. Call Center Hell# 3: Homicidal first day at work | Colony of Losers
    October 5th, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

    [...] out the next Call Center adventure here.  Check out the first and second parts as [...]

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  • About

    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on twitter.com/colonyoflosersand twitter.com/quimbo. If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out Mindyourmind.ca. I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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