I’m sorry, Brian George, but we got cut off and I couldn’t call you back


Yesterday, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I receive a telephone call at work. There is that characteristic pause after connecting which tells me that I have probably just been called by a telemarketer.

"Hello?"

Hello, I'm Brian George from Liquid Capital Management. Our company founder, Brian Kim, has been working closely with Microsoft employees to help them with financial matters. Are you familiar with hedge funds?

I hear another voice in the background. This is almost certainly a boiler room operation.

"There appears to be another voice on the line, do you hear it? Oh wait, it's gone. Could you repeat the name of your company?"

It's Liquid Capital. Are you the Chief Financial Officer?

"Liquid Capital Corporation?"

No, Liquid Capital Management. Are you familiar with hedge funds?

"And your company's founder's name, is that spelled with a Y or an I?"

With an I. Are you familiar with hedge funds?

"I'm sorry, if you could just answer a few questions so I can log this call properly. You are Brian George from Liquid Capital Management. I assume your name is spelled with an I as well?"

Yes.

"Excellent. And where is your company based?"

We're in New York City.

"Okay, and what is your phone number, in case we get disconnected?"

646-237-4400. Are you familiar with hedge funds?

"Okay, thank you for your patience. Now, what was it you would like to talk about?"

(Silence.)

Apparently, Mr. George became impatient with my call logging procedure and hung up. I try calling him back, but an automated voice tells me, "We're sorry. The party you have dialed is not accepting calls at this time."

He was calling after business hours in New York, so maybe it was some sort of emergency. Gosh, I hope he wasn't calling about anything important.

Comments (24)
  1. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    Back when mortgage was all the rage, I’ve been getting calls from subprime mortgage companies. I then asked "what’s your company name, address and phone number". Most of the time that was enough for the call to magically disonnect. If not, I asked, "Is it OK that I will be recording our call?". That worked all the time.

  2. Mark (The other Mark) says:

    Assuming I have time and am not eager to get to some other activity, I like to act like an eager, but difficult, potential victim… I mean, investor.

    For example, I want to invest with them, but I don’t have a bank account anymore- I used to, but then someone cleaned it out. Now I keep my money in a masonry jar above the kitchen cabinet. Why, yes, I can send it to you but I have to wait till my son gets home, you see, I can’t reach the jar. Any story that suggests I would love to send you money, but…

    For some reason, I also like to do fake accents when I’m doing this. I’m not particular good at that, and end up going back and forth between a fake Mexican accent and a James Bond-movie style Russian accent.

    "No, Mr. Brian George, I expect you to die."

  3. Brian (not Brian George) (and not the common Brian either) says:

    But…but…thermonuclear device?  This is more like the social skills of a passing butterfly in the slightest of breezes.

    That’s not to say that I don’t approve.  I heartily approve.  It just seems so uncharacteristic of you.  Next time, could we get a thermonuclear story purely for entertainment value?  <grin>

  4. steven says:

    Wow, you even get that stuff at work? You certainly picked a nice way to get rid of them.

  5. Chriso says:

    Okay! Are you familiar with hedge funds? :-D

  6. Leo Davidson says:

    My dad’s method is to ask them to hold the line for a second, then leave the phone off the hook (still on the call) and get on with whatever he’s doing (usually eating dinner when they call) until they hung up.

    It wastes their time without wasting yours. Only a problem if you’re worried about missing some other call or running down a portable phone’s battery.

  7. mikeb says:

    > My dad’s method is to ask them to hold the line for a second, then leave the phone off the hook (still on the call) and get on with whatever he’s doing (usually eating dinner when they call) until they hung up. <<

    I can’t believe I didn’t think of doing that.  So nice, yet so little work.

  8. htd says:

    here we just told them we will transfer their call to our security officer.

  9. Jim says:

    We’ve got a dedicated voicemail we transfer these kinds of calls to at work. The recording gets switched around every few weeks. Some of the prior greetings have been The Picard Song and Still Alive. Nobody has yet sit through an entire song.

  10. see!? Raymond does have a sense of humor!

  11. Brian (not Brian George) (and not the common Brian either) says:

    @Jim: Surely you’ve Rickrolled a few, right?

  12. AsmGuru62 says:

    Why not simply hang up? If I leave the phone off the hook – isn’t that time recorded in my phone bill.

  13. Why not simply hang up?

    In the networking world this strategy is called "tarpitting".  The idea is to slow the telemarketer down to the point where the ROI of telemarketing drops below the ROI of less socially repugnant marketing methods.

    If I get telemarketed by a robot, I wait patiently until I get the sucker instructions (press 1 to talk to a warm body) and follow them until I can tarpit a real human.  (Tarpitting a real human is much more effective than tarpitting a robot.)

  14. configurator says:

    @AsmGuru62: only if you made the call.

    I once received such a call on my cell when I was at work. I told them my battery is going to run out and gave them my work number. They called, and got my extension. I answered (I had one of those handsfree thingies back then), and told them to just hold – and muted the conversation. After half a minute or so, they asked if I was still there – I said "sure, I’m just finishing on the other line". Got the poor caller to wait for over an hour, and then I said "listen, I have to go to lunch. Would you like to call me back in an hour and a half?" They never called again.

  15. dsn says:

    I had a telemarketer try to sell me credit card insurance (which is a complete and total ripoff http://blogs.moneycentral.msn.com/smartspending/archive/2007/10/23/take-a-pass-on-credit-card-insurance.aspx )

    He wouldn’t take no for an answer.  So after a while, I just started putting the phone down, and every so often picking it up and saying things like "ummm, can you explain that again?"  I like to think I saved a number of people from being bothered by the guy :)

  16. Falcon says:

    You could have taken on his namesake actor’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_George) character from Seinfeld and said, "You are a very bad man!" :-D

  17. ashleigh says:

    Report these people – to the SEC (in the USA) or somebody similar. They are thieves.

    [“Hello, I’d like to report Brian George from Liquid Capital Management. Yes, I know that’s a fake name and a fake company and a fake phone number. Please stop laughing.” -Raymond]
  18. An advantage of getting old is that you develop boilerplate answers for almost all flavors of telemarketers.

    For example, many calls this year have been from companies wanting me to switch cellphones and/or operator, my reply is (it’s actually true):

    "I’ve had the same cellphone no. and operator for the last 18 years, and plan to keep it that way for the next 18 years. Could you call me after that?"

    They always say "Ok, thank you." and hang up.

    /Henry

  19. Brian Tkatch says:

    Just say "We do not use …"

    Check out http://wedonotuse.com/. The stories are pretty good.

    So,

    — Hello, I’m Brian George from Liquid Capital Management. Our company founder, Brian Kim, has been working closely with Microsoft employees to help them with financial matters. Are you familiar with hedge funds?

    We do not use Hedge Funds?

    • Would you like to setup a Hedge fund to make money?

    We do not use money here.

    • Really, how do you buy things?

    The company provides everything we need.

    • But what about personal items?

    We do not use personal items.

    And so on. As long as you can keep a straight face, this can be a lot of fun.

  20. unwarranteed says:

    Not long ago I got a call on my mobile phone from one of the places that try to sell car warranty extensions. I was in a meeting that was long, boring, and unproductive, so I stepped into the hall, and pressed the button to speak to an operator.

    o: This is Sue. Can I get your year, make, and model?

    self: If you don’t know that, why are you calling me?

    o: <click>

  21. Justin says:

    unwarranteed:  I like to keep warranty scammers on hold even longer than that:

    "Sir, can I get the make, model, and year of your vehicle?"

    • It should be right there on your computer screen

    "Sir, I need it for security verification"

    • You should know, it.  Since you called me, you should have all the information on your screen.

    "Sir, do you want an extended warranty or not?"

    • Only if you tell me the year, make, and model of my car.

    "Sir, it sounds like you don’t want our warranty services.  I’ll remove you from our list."

    • Wow, I tried telling you to do that the last time you called.

    The more irritated they get, the better, and the more fun for me.

  22. DriverDude says:

    "I was in a meeting that was long, boring, and unproductive, so I stepped into the hall, and pressed the button to speak to an operator.

    o: …

    self: …

    o: <click>"

    Doesn’t sound like you got much of a reprieve from that long boring meeting.

    I usually want to say nasty, naughty things to telemarketers, but unfortunately that is Not Safe for Work.

  23. A similar thing happened to me in 1997, a week or two after I converted to being a full-time MS employee.

    The marketer claimed to be working with a bunch of recent Microsoft hires on investment strategies. I asked questions like "how did you get this number?" and "why are you calling me at work?", throwing him off his spiel. Eventually, I asked for his name and his supervisor’s name, and used a name which sounded unintelligible and said his supervisor’s name is "Nanya Bissness" before hanging up, exasperated.

Comments are closed.