When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Calling For The End Of Call Centers

Our Naples-based Dottoré takes a critical look at companies that rely on telesales.

Photograph of a man in a zebra print shirt walking down a Neapolitan street. He is talking on the phone.

A man talks on the phone as he walks down a street in Napoli.

Michele Canciello/Unsplash
Mariateresa Michele

Dear Companies that rely on call centers,

I am writing this post for you, not for my poor friends, because I feel it is my responsibility to tell you that you've got your marketing and communication strategy all wrong.

First you used to call us from strange numbers on our landlines and cell phones. Over time, we learned to identify and block most of them. Only a few of us, like my grandmother, would answer every unknown number that called. If I tried to stop her from doing so, she'd get upset and say, "Who knows, sure it could be a telesales call, but what if it's my cousin calling me from America?" Just for the record, that cousin has not been seen or heard from in years, and is most likely deceased.

Then came the calls from Italian numbers. Many from Milan, then Bari, or Rome, but paradoxically, all made by operators from Eastern Europe. One of my friends got tricked into thinking it was his father's caregiver because he couldn't believe she was calling from a landline in Mondoví instead of Naples. Let's be honest, who doesn't have friends all over Italy? At first, we'd answer naively, but then we got smart and stopped. Strangely, all the calls would come in a concentrated burst of five minutes, like a barrage that took us on a national tour of Italy.

Today, I got calls at 13:16 from Brescia, 13:18 from Padova, and 13:20 from Rimini. I wonder if these are different call centers competing with each other or if it's the same call center with numbers from all over Italy, changing cities with each call to confuse us into thinking we're stupid enough to answer.

Destiny calling

And then, there's been a new development lately – calls from cell phone numbers. Those have really ruined everything. Now, you can only be confident about answering numbers saved in your contacts because the enemy is lurking everywhere, and if you answer, you might even get the terrifying: Ta ta ta taaaa, Ta ta ta tan! Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, that is. It's beautiful, no doubt, but it becomes unsettling when you absentmindedly answer, take a while to realize what's happening, and then get a scare. You know, the "symphony of destiny," fate calling you...

If you're doing all this to make sales, you're on the wrong path.

To be honest, I haven't exactly understood who's responsible for these calls, but what I know is that when it comes to unknown numbers, I wouldn't answer even if I were dead. Because now, besides dealing with call centers, you might accidentally find yourself in "The Ring."

Can you imagine? Practically all phone communications, except with your mom, aunt, and child — assuming they don't call from a friend's phone — are compromised. The only solution now is to send a message before calling someone not in your contacts and making sure they've read it, or else they might hang up upon seeing your number and then run to touch some talisman, in fear.

On the wrong telemarketing path

So, gentlemen behind the call centers: What do you think you'll achieve with that strategy? What product do you believe you can sell, and what kind of sane person, after all that we've been through, will answer, talk to someone in Italian, and, even if you're offering a 110% discounted super TV, not tell you to go to hell?

In short, if you're doing all this to make sales, you're on the wrong path.

But hey, here's an idea: What if, perhaps, the call centers are actually subsidized by an anti-capitalist elite? Secretly aiming to undermine the system from within, with the objective of reducing unnecessary expenses and the use of cell phones?

That would be pretty cool; they might be educating us in some way!

Well, that's what I chose to believe, at any rate. But for now it's over with the anti-capitalist education, and I have to put my phone away and turn it to silent because in a little while, the barrage of calls will start, and with my current streak of bad luck, I'll end up distracted, answering, and getting the Tatatatan — not Beethoven's Fifth this time, but Chopin's Funeral March!


Learn more about Worldcrunch's exclusive Dottoré! series here.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


How Parenthood Reinvented My Sex Life — Confessions Of A Swinging Mom

Between breastfeeding, playdates, postpartum fatigue, birthday fatigues and the countless other aspects of mother- and fatherhood, a Cuban couple tries to find new ways to explore something that is often lost in the middle of the parenting storm: sex.

red tinted photo of feet on a bed

Parenting v. intimacy, a delicate balance

Silvana Heredia

HAVANA — It was Summer, 2015. Nine months later, our daughter would be born. It wasn't planned, but I was sure I wouldn't end my first pregnancy. I was 22 years old, had a degree, my dream job and my own house — something unthinkable at that age in Cuba — plus a three-year relationship, and the summer heat.

I remember those months as the most fun, crazy and experimental of my pre-motherhood life. It was the time of my first kiss with a girl, and our first threesome.

Every weekend, we went to the Cuban art factory and ended up at the CornerCafé until 7:00 a.m. That September morning, we were very drunk, and in that second-floor room of my house, it was unbearably hot. The sex was otherworldly. A few days later, the symptoms began.

She arrived when and how she wished. That's how rebellious she is.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest