Monday, October 15, 2007

Pitch this.

Today i went off and answered phones at KUOW, our local public radio station, during their fall pledge drive. I've never done that before, and i thought it might be kind of interesting. Besides, i am a public radio addict, so i was curious to see inside the station.

There is this whole unpaid workforce of middle-aged and up women who make up the majority of the personnel for everything that i have ever volunteered for. This phone-answering gig was no exception.

I swear to god they are ditsy though. I don't know if it's age, or if it's ditsy women who no longer work. (Yes, i REALIZE that i am speaking about myself. Shut Up!) Or maybe these women never worked. I kept having to show the two women sitting next to me what to do, and both of them have done this before.

At the radio station they call it "pitching" where i call it "begging." They warn you when they are going back to begging so you can be ready to answer the phones.

People are weird. I had one person call so he could complain about a story in the local alternative paper claiming that KUOW has a million dollars stashed away. What am i supposed to do about that dude? I had two people try to give me expired credit cards.

It was easy, and fun, and the free lunch was most excellent. For that alone i would do it again.

Plus i got a free nalgene bottle with the KUOW logo on it. Cool beans.


Bob said...

neat! for years I've thought about volunteering for pledge week. one day.

Liv said...

I did it for the St. Jude telephone pledge line once and it was amazingly fun and inspiring. I did get hustled by a nice old lady to join her service sorority though, and while I can go to Greece, I can't, but can't go Greek.

thailandchani said...

I did that once... way long ago in seemingly a former existence.. and it was a hoot talking to those people who would call in. Many of them wanted to philosophize.



Lynnea said...

Oh cool cool cool. I have always wanted to do this. Was all set to volunteer after I quit my job in the states the next drive, and then we moved up to the frozen North. Maybe I'll drive down to New York or Boston some time and volunteer, just to say I did. Way to go Meno.

Andrea Frazer said...

Perhaps I'll join the Chabad teleton this year. I can wear a yarmuckle and shout "oy vey!" in tribute to my deceased father. Shalom.

Schmoopie said...

Hmm...not something I'd be very good at. I talk too much on the phone. What did you have for lunch?

SUEB0B said...

I am volunteering Weds. Wish me luck.

Scott from Oregon said...

It was't one of those cheesy "liberal" radio stations, was it?

With interviews of the Dalai Lama and shit?

I have a good friend( actually three) that DJ for a station like that.

Oh lord, do they just want to puke sometimes..

Anonymous said...

I've wanted to do that too, but it will have to wait until I'm a bit older and ditsier, because I can't go somewhere else that people need to be told what to do.

Our station has a wine auction. Maybe I can take a seat for that "fund drive."

meno said...

bob, it was fun to see how it all worked.

liv, that you can't go Greek is all to your credit.

chani, i know! I'm thinking "Just give me the money!" but they got talkin' to do.

maggie, someday you'll do it, i know you will. Of course, any excuse to go to NY or Boston is good too.

mamap, shalom back to you. I can just see you doing that.

schmoopie, lunch was from an Indian restaurant, We had Chicken Vindaloo and Tofu Masala. Yum.

suebob, you won't need luck, you have SKILZ.

scott, yeah, who wants to hear from that flaming kook? Sheesh! Who does he think he is?

wng, i think you may be on to something. :)

de, i know what you mean. But i can't see you as a ditz. I'll help you with the wine auction.

karmic said...

I think you did soemthing very noble. :) I always wondered how it was to be inside those drives. Our Philly station sometimes has highschool students man the phones too.
I have to say the lunch sounded yummy!

Biscotto said...

Don't shoot the messenger, please, but I've been told that menopause makes women stupid.

A post-menopausal woman told me this.

It's outrageous, it's hilarious, but is it true?

I hope not.

Anonymous said...

wonderful! I always enjoy getting out and giving my time to organizations I support. I think there is a whole generation of women who just are not up to todays technology. Working a modern phone system can be daunting when you don't even know how to use caller ID.

TTQ said...

I hate hate hate the telephone. I only call honey and mom and i barely answer the cellor hone phone.. phone phobic.

Anonymous said...

Oooo...I was going to say it was all worth it just for the free nalgene bottle, but then I read what you had for lunch. *drool*

Pregnancy makes you stoopid too. After menopause I should be brain-dead.

OhTheJoys said...

Pitching? I went somewhere ELSE - like to the ball park.

meno said...

sanjay, give it a try sometime. I think you'd find it interesting. Lunch was excellent!

biscotto, i will have to do some empirical research on that. The post-menopausal woman i know (mom, aunt, parent's friends, etc.) were all technophobes to begin with. I do know some who aren't ditsy. Hmmmm.

my pool, good point. Probably these women didn't grow up with technology and feel defeated by it before they even start.

ttq, i'm not much fond of the phone either. But somehow it's easier when it's someone i don't know and have a script for. Does that make sense?

nancy, nope, i refuse to accept that. If i become a ditz, i am throwing myself off the Aurora bridge.

oh, the joys, i imagine that they couldn't bear to call it begging, so they came up with a "marketing" word.

amusing said...

Phone phobia.

Unknown said...

Neat! I always wondered where they find the phone-people during phone drives... I figured the office staff just drew straws, and whoever got the shortest ones had to work the phones. Now I know better! :)

Lynn said...

Sounds like a fun different kind of experience. I've always wondered what goes on behind the phone lines...Now I have the chance to ask you so please give up the "REAL" behind the phones gossip.

Dick said...

The lunch (free) I can understand but what is a "nalgene" bottle? That kind of sounds like snake oil.

Anonymous said...

I have ALWAYS wanted to do that. Even moreso on our local public TV affiliate, so I could wave to all my non-existent little friends in TV land while taking calls. ;-)

Free lunch, by the way, always tastes good.

Mrs. Chili said...

One of my secret shames is that I am an NPR addict who's never pledged. I can't STAND pledge week, and I make a point of making sure my iPod is in the car when they're begging.

I'm going to hell...

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've always called it begging, too.

What an interesting experience. You were very likely the youngest person there.

But what is "nalgene?"

Mother of Invention said...

Personally, I don't listen to the publicly funded jazz station when it's fundraising season since I find it annoying that every 2 songs they come on with the same whole begging routine. But that's not good of me I suppose as I don't donate the heaps some people do.

Joan said...

What a great volunteer idea! I just love public's soooo much better than those screaming politic "pundits" on regular talk radio stations!

jaded said...

Let me see if understand this, she who dislikes talking on the phone VOLUNTEERED to answer the phone.

I'm sorry...I just read about the free lunch...never mind.

meno said...

amusing, are you talking about me? or you? I wouldn't say i have a phobia, but it's not my favorite thing. You?

andrea, i heard them on the radio asking for volunteers, so i got on the website and signed up.

lynn, there wasn't much gossip, although a few of the station personnel who's names i was familiar with wandered in to say hi. Apparently Garrison Keilor was there the week before and came in to say hi. I missed that.

dick, nalgene is that hard plastic, as opposed to the soft squishy kind. It's to carry water for hiking or whatever.

jennifer, i would never do it for the public tv station. What if someone saw me? You really should try it, it was fun.

mrs. chili, i hate pledge week, but i hate constant advertising even more. I consider it a point of honor to support public radio since i am an addict too. I'll get into hell on some other rap though.

hearts, no, there was one young woman who was a struggling jewelry maker there. She was fun to talk to.

moi, any donation is good, doesn't have to be heaps. I had a few pledges for $25.

joan, i agree 100%. That's pretty much all i listen to, except for music. I can't even watch tv anymore because of the ads.

patches, it's easier because there's a script, and then you can end the call with "Thanks for calling. Bye."

TTQ said...

Santa may count this as brownie points. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

An NPR fan AND a phone bank volunteer? Meno, I love you! *big hugs*