I used to supervise a team of about 20 telemarketers. We worked the nightshift on the east coast ( 12pm to 9pm) which allowed us to dial the west coast after 6pm. We were selling cable, phone and internet for a certain company, which I won’t name… though one *could* (and one has) refer to it as Digital Satan.
Now I’d like to preface this story with a little more information about my team and myself. Not because it’s particularly relevant, but it helps paint a better picture. I was the youngest supervisor in the building and was pretty full of myself when it came to preforming, as one tends to be in sales. When a batch of new-hires came in, I would take the criminals and “dirt-bags”. That bunch knew how to close. I was also, at the time of this story, in an intense bet with another supervisor over who’s team would take first place that month. If he lost, he had to wear a dress to work for a month. If I lost, he got to shave my head in front of the entire call center…. a few short weeks later I was bald. But that’s not the point of this story..
At 6pm the day shift heads home and, often times, with it, upper management. That leaves 4 teams, including my own, to close out the evening.
On this particular night my team was crushing it. People were making sales left and right. Now, for those who don’t know, when a rep makes a sale, they have to stand up and call out – “Verifier”. This meant that a supervisor or a QA had to hop on their call and verify that the person knew what they were signing up for and fully agreed to it. This had to be done for every sale and couldn’t be done without the verifier putting it through.
One of my guys stands up and yells “verifier!” I give him the ol’ frat boy pound-it, tell him to mark it on the board and hop on his headset to verify the sale.
It was a very nice old woman and my rep had sold her phone service. Everything checked out and she seemed to be 100% with it. He was even saving her money by switching so the whole thing made sense.
The entire verification process went by completely normal. I get to the end where I say:
“Well thank you so much for your order today, ma’am. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Yes.. could you tell me how to get the people in the TV to stop talking to me?”
I was confused. “Excuse me, ma’am?”
“The people in the TV won’t stop talking to me.”
“Well, just turn the TV off and they’ll go away ” I assured her.
“I’ve done that.” She said plainly. “They just turn it back on and keep trying to talk to me. I don’t like them.”
Now I’m creeped out. I’m staring wide eyed at my rep who’s looking back at me confused as he can’t hear what she’s saying, but it’s clear something is up.
“What are they saying to you?” I asked, at this point, genuinely curious.
“Well.. mostly they’ll just say my name. Sometimes when I hide behind the TV they’ll ask for me. To see if I’m really there or if I’m gone. I go to bed and shut off and they just turn it right back on and start talking to me. Sometimes they’ll wait til I’m asleep and then turn it on just to wake me up. Can’t get them to stop talking to me.”
I’m definitely weirded out. This lady seemed so normal through the whole call and then, boom, were in looney town. It just felt… off. I hated it and decided to get off the call.
“Well you’ll need to contact customer support about that. Thank you for your order and we’ll see you next thursday!”
I closed the call and explained what happened to my rep. We were bewildered and very creeped out. I went into the ordering system to update her order and there, in the call log, was over a dozen customer service calls she had made about “the people in the TV”. Each log was crazier and scarier than the last.
Later on I went back and listened to my sales reps entire call. Just to see if anything was out of the ordinary… it wasn’t. It was the most normal sales call I’d ever heard. Right up until she told me about the people in her TV.
It may not seem like much of a scary tale but I got chills writing this out just thinking about it. I can remember every word she said and the exact sound of her voice as she said it. Totally calm. Totally convinced. Of the people in the TV who won’t stop talking to her.