Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Telemarketer's Doomsday Manual


New (and old) ways to have fun with telemarketers and keep your money.


Worry them:
1. Have you seen my hamster? Oh no! Do you know how to get a hamster out of a drain? Let me turn on a light..." then turn on the garbage disposal and scream "NOOOOOOOOOOO" until they hang up. (variation: Ask them what they think would happen if you put a frog in a blender. Later, tell them they were wrong. )

2. When they are giving their description of the product, ring your door bell...go back to the phone and say can you hang on a second... and pretend there is a guy selling something at the door, say "I’ve told you how many times I am not interested!, Virginia get my Shotgun!" and then hang up.
If your watching a war movie put the phone next to the speaker when there are people screaming and explosions etc. and tell the telemarketer that you are 'busy'.

3. If they clean rugs: "Can you get blood out, you can? Well, how about goat blood or HUMAN blood - chicken blood too?"
If they are selling some type of skin care product, say that you don't have any skin.

4. Say: "You cruel rude insensitive person he died while using your product, now you have the nerve to call back and try to sell him another one. Take him off you list, or have your attorney call ours."

5. Answer: "911 Emergency. State your emergency?"
They will be confused. "Hello? What is your emergency?"
Telemarketer: "Um, no emergency... wrong number"
Reply: "A wrong number eh? What other number is three digits? We are sending an officer over immediately."


Annoy them:

6. Tell them to talk VERY SLOWLY, because you want to write EVERY WORD DOWN.

7. If Phone Company calls trying to get you to sign up with their Family and Friends plan, reply, in as sinister a voice as you can muster, "I don't have any friends...would you be my friend?"

8. If they start out with, "How are you today?" say, "Why do you want to know?" Or you can say, "I'm so glad you asked, because no one seems to care these days and I have all these problems, my sciatica is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died...." When they try to get back to the sales process, just continue on with telling about your problems.

9. "Sir, I am calling from "Peapod", the home delivery grocery service.
Where do you now shop for groceries?"
"I don't."
"How do you eat?"
"I have a vegetable garden and a cow."

10. Some people have good success by answering:
"do you mind if i record this conversation for quality control or training purposes?"


Confuse them:

11. You: Answer the phone with
"Hello, is Steve there?"
Them: "Ah...., No"
You: "I'm sorry. I must have the wrong number." Click!

Variation: Telemarketer: I'm selling...
Victim: I'm sorry. I'm not here right now.

12. Q: "Hello sir, may we speak to the person of the house who pays the phone bill?"
A: "We don't have a phone"...

13. Tell them you work for the same company they work for. Example:
Telemarketer: "This is Bill from Widget & Associates."
You: "Widget & Associates!! Hey I work for them too. Where are you calling from?"
Telemarketer: "Uh, Dallas, Texas."
You: "Great, they have a group there too? How's business/the weather? Too bad the company has a policy against selling to employees! Oh well, see ya."

14. After they tell you the product they're selling, ask them if it comes with a free blender. If they say no, tell them that you won't buy from them without a free blender, and hang up.

15. Answer: "You're the sixth caller to KFWT radio. Just answer this question to win $25,000.
Who was the first United States president?"
When they say "George Washington", tell them they won the $25,000. Ask for their name, address and phone number. Then tell them to go home immediately to receive a confirmation call.

So, these are "the fifteen ways to leave you telemarketer", to paraphrase one famous song :) Now let's see it in action:


An Example of Conversation
(Advanced Level. Do not attempt to repeat without practicing first)

Me: Hello
AT&T: Hello, this is AT&T....
Me: Is this AT&T?
AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T....
May I speak to Mr. Salem please?
Me: May I ask who is calling?
AT&T: This is AT&T.
Me: OK, hold on.
At this point, I put the phone down for a solid 5 minutes...
when I picked up the receiver, she was still waiting.
Me: Hello?
AT&T: Is this Mr. Salem?
Me: May I ask who is calling please?
AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T....
Me: The phone company?
AT&T: Yes, sir.
Me: I thought you said this was AT&T... Besides, I already have a phone.
AT&T: Mr. Salem, we would like to offer you 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Me: 7 days a week?
AT&T: That's right.
Me: 365 days a year?
AT&T: Yes, sir.
Me: I am definitely interested in that! Wow!! That's quite a sum of money!
AT&T: Yes, sir, it's amazing how it adds up.
Me: OK, so will you send me checks weekly, monthly or just one big one at the end of the year for the full $52,560? If you send an annual check, can I get a cash advance?
AT&T: Excuse me?
Me: You know, the 10 cents a minute.
AT&T: What are you talking about?
Me: You said you'd give me 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That comes to $144 per day, $1,008 per week and $52,560 per year. I'm just interested in knowing how you will be making payment.
AT&T: Oh no, sir, I didn't mean we'd be paying you. You pay us 10 cents a minute.
Me: Wait a minute here! Don't use your alien brainwashing techniques on me.
I insist on speaking to a supervisor!
AT&T: Yes, Mr. Salem. Please hold...
Supervisor: Mr. Salem?
Me: Yeah?
Supervisor: I understand you are not quite understanding our 10 cents a minute program.
Me: No, actually I was just waiting for someone to get back to me so that I could sign up for the plan.
Supervisor: OK, no problem, I'll transfer you back to the person who was helping you.
Me: Thank you.
AT&T: Hello, Mr. Salem. I understand that you are interested in signing up for our plan?
Me: Mr. Salem is not here right now would you prefer to speak to Slob Boy, Gutter Boy, BrainDead Man .....



Finally, a little advice:

When you get those pre-approved letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and junk like that, most of them come with postage paid return envelopes, right? Well, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little envelopes! Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express, or a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their application back... blank! Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting all their junk back in the mail. Let's let them know what it's like to get junk mail, and best of all...THEY'RE paying for it! Twice!


Appendix: Charts and Illustrations
Click HERE for a complete counter-script and conversation chart - available in 10 languages!


Sources:MacRumors, www.funwithtelemarketers.com

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Vintage & Modern Concept Buses

Link - by Avi Abrams

The Glamorous Side of Riding the Bus: Greyhound on Steroids

Some of these concepts have timeless, exciting forms, some are more of the "pulp-ish" and "sci-fi" variety, but they all invariably turned heads and excited onlookers in their time, and some still inspire designers today. Some of these buses were produced in limited numbers, some remained an artist's dream, or a promotional brochure oddity.

(images via Futurliner.org)

"Aye, Aye, Captain! Care to climb down to the ground and have a chat?" -
This is 1941 version of the legendary "GMC Futurliner" bus (or rather, an exhibition transport vehicle)

1950 GMC Futurliner "Bus" - more images here.

(images credit: Martin Savoie, ConceptCarz)

One of twelve beauties built by General Motors, this is an exhibition display and transport vehicle, designed by legendary Harley J. Earl team. "Opening side, lighting, retractable stage, distinctive center 'cupola' cockpit driving position and dual wheel front axle. Used in the 'Parade of Progress' touring exhibit created by 'Boss' Kettering that complemented the GM 'Motoramas' from 1940 through 1956."

(images via 1, 2, 3)

"One of only three survivors restored in their original 'Parade of Progress' configuration (the others are in long term ownership by NATMUS and Peter Pan Bus Lines), this Futurliner is fully functional and has toured Canada in corporate promotions. A matchless symbol of the American auto industry at the height of its power and influence." (more of this unique concept see here)

(General Motors Motorama buses, an older model)

Boarding the bus apparently was quite a colorful experience (witness all these happy people on their daily commute), back in 1939:

(image via)

The Greyhound Liner had pretty comfortable seats:

Some romance and colorful childhood memories, Greyhound-style:

These concepts of future Greyhound liners still look exciting today -

(image via)

The concept above is similar to the other truck concepts of the period, for example, this BOHN futuristic truck (circa 1941):

(image credit: Arthur Radebaugh)

"The Flying Bus" was also on the menu:

(image via)

What's the ugliest vintage bus, then?.. Well, here is one contender to this title: the MTCO-800 monster from Montreal:

Modern Bus & Truck Concepts

The Isuzu Corporation published a "concept art" calendar with some great designs:

(images via)

Human-Powered Bus Concept

Honda's entry in the Los Angeles Design Challenge, the Running Bus, offers a different take on hybrid energy in urban transportation - clearly inspired by California's fitness culture. It packs 10 stationary runners inside the bus (losing weight will get them places, for sure). According to Cocolico source, "Scania, one of the biggest truck maker in Europe, has tested one of those human-powered buses in Angers, France" -

(image via)

The GMC PAD concept bus, or rather the house...

This bus/house concept is aiming to replace two fundamental things in our life: urban commute - and suburbia!

"The GMC PAD, an urban loft with mobility, is quite simply a home ownership concept that represents a reasonable solution to the problem of urban sprawl... Why commute? With the PAD, it’s where you live, where you work, or merely where you want to be. Whether located in walking distance from your job, or wintering at Mammoth, with the GMC PAD, home is where you want it. And commuting is what other people do."

Though these buses are far more advanced than, say, good old Volkswagen Van, seeing them makes me wish for hippie times all over again...

Retrofuturistic Modern Bus Concepts

Even though they exist only on paper, they are inspiring enough to be mentioned here - this is the work of 600v from Russia, a designer with "dieselpunk" flair:

(art credit: 600v)

In a sense, these are "Zombie Tourers", or "ZombieLand Grand Tourismo" vehicles. In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, you could crawl into one of these enclaves and ride in relative comfort (enduring occasional bumps):

This "Zombie Hunter" seems to be a parallel concept to the GMC PAD described above - only slated for much darker times, without any trace of optimism:

(art credit: 600v)

His retro-futuristic truck concepts are similarly imposing:

(art credit: 600v)

Vintage Police Bus Concept, 1941

Not really a "zombie hunter", but a practical, self-sufficient vehicle, equipped with bedrooms, kitchen, radio station and something strangely resembling a submarine periscope tower:

(image credit: "Popular Mechanics", 1941)

The following vintage mail bus "The Highway Post Office" may look more conventional than the zombi... eh, police cruiser above, but it's probably also full of amenities inside:

(image via)

The Fifties' unbounded optimism (and cheap fuel) routinely gave birth to some outrageous visions: who needs a bus when you can ride your own "land yacht" on a highway? -

(image credit: "Popular Science", via)

We'll stop here, but there are many more incredible retrofuturistic bus designs, so let us know if you have any material of this nature...

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Optical Illusions Extravaganza

"QUANTUM SHOT" #15(rev)
Link - by Avi Abrams

Careful! Don't hurt your brain looking at these. Better yet, warp your brain into another dimension.

It's easy to get dizzy just looking at these objects, trying to process how could they possibly be constructed and where is the mysterious "hidden joint, gap or break"? Today we are going to look at various shape, color, shadow and 3D perspective illusions:

(upper left image credit: Yui Kubo, middle image Francis Tabary)

1. Hard-to-Believe Colour Illusions

They will not make your dizzy, but they will make you doubt your eyes a few times. In some cases, the factual colors are so hard to believe, that you would need to bring them into Photoshop and actually measure the color values. Let's start with a well-known illusion, which still amazes me every time I look at it:

Believe it or not, square A and B are actually the same color! -

(image credit: Edward H. Adelson)

Here are more of messing-with-your-brain color examples:

(image credit: Rebas)

The "brown" tile on the floor and the "yellow" tile in the middle of the cube's side facing to the left ARE THE SAME COLOR! Hard to believe... here is another one.

(image via, by R. Beau Lotto)

(images via 1, 2)

The next one is rather less known, and also very weird: The Angry Face! - Click here to see this illusion...

2. Reflective Art & Mirror Illusions

These drawings seem to be (more or less) normal depictions of shipwrecks and storms, but if you put a cylindrical mirror on top of them, you'll see a Jules Verne portrait, or Walt Disney's face... (more of these here)

(images via)

Best examples of "reflective illusions" we've seen so far:

(original unknown)

3. Fake 3D Perspectives & Impossible 3D Sculptures

A classic example of topologically unique sculptures is the Moebius Strip. Emmanuel Lattes made probably the best representation of it in recent memory: 3D Printed Double Moebius Strip (more info) -

(image credit: Emmanuel Lattes)

Another artist who makes topologically confounding objects is Bulatov. See the whole gallery of his works made from steel and bronze (bottom row - made from wood):

(images credit: Bulatov)

As for the visually impossible 3D sculptures, well, they are not so much "impossible", in a sense that all these structures do exist. They're just "specially designed" to morph into geometrically impossible forms when seen at a particular viewing angle:

(images via)

French magician Francis Tabary created many such strange objects, some placed in an outdoor garden environment - all of them head-scratching and eye-catching examples of 3D optical illusions:

(images credit: Francis Tabary)

A doghouse? With some lost dogs inside -

(image via)

This image shows how this "impossible doghouse" was constructed. Just as you guessed, it's all about strategically placed gaps and a particular point of view:

(originals unknown)

The "Impossible Dice" and the "Disappearing Column" by extremely inventive Japanese artist Shigeo Fukuda:

(images via)

His "Duet" sculpture transforms from a pianist to a violinist, when rotated or depending on your point of view:

(images by Shigeo Fukuda)

Computer-generated objects (even though they're just models) still hold a certain fascination and curiosity to the eye. Josh Sommers makes impossible objects look classy and even Art Deco-ish:

(images credit: Josh Sommers)

4. Shadow Illusions by Shigeo Fukuda

Shigeo Fukuda is famously known for creating a few completely mind-boggling Shadow Sculptures. The beautiful shadow shapes appear out of the complete chaos, out of the seemingly random piles of junk:

(images by Shigeo Fukuda)

This Shadow Illusion Text is by Francis Tabary:

(image credit: Francis Tabary)

Again, sublime reflections and shadows - to fit every mood:

(originals unknown)

5. Impossible Architecture and Interior Design

"The Waterfall" falls firmly into the category of impossible sculptures, bringing to life the famous painting by M.C. Escher - see the original here. On the right is the same structure replicated in... LEGO (more info):

(images via 1, 2, 3, 4)

More mind-bending and surreal works by Escher:

(images via)

Another LEGO re-creation of M.C.Escher's stairs and labyrinthine rooms was made by Henry Lims:

(images credit: Henry Lims)

An impossible door (below right):

(images via)

6. Not what it seems! Masterpieces of 3D Street Pavement Art

Kurt Wenner is the foremost practitioner of this popular urban art subgenre. He paints epic, spiritual and inspiring 3D canvases on the humble street pavement, which fit perfectly in European cities, among Gothic cathedrals and gorgeous architecture:

("Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)" - images credit: Kurt Wenner)

J. Beever has accumulated quite a portfolio of street paintings over the years. They are dizzying, strange, often humorous... Again, these so called "anamorphic illusions" create an impression of three dimensions only when seen at a particular angle:

(images credit: J. Beever)

(left: Edgar Mueller; right: J. Beever)

The "Crevasse" (above left) may have been inspired by the art of Julian Beever, but it is an independent and astonishing work by German artist Edgar Mueller - see more examples here.

(art by: Edgar Mueller, via)

Illusory Photo Manipulation in Advertising

Sometimes a particular advertising campaign can turn scary, surprising our senses with a "floor-less" elevator, see below. Of course, it's only a trick painting on the elevator's floor...

Imagine trying to pass a truck like this on a highway... giving more space to that sticking out bottle, just in case:

It's easy to see why the paintings below are so unique. Guido Daniele paints on hands... other advertising also uses feet:

And finally, these are not illusions, but photo-manipulated and mind-bending "reality" nevertheless:

("Octopus", art by Leo Vilela; other images via John Lund)


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