Who's gonna pay for this adobe?
Messing with telemarketers for fun & profit
Hey there, situation normies! I hope 2023 is treating you right, but if it’s not, I suggest writing 2022 on all of your checks, assuming you still use checks. This strategy won’t turn back the clock, but it may prevent people from cashing your checks, and that will save you money. With that extra cash, I’m sure you can find a way to improve 2023.
Today’s story is a good example of what happens when the caller ID display says something like “Scam Likely,” but you answer for shits and giggles. Much to the telemarketer’s chagrin, I didn’t give a shit, and now you get to giggle!
the giggles at Situation Normal are free, but my phone bill is $103 per month, so a lot of awesome readers chip in to offset that cost. to be one of those awesome readers, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.
The telemarketer’s pitch was straightforward. To combat rising energy costs, they were offering to make our home more energy efficient. I was sold immediately, but I didn’t tell the telemarketer that because I had some ridiculous questions to ask first.
“That’s great! Really great. Energy efficiency is top of mind at our place. But even if we weren’t thinking about it—and we are thinking about it, I want to assure you. Anyway, even if we weren’t thinking about energy efficiency, I’d be forced to think about it because I get a ton of calls about this very topic. And that’s not an exaggeration. I actually print out the transcripts from the calls and I put those transcripts on the scale. They literally weigh a ton!”
“Oh, I believe it, sir. This is a very competitive space. But let me assure you, we’re the best in the business.”
“I like the sound of that! Not just your claim to be the best, but the confidence with which you make that claim.”
“Well, I don’t want to disrespect my competitors, but they’re... well, let’s just say, we’re the best.”
“That’s the second time you’ve said you’re the best. The fact that you keep repeating it means it must be true.”
We talked about their reputation a little more. The telemarketer assured me that they really were the best, and I continued to assure him that despite any proof supporting his bold claim, I believed the telemarketer. Eventually, however, we got down to business.
“What can we do for you today, sir? What kind of work are you thinking of doing to make your home more energy efficient?”
"Well, as I mentioned, I’ve given this a lot of thought. Maybe too much thought. But I’m thinking about going old school on this project.”
"Old school. OK, I like the sound of that. We’re old school too. What does old school mean to you?”
“Well, some people say retro-fitting is old school. But retro-fitting is bunk. It’s lip-service, a lie. Retro-fitting is what you do when you want to go old school, but you’re not prepared to spend the big bucks, am I right?”
The telemarketer said I was right, but I didn’t let it go to my head because the customer is always right.
“I want to take our house down to the frame,” I said.
“Nice. Total renovation. I like the sound of that.”
“Not a renovation,” I said. “I’m talking about innovation of the old school variety.”
“I want to take it way back to that original California look. I want an adobe house.”
“Adobe! It’s a building material that may or may not be owned by that software company you probably want me to use to e-sign the contract.”
“Good question! Not many people know this, but the Spanish conquistadors did not have air conditioning because they lived hundreds of years ago.”
“Yeah, AC wasn’t a thing then.”
“Right! But here’s the thing. The Spanish conquistadors didn’t need AC because they had adobe. How cool is that? Answer: cool in the summer, warm in the winter because that’s how adobe works!”
“I can tell you’re a man who knows his history. I like that.”
“Thanks. I watch the History channel all the time. I saw one show that claimed the pyramids were built by aliens, but between you and me that’s total crap because aliens build things in circles, as we all know, not triangles.”
To his credit, the telemarketer didn’t take my alien bait. Instead, he tried to stay on topic by bringing it back to adobe.
“So… adobe isn’t something we work with a lot,” the telemarketer said. “I’m gonna have to check with my team about adobe. Meantime, let’s set up an appointment for an estimate, so we can take some measurements and…”
“What do you think the pyramids cost? Ballpark?”
“I don't know...”
“I doubt they came in on budget. There were probably delays and cost overruns. Let’s be honest, if they weren’t built by aliens—and they absolutely were not built by those circle-loving extraterrestrials—there must’ve been labor issues.”
“You’re probably right. Big projects are always tricky.”
“Unless, you go with the best!”
“And that’s you guys, right?”
“Yes, sir. We are the best.”
“So you didn’t work on the pyramid job, right?”
“It was before our time.”
“Well, I’ll bet the Pharaohs would’ve hired you guys in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I think the Pharaohs had unlisted numbers, so they probably went with whoever had the best Yelp reviews. But everyone knows Yelp reviews are crap. That’s why the pyramids don’t have any windows. The contractor blew the budget, and they had to cut the windows last minute.”
“So about setting up an estimate…”
“Of course, the pyramids were government projects, and you know how those things go. Government projects always end up being way more expensive than anyone thinks.”
“Like, I heard the people in Spain are still paying off all those adobe missions we have here in California.”
“Well, it’s not like the conquistadors were paying cash. They were looking for gold, and they were real bastards about it too. They financed everything, even the small pox they gave to the native Americans. I saw this History Channel show about it. I think it was called Broke-Ass Conquistadors.”
“On the History Channel?”
“I know, right! It’s usually shows about aliens on the History Channel, but this show was legit. The main guy they interviewed was this historian, crypto expert, and pizza reviewer. Real Renaissance man. Anyway, he explained that the Spanish government is still paying off the debts from all that conquistador shit. But you know what that means, right?”
“It means Spanish taxpayers are still on the hook for that conquistador shit. That’s why I always pay cash. I might mess up big time, but I’ll be damned if people two hundred years from now are gonna be saddled with my goofs.”
“That’s a nice way to look at it.”
“It’s the only way to look at it. Otherwise, we have chaos and financial ruin. Look at what happened with that Brexit fiasco a few years back.”
“It’s all explained in Broke-Ass Conquistadors. The Spanish are part of the EU. That means other EU members are on the hook for their debts. Maybe that’s fine with the French. They’re usually cool about stuff like that. And the Dutch have this straightforward policy where everyone just pays their share. It’s called going Dutch, I think. But the British were like, fuck that noise, except they said it in a British accent, but I can’t do a good British accent, so you’ll just have to imagine some bloke named Nigel going, fuck that noise. Are you with me?”
“To be honest, sir, I’m not really following.”
“Let me spell it out. That whole Brexit thing was about paying off conquistador debts.”
“Why should the British be forced to pay for stuff some Spanish guys, who they don’t even know, built in California like a bajillion years ago? You see what I’m getting at? Those conquistadors put their California adobe missions on the ye olde credit Cardi B, then they sent the bill to the British, and the British told them to get bent.”
“Sir, are you interested in getting an estimate or not?”
“Isn’t an estimate just a guess?”
“No sir. It’s our binding promise to build you an adobe house at the price we say we will.”
“Tell that to Nigel.”
“He’s the bloke who said bugger off to the EU because they tried to stick him with the bill for some conquistador’s California cock-up. That doesn’t leave a lot of money for Nigel to buy his fish and chips and do other British stuff, now does it?”
Sadly, the telemarketer hung before weighing in on Nigel’s financial situation. But I didn’t take the abrupt end to our call personally. You can’t do that in my line of unemployment and expect the phone to keep ringing.
“Who were you talking to?” Christina asked.
“Just some guy who wants to do a total remodel on our home. I told him we want adobe because it’s more energy efficient.”
“Adobe? That’s old school. I’ll bet you need some top-shelf artisans for adobe. Can we afford that?”
“Nope. It’s way to expensive. That’s why I told the guy to call Nigel.”
“He’s the bloke who keeps getting stuck with the bill for all these adobe projects.”
Stick around and chat!
You know the drill. I’ve got questions, you’ve got answers.
What was the last telemarketer you spoke with selling? Did you buy it?
When did the History Channel stop doing history and start doing all that weird alien content?
I really am a fan of adobe. It’s energy efficient, and I dig Spanish architecture. Christina likes mid-century modern, which tends to use a lot of windows, so it’s not very energy-efficient. How do you suggest we reconcile our conflicting tastes?
When was the last time you wrote a check? Feel free to tell us everything, but for security purposes, please email me your bank account and routing information.
Aliens didn’t build the pyramids. That’s a ridiculous conspiracy theory. But do you believe in aliens? No wrong answer here, unless someone has conclusive evidence that either proves or disproves the existence of aliens. If you have said evidence, I can assure you that the comments section of Situation Normal is the absolute best place to share it.
Do you have any home improvement projects planned for 2023?
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I didn't realize the History Channel did anything but WWII over-coverage. But now I remember Ancient Aliens because Rob used to watch it. Just yelled to him to confirm...his new favorite Curse of Oak Island is on History but he says he always watches it on the app. I don't know how that is different but we never truly understand that man's wisdom.
Also, dude the pyramids were built by our people. Haven't you ever seen the documentary The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille. It might be on the History Channel this easter. I recommend.
I can recommend “ A wake up call for telemarketers” in which a comedian, books as stay at the same hotel a telemarketing conference is happening
Everybody has to make a living, and that’s what he does. I do feel bad for some of the calls but oh they are ironic