5 Ways to Reduce Temptation and Have a Peaceful dinner

It never fails: you send the kids off to the salt mine babysitter for the evening, cook a nice dinner and light some candles. Then, just as you sit down, the phone rings.

Now you have 2 choices, you can do like me and ignore the phone if it’s inconvenient to answer or you can ruin a romantic dinner.   The telemarketers know that, statistically, you are home at dinner time.  They don’t care if you are celebrating an anniversary or just trying to connect with your loved one.

Why not preemptively stop the irritation? While you’re at it, stop the junk mail, too. It’s not as hard as you’d think.  It’s a simple, almost free process that will not only eliminate the frustration of pointless calls and sorted junk mail, but will also cut down on the temptation of seeing something shiny to buy.

Here are the four steps to a leaner, greener and romantic dinner-making you:

1. Get on all of the Do Not Call lists.

  • You can get on the federal list by visiting www.donotcall.gov or calling (888) 382-1222.  The tele-sales weasels will have have a month to clear you out of their systems.
  • If you still get calls–some calls are still allowed, including political calls, non-profit fundraisers, and surveys–they are still required to maintain an in-house do not call list.  Tell them to put you on that list.
  • Many states have a Do Not Call list that is entirely independent of the the federal list. This is redundant, but the more roadblocks you put up, the better you will be.

If you are still getting calls, report them to the FTC at:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20580

2.  Opt out of junk mail. The Direct Marketing Association manages a list of people who do not want junk mail.  This list only applies to members of the association, but most mass-mailers participate.  Go to www.dmachoice.org to enroll.  It costs $1 to get on the list and will stop most junk mail for 3 years.

3. Opt out of pre-approved credit card offers. Go to  www.optoutprescreen.com to remove your name from the lists generated by the major credit bureaus to sell to marketing firms.  You can put a halt to this breed of junk for 5 years or forever.

4. Ask them to stop. If you are getting catalogs from a company with which you have an existing relationship, ask them to knock it off.   Virtually every one will stop sending you garbage to ensure a continuing business relationship with you.

5.  Guerrilla Warfare. If none of this works, there are still a couple of options.

  • Keep an airhorn by the phone.   They won’t call twice.
  • Take everything you receive from a company, stuff it all in the prepaid return envelope they helpfully included, and drop it back in the mail.   They only get charged for the prepaid envelopes when they are used, so use them up.  It’s illegal to alter them to send mail to other people, but it’s not illegal to mail them all of their own garbage.  If you cost them enough money, they will eventually back down.
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    1. I’m loving the guerrilla warfare ideas, although an airhorn within reach of 3 boys would mean a lot of headaches for me at my house!

      Maybe it’s a Mom vs. Dad perspective, but when the phone rings and my kids aren’t with me, I would always answer it just in case there was a problem. (I guess caller I.D. would be a good thing to help out with that.) If it’s a telemarketer, I’ve got no problem just hanging up even if they’re mid-sentence.

      Great suggestions!

    2. If my kids aren’t home, I answer the phone, unless they are with my wife or my parents. They always call my cell phone, first.

    3. We only have cell phones and don’t get many unwanted calls. Thanks for the link to the opt-out page…we are now signed up. 🙂

      I do love your Guerrilla Warfare techniques! I will now be sending all that junk back.

    4. I can’t ditch my landline. As long as there’s chance my kids spend time home alone, there has to be a phone to use.

    5. I understand…you could always do what my parents ended up doing and get your kids cell phones too. 🙂

      Even though I was expressly told no for 10 years when I asked for my own land line, both my little sisters are hooked up to cells now…it’s amazing how much even parents change with a little age… 🙂

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