Warning! Beware of Phone Rage

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Can you imagine going to jail because you got mad at a junk mail writer or telemarketer and told them off? A gentleman in Ohio can, since he’s spent almost a month in prison for allegedly doing just that!

STLToday reports that he was frustrated after receiving confusing mail about an extended warranty he apparently never purchased. The mail was actually trying to sell him a warranty but didn’t make that fact clear. In fact, the warranty company had been under the microscope of the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General  for misleading statements in their sales material.

According to the American Institute of Stress, phone rage has become an increasingly common term. Of course, some of that is probably also cell phone rage – a topic for another day.  But junk mail follow-ups and irritating sales calls are definitely a big part of the problem.

Another issue he was experiencing, that many of us involved in senior home care deal with daily, was the comment by his wife. “…he hadn’t quite been himself after taking prescription painkiller medication…Irritability can be one side effect from those drugs.”

Unfortunately, all of that doesn’t excuse anyone from calling a company to ask questions, losing their temper and threatening to burn down a business’ building, which is what the Ohio-an is accused of doing.

The article was a good reminder to me that, no matter how exhausting or frustrating our caregiving day may have been, we need to be polite to all, even irritating phone call salespeople. For those of us whose aging parents have tempers with a bit of a short fuse or who are taking medications that cause irritability, it might be a good idea to share this story with them, as well. With all the confusing junk mail and irritating sales calls we get, it would be very easy for them to lose their temper and say something unacceptable. Just raising their awareness level about something like this can be a useful tool. The last thing we need in our busy caregiving schedules is a visit from the police department due to a phone rage situation!

For other interesting articles on today’s current events, check out The Surrendered Scribe.

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    • Julie Arduini The Surrendered Scribe
    • July 24, 2009

    I never thought of this. My concern has always been for the business folk who thought they could take advantage of my mom, were wrong, and then left nasty messages for her. True story. But so true, medicines could make a big difference in phone calls. Another great article!

    • Kaye
    • July 24, 2009

    Hi Julie, I’m with you, and I’m always encouraging her to follow my example. Say thank you but I’m not interested and immediately hang up, whether they do or not. Re: Medications – I have seen friends and relatives greatly impacted by medications in the past but certainly would never have thought of something like this. Good heads up for us all! 🙂

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