See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Phone bangs 

Best New Career for Laid-Off Dot-Com Workers

Mere moments before Chuck Heston discovers the ape-clustered planet he collided with is actually Earth, possibly the most thrilling conclusion to a movie in decades — and the ultimate human nightmare — the phone rings. But you can’t pause HBO. A few more rings and you’ll go completely mad. Hopefully it will only be Britney. You can call her back after the credits roll. Or just your best friend. He’ll understand.

Not a chance.

It’s a product jockey — a telemarketer. In fantasies, such calls should be short and sweet. “Thanks, but no thanks,” you could say before the women on the other end of the line even catches a breath. “Sorry, but I’m satisfied with my current vacuum cleaner,” you could announce before the marketer even finishes a single word. Alas, that is just a dream.

In the world of product pushing, your comments play second banana to a preprinted sales pitch. And the business is booming — like Pokémon, only more annoying. So who better to man the switchboard than dot-com rodeo riders? You know, the former players in the tech stock explosion, from a fairytale time when, and eToys were still buzzing — rather than buried 10 feet under.

Even though the aforementioned isn’t an accurate statistic, it fares well in the humor department. Imagine, the programmer who once attempted to entice shoppers to purchase a 20-pound sack of Kibbles & Bits online is now hawking long-distance service. And even though he may not convince you, he compels you to listen contently.

By now, Heston has laid eyes on the Statue of Liberty, broken and decayed. The screen fades to black. The credits roll, just as you feared. And all you’ve learned is that Sprint offers better local-calling rates than AT&T.

Damn, I always thought that planet looked oddly familiar.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 28, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit