Invasion of privacy must stop


Ding-a-ling-a-ling! It sounds like my phone. And it looks like my phone. But when I pick it up, I find it is a sales counter disguised as my phone and I am speaking with a sales clerk. If an uninvited business clerk came through the door and set up a counter in one of my rooms from which to sell their product of choice, it would be a trespass which few homeowners would allow. The fact that this trespass comes via my telephone makes it no less a trespass!. No business has a right to use my home to set up shop for their own financial gain whether they walk in the door or enter via my phone. They are telemarketers, scammers, politicians, and even charities.

They invade my bedroom, kitchen, living and dining rooms, and, yes, even my bathroom. This is outrageous and a violation of my right to privacy in my own home.

They interrupt meals, housework, lessons, prayers, private worship, family communications and events, naps, and recreation.

It is my right to choose the store in which to shop as well as the counter at which my item of interest is located. These trespassers, however, are taking away my choice and substituting their store and product.

It is also my right to schedule my shopping around the other activities in my day. But, again, these businesses take that right away from me also. They come weekdays, weekends, early morning until late night. They outnumber the calls I get from family, friends, and businesses I choose to deal with. I pay for my phone. It is for my use but these businesses use it as their own equipment for their own gain.

“Do not call” lists are largely ineffective; as are caller ID for I still am interrupted to get to the phone to see that ID. And adding to the problem, these business stores are now using local exchange numbers to make their calls. And while I can and do hang up, the uninvited sales interruption has already been accomplished.

So I propose a solution that speaks loud and clear — money!

I propose that the telephone companies set up a program somewhat like that used by psychics. Not to charge by the minute, but only a flat call fee of perhaps $1 to $10 a call. The home phone owner, upon receiving such a call could zap the pound or star key (whichever the program designates) to invoke this charge to the caller’s phone as a partial payment of my telephone company’s phone bill for their use of my equipment and time for their business’ financial gain. Only callers who habitually make 25 plus calls per day could be zapped. And any business that the homeowner has contacted in the current or previous billing periods would be exempted.

This invasion of privacy must stop. I can’t wait to start zapping, can you?

Dorene E. Hatfield