21 May 2014

Not Answering

One of the reasons we still have a home phone line is because there are certain types of calls I prefer not to receive on my cell, and I try to keep my cell number out of as many databases as possible. I still get junk calls on both, though not as many as I used to.

A couple of months ago the Mrs. and I both donated blood at a Red Cross blood drive. Soon after, we started getting auto-dialed calls from the Red Cross at least every couple of days, sometimes every day for several consecutive days. They had to be originating from an auto-dialer because there was never a message, just the machine telling me the date and time of the call and the number it originated from, which I looked up on Google: American Red Cross.

On Sunday I got a call from the Red Cross, from an actual human who wanted me to know that another blood drive was taking place in our area this week, and would I prefer a morning or afternoon donation time?

I know the Red Cross is a worthy charity and I understand that they provide a vital service, so I expect them to try to maximize donations. But I found it presumptuous that I wasn't just asked if I wanted to donate again, but they took it so far as to ask what time would be convenient for me to come in. (Pro tip: the appointment time doesn't even really mean anything; when we went, we had to wait over an hour just to start the process.)

And beyond that, I was very disillusioned with the way they had treated our personal information. It should be opt-in, just as it should be with email. There should be an area on the donor form that asks, "may we contact you about future blood drives?" and then, "if yes, how often may we contact you?" I said as much to the poor woman on the phone, though I made it clear I was not upset with her, just her employer.

Their incessant auto-dialed calls ended up alienating me to the point that I asked them not to call me again at all, at which point the woman asked me if I wanted to give her my email address. It's a shame that their clumsy marketing efforts are getting in the way of donations.

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