“Hello?” Her voice is suspicious already. Might be because I have a weird area code.
“Hi! Is this Sharon?” I’m trained to sound super upbeat. My co-workers tell me I’m pretty good.
“Who’s calling?” She’s gone from suspicious to angry. My guess is she just got off work and doesn’t want to be bothered. I get it. Yet, I press on.
“My name’s John and I’m calling from the North Carolina Democratic Party. How are you tonight?” The introduction flows smooth as silk. I’ve long since lost count how many times I’ve said it. It’s a lot though.
Cell phones don’t click, did you notice that? There’s no dial tone anymore either. I’m well aware about what just happened. She hung up on me. I mark her “Not Home” because she didn’t tell me her name. I can’t say for certain that she was Sharon. Her number will come up again in a day or two. Chances are she won’t pick up next time.
Ninety percent of the time people don’t answer the phone. Or the number is disconnected. Lots of times it’ll just ring and then drop. You get to know some of the names that pop up. Those are the ones that ring once and go straight to voicemail. I think this is what it’s like to get blocked.
Still mark them “Not Home” though.
“I’m doing well, how about you?” Finally, someone wants to talk.
“I’m doing great. I’m calling tonight because we need your help to make sure Trump stays out of the White House.” I say this because it usually gets a laugh. Those were innocent times.
“I already donated to the campaign.” That’s how I got your number, by the way. I don’t tell them this. Unless they go “HOW’D YOU GET THIS NUMBER?”
That’s always a fun conversation.
“I’m not after your money, just your time. We need volunteers to help us register voters.”
“I don’t have time for that.”
Mark that one “Maybe later.”
Fifteen or twenty more no answers go by. I step outside for some fresh air. It’s hot for October.
“I work two jobs so I don’t got time. But you got my vote!” Put her down as “Maybe later.”
“If you don’t stop calling me I swear to God I’ll vote for Trump!” He counts as a “Declined.” I’ll try him a few more times though just in case he’s kidding.
“Sure thing, what do you need?” It’s been so long since I’ve gotten this far I’m caught a little off guard. I snap out of it and give her the dates and times of the events I have set up. Once we find a time that works I put her into the system and thank her for her time. I’m super charming.
There’s at least a 50% chance she won’t show up but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For right now I’m smiling because I don’t feel like a total failure. I got a shift.
“Good evening, my name’s John and I’m calling from the North Carolina Democratic Party…”