Do not call means do not call

Image of Good Life Fitness logo Yesterday, when my home phone rang, the call display information read "GoodLife Fitness". This would not have surprised me in any way if I had been expecting a call from the GoodLife Fitness Center or, alternatively, I knew someone who worked there. Neither were the case.

I have absolutely no idea why the GoodLife Fitness Centre would be calling me but as my number is listed in the National Do Not Call Registry I was sufficiently curious to find out why. All I could think of was that a rich Aunt, third removed, had a massive coronary on the treadmill and the last dying words she could muster were "Call my nephew Jeff!." Surely they wouldn't be trying to sell me something, would they?

According to the GoodLife Fitness Centre agent with whom I spoke, they were calling me to offer me a free 7 day trial membership because "one of my friends" had given them my phone number. I told them that this was simply not possible since, as I asserted, "I have no friends. I have no redeeming qualities and no one likes me." Their reaction was, to my amazement, quite unsympathetic and unfeeling. I would have thought such a declaration might have at least garnered a "We could be your friend Sir" or "Surely not, such a delightful telephone mannerism, you must have oodles of friends". Nope... there was no response.

"Since I have no friends," I continued, "I want to know how you got my name and phone number? Who is this scoundrel, this charlatan, this masquerading rogue? About a decade ago," I continued, "I had a cellmate named Stomper but the last that I heard, he was doing an additional deuce for shanking someone over a stale dinner roll. It's not Stomper, is it?" I asked. "Has Stomper been let out on good behaviour?"

The dipshits at GoodLife Fitness had absolutely no idea what the hell I was talking about. I may as well have been speaking a different language. Well, actually, I was. I was speaking English, with a distinct dialect of imagination and satire. These morons were speaking Stupid, with a slight tinge of disinterest. "Look," I said, "who gave you my number? What self-respecting friend of mine, unless they had a death wish, would stoop to such depravity?" Ths putz I was speaking to had no idea but did, after some persuasion, put me through to their sales department.

According to the folks at GoodLife Fitness, my name and phone number (along with someone named Bella) was provided to them by one of their clients named Abdullah. "Abdullah?" I questioned. "Buddy, I'm not an ethnocentric xenophobe by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't know a single person named Abdullah. My phone number is not listed. And, perhaps more importantly, it's on the Do Not Call list which means that you are not supposed to call me.".

He continued to justify their marketing call on the basis of Abdullah's recommendation. Clearly, the suggestion that my non-existent friend Abdullah did not have the authority to grant an override proviso to the Do Not Call list was not sinking in. "For all I know," I said, "this fictitious Abdullah character has thousands of friends scattered across the neighbourhood and you're using this ploy to circumvent the Do Not Call list." Interestingly, when I asked him for Abdullah's phone number he claimed he didn't have it. I really don't like being played and although I may have been born at night, it certainly wasn't last night.

Recognizing that my time was being wasted talking to one of the minions, I asked to speak to the manager. If I chose to have my number listed in the Do Not Call Registry, all businesses should be consulting that list before embarking on any telephone marketing campaigns. And the only party who has the authority to grant exceptions as to who can call Jeff Dubois is the guy named Jeff Dubois, not Abdullah, my fictitious ethnic friend. The manager's name is B.J. Charles. I would have spoken with him (or her) but I was informed that he (or she) would not be in until Monday.

Of course procrastinate is a word that's not in my vocabulary, and I like to get to the bottom of things and resolve disputes when they arise, not wait until the cows come home. I do not believe that GoodLife Fitness are permitted to call numbers, willy-nilly, based solely on the recommendation of a third-party. I don't care whether that third party is a legitimate, bonafide client or a fictitious being, conjured solely for the purpose of justification. I simply do not believe that GoodLife Fitness are permitted to make these calls without first consulting the Do Not Registry. And since I was not able to obtain GoodLife's position on that, and correct the matter, I contacted the complaints department of the Do Not Call Registry and have asked them to launch an investigation into the practice.

I have to admit though. I am curious to know if other folks are getting calls from GoodLife because their friend, Abdullah, recommended them for this fabulous offer. And, if so, is your phone number listed on the Do Not Call Registry? If you're reading this online, please feel free to drop me a note using the Contact Us page. (The webmaster has agreed to forward any email on to me.) If you're reading this on Facebook or Twitter, please feel free to share or retweet this page. As my way of saying thanks, I promise NOT to give your contact information to GoodLife Fitness. If you really feel like you need some exercise, please come to my cottage and help me split firewood. Alternatively, give B.J. Charles at GoodLife a call at 613-526-0197. Tell him you were given his phone number by his good friend, Jeff, so he could take advantage of a free chance to spilt firewood. It is, ironically, the very least I can do.

Submitted by Jeff Dubois, 18 November 2016