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City Life

What part of Do Not Call do you not understand?

Published August 13, 2005

Does World Zen - or World Zin or maybe Worldzen - mean anything to you?

Well, it doesn't mean anything to me, either, even though they call me all the time.

If I answer, a generic woman's voice recording says: "Please call 1-800-401-6070 for an important message. This is not a solicitation call."

The first time I returned the call, a mellifluous, heavily accented voice answered, "World Zen."

Or Zin. Or something. I didn't care, I just didn't want them to call me. I'm on the national and Florida Do Not Call lists, I said, so just don't call me, okay?

That was sometime in late July. I went out of town and forgot about it.

The day after I got home they called twice.

A woman with the same accent - I guessed Indian - answered, "Thank you for calling World Zen." Or Zin. Or whatever.

I asked her name. She said it was "Aline Parker." I may have the first name spelled wrong, but it's probably not her real name anyway.

What IS World Zen? I asked her. Where is it located? What is the name of the owner or president?

To all of those questions, she replied she was not authorized to answer.

She said she personally had not called me and that the organization had not called me.

I told her if they called again, I would notify the police and the FBI.

They called again.

This time, for some dumb reason, I called back on my cell phone.

Michelle answered. Different name, same accent.

"Why are you calling me?" I asked.

"What is your telephone number?" she countered.

Why did she need to know?

We call a number of people for a number of reasons, she said. She couldn't tell me why they had called unless I gave her my telephone number.

So I did. She said it was not in their system. It takes 24 hours for a number to be canceled, she said. "I think you will not receive a call tomorrow."

Think again.

Noon, Tuesday. Another call. I filed a complaint online at the Florida DNC and amended the complaint I had filed the day before in which I had typed my own phone number wrong.

Thursday morning, 10:39.

On the Caller ID: Unknown Name, Unknown Number.

I picked up the phone. A voice very much like, if not identical to, Aline's and Michelle's, asked to speak to Giorgio somebody.

I told her there was no one here named Giorgio.

"Is this . . . ?" and she gave an address I couldn't make out except that it had an "X" in it.

I said no, and she hung up.

Four minutes later, at 10:43, the phone rang - Unknown Name, but it gave a number. The number looked familiar. It had called me Tuesday.

It was not World Zen, or - as Google suggested when I searched the Web - Worldzen. Worldzen is a foreign outsourcing company with headquarters in Illinois and - aha! - Gurgaon, India. What they want with me, I have no idea.

No, this time it was Cynthia, from the AMA Patients' Action Network. She wanted to tell me about Medicare cuts. I told her I don't get my information over the phone. "Well, did you know . . . ?" she started.

I hung up.

I will not outsource to India or listen to the AMA's take on anything over the phone, so don't call me.

Can I make this any clearer: DON'T CALL ME!

Don't FAX me, either, even if you're offering me a 1% mortgage! Up to $6,000,000!

And please, please don't send UPS to ring my doorbell at 6:30 p.m. to hand deliver an envelope marked "Extremely Urgent."

Okay, Verizon had called me first to pitch Fios, and I refused to listen. Send me the information, I said.

Really, the U.S. Postal Service would have been fine.

Sandra Thompson, a Tampa writer, can be reached at City Life appears on Saturday.

[Last modified August 13, 2005, 01:21:17]

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