I guess some amount of commerce would grind to a halt if telephone solicitors weren’t able to call people at home during dinner hour, supper hour or during your favourite television show. But that doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

The good news is that this problem has been solved. Steve Rubenstein, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, has proposed, “Three Little Words” based on his brief experience in a telemarketing operation that would stop the nuisance for all time.

Those three little words are: “Hold On, Please.”

Saying this while putting down your phone and walking off, instead of hanging up immediately, would make each telemarketing call so time-consuming that telemarketing sweatshops would grind to a halt. When you eventually hear the phone’s “beep-beep-beep” tone, you know it’s time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task. This might be one of those articles you’ll want to mail or e-mail to your friends. “Three little words” that will eventually ELIMINATE telephone soliciting.

Now that we’ve got a way of dealing with the annoying solicitors, let’s look at a few other things we can do to improve this world of ours.

When you get ads in your phone or electric bill, include them with the payment to let the companies throw them away. To really show them how annoyed you are, staple your bill and payment cheque together. Now, fold it in half and tape it shut. They will not be able to process your payment automatically. If enough of us do this they will have to hire people just to open the payments and process them by hand, so you are actually helping the economy. Perhaps it’s time that those annoyingly high service and late charges are really earned.

When you get those “pre-approved” letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to second mortgages and junk like that, most of them come with postage paid return envelopes, right?

Well, hell’s bells, put it to work. Why not get rid of some of your other junk mail? Just put it in these cool little envelopes! Send an ad for your local Zellers to Mastercard or Visa. Send the pizza coupon to MBanx.

If you didn’t get anything else that day, then just send them their application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn’t on anything you send them. You can send it back EMPTY if you want to just to keep them guessing! Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting their junk back in the mail. Let’s let them know what it’s like to get junk mail, and the best of it is that they’re paying for it! . Twice! I’ve heard of one person who just puts a label over the return address and sends a lettter off to friends or family.

Let’s help keep our postal service busy, since they say e-mail is cutting into their business, and that’s why they need to increase postage again! Tell this to a friend or two or three… or fifty.