Sorry, Right Number

Those hated phone pitchmen are hotter than ever and a surprising bright spot in the economy

Dr. Elizabeth Orsay was hard at work in the trauma center of Chicago's Lutheran General Hospital when she was called away from a patient to answer the phone. To her anger and dismay, the caller was a telemarketing pitchman who was touting a special buy on film. "He managed to get through by deceiving the secretary," the still steaming physician recalls. "I told him that what he had done was totally unethical."

That kind of thoughtless assault on privacy has helped put telemarketing high on the list of industries Americans love to hate. Whether you are just sitting down to dinner...

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