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Mumbai: Anil Nambiar has been told not to use the phone in the office. Not surprising, since Nambiar works for a conservative marketing company; he doesn't even have his own permanent seat there.

He is a salesman and according to the company's rule he should be out the whole day meeting customers, not talking over the phone. But Nambiar's problem is that his customers are spread across the city and travelling is tough these days. Days on the road together with bad food have worn down Nambiar's health and he now suffers from acidity and dyspepsia.

Some offices even have an insulting board that reads: "Salesmen not welcome." Which means he cannot just walk in and make cold calls to increase sales. His boss wants him to fulfil his target, but how can Nambiar fulfil that if he is not allowed to use the phone to make appointments? He strongly feels that a telephone is a must if he has to achieve his target and improve on it. But the company thinks providing telephones to salesmen is a waste of money. What's the way out? Nambiar quits his job in frustration.

Nambiar joins Spectrum Systems. The company is progressive and has a telemarketing department supervised by Geeta Iyer. When he goes to meet his clients Iyer briefs him about his clients and their specific needs. Now his job is mainly to close sales, collect payments and give service. His sale productivity goes up, so does his salary and incentives. Nambiar is happy.

But the happiness may not last long. On 28 June 2003, the US administration introduced what it calls a "do-not-call" list, which would block unwanted telemarketing calls to customers beginning 1 October 2003. If one registers in this do-not-call list the government guarantees that one will not be disturbed in one's sleep, nor in the middle of whispering sweet nothings to one's wife or girl/boyfriend. If such do-not-call listers are called, the penalty could be stiff — $11,000, no less. Telemarketers like Iyer could be out of her job if such a law is enacted in India.