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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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The Conspiracy

As God is my witness, I will NEVER be courteous to a telemarketer again! This time Iíve had it! Really had it! I received my credit card bill and as I glanced over it, I noticed a couple of strange charges. They were small, $7.80. But, what in the world were they? So, I called the 800 number and found out it was an insurance company.

"Howís the weather in Nashville? Getting ready for Fanfare in July?" They were my best friends, youíd think. But I didnít call to pass the time of day.

"There are some charges on my credit card bill here. Who are you and why are these charges on my bill - two in one billing cycle?"

"Oh, thatís the accident policy you took out. Remember? We called you on the phone and you said it was okay to send it to look at."

I bristled! No, I didnít remember, and I did not have any intention of taking out a policy with them. I have insurance and if I didnít I would not be buying it off the phone from a telemarketer!

"Cancel it and take it off my bill."

"You donít want it?"


We went back and forth for a while, and I was not in the mood to be pleasant. Finally it came down to this: If I wanted to cancel the policy, they would have to send me papers which I would have to sign and return before they could cancel the policy. Well, I didnít have to sign anything to buy it, just inadvertently agree to look it over, into their hidden microphone, apparently, and that was considered consent.

Never again! Warning to all telemarketers: WATCH OUT! Iím EVIL, Iím MEAN! Iím waiting for you! I will slam down my receiver in your ear in a New York minute. I do not have to be nice to you unscrupulous, double dealing, rip off artists and I do not ever intend to listen to you long enough to be taken to the cleaners again!

Well, after I cooled down enough to think, I called VISA and asked them what was going on, and how these people got my phone number and credit card number.

"Oh, they donít have your number, we authorized them to call and we put it on your account!"

AH, HA! The credit card company is in on this!

"In that case, I want to make a complaint about you being involved in such unscrupulous dealings!"

Now, unlike stupid insurance companies that wonít remove erroneous charges, VISA has wised up. Itís not worth losing a high interest, paying customer for $7.80. So, they quickly agreed to remove the charges, both of them and one extra that I will probably get before the papers are processed. They apologized over and over and made excuses and even volunteered to take me off their solicitation list. List? LIST??? They have a list???

Everybody immediately call your VISA and ask to be taken off their telephone solicitation list! Do it NOW before you forget!!!

The insurance company can still be turned in to whoever regulates them. They must think Iím an idiot not to know insurance is one of the most highly regulated products there is - and this is exactly why! Shysters!!! 

All I have to do is figure out who to write the complaint to. The Insurance Commission? What is the insurance equivalent of the Federal Trade Commission? Boy, companies really hate it when they get turned in to the FTC. Iíll find out! After all, the Internet is good for a few things besides just surfing.

If you will excuse me now, I think the phone is ringing. GeeÖ I sure hope it is not a telemarketer. I really hate to hang up on them and hurt their feelings. Maybe Iíll just listen for a few minutesÖ What can that hurt?

Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss

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