‘Seinfeld’ Inspired A Law In New Jersey That Limits Telemarketers

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Seinfeld has a way of seeping back into the real world that it was commenting on, but it’s not every day it turns into a piece of legislation.

If you have a Seinfeld moment in real life, it’s usually something inconsequential. Like, one time I asked my girlfriend to get a chocolate babka from Trader Joe’s. They were out of them, so she got a cinnamon one.

Cinnamon: the lesser babka (actually, it was better than the chocolate one).

The point is this: Seinfeld moments don’t inspire bills too frequently.

This week, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a piece of legislation into law that requires telemarketers to provide the contact info of whoever they’re working for within 30 seconds of calling someone.

Gee. Where could this idea have come from?

A Classic Seinfeld Scene Inspired A Law

It came from the Season 4 episode “The Pitch.”

In one scene, Jerry gets a call from a telemarketer but he quickly turns the table on him. The studio audience ate that one up. It even got an applause break.

In case you’re in a waiting room and can’t play that video but still want to relive the moment, I’ve gotcha, pal:

Telemarketer: Hi, would you be interested in switching over to TMI long-distance service?
Jerry: Oh, gee, I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number, and I’ll call you later?
Telemarketer: Uh, well I’m sorry, we’re not allowed to do that.
Jerry: Oh, I guess you don’t want people calling you at home.
Telemarketer: No.
Jerry: Well, now you know how I feel.

Gov. Murphy acknowledged the show’s influence in a statement after signing the bill into law.

“The famous ‘Seinfeld’ scene where Jerry is irritated that telemarketers can call at any time, under any pretense, and without any kind of guidelines or consequences, makes light of a situation many New Jerseyans face every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” he said.

One of the bills sponsors (and probably a big Seinfeld guy) Republican State Senator Jon Bramnick, said people have a right to know who’s calling them.

“When you answer a telemarketer’s call, you should know right up front who they are and who they work for,” Bramnick said in a statement, per NBC New York. “If they’re on the up and up, telemarketing firms should have no issue with this bill.”

Wonderful. Now, if politicians could pass a bill that punishes close-talkers, that would be very much appreciated.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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