Sprint pitchman laments life in corporate America

Commentary: Paul Marcarelli, best known as Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now?" pitchman, says American companies make employees feel dispensable.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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It's hard work, tolerating corporate America.

Sprint/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's easy to think that those who peddle products on TV don't have feelings.

Who could imagine they experience doubt or fear?

They smile on camera, tell you to buy a certain product and try to burrow their way into human hearts as they do.

Yet one of the most famous tech pitchmen of all, Paul Marcarelli, wants you to know his soul can be tortured.

He's best remembered as the man who uttered "Can You Hear Me Now?" for Verizon more often than anyone could have ever conceived.

Now, he pitches for Sprint. Which some might say is a little like going from, oh, the Baltimore Ravens to the Cleveland Browns.

Still, Marcarelli just gave a pulsating interview to Wealth Simple, in which he described the insecurity of the phone pitch.

Oddly, for someone who's likely made a lot of money out of corporate America, he doesn't seem much of a fan.

He described his troubled feelings every year, wondering whether Verizon would renew his contract. It made him form some deep feelings about life in corporate America's employ.

"Corporate America benefits from making you feel your role with them is utterly dispensable," he said. 

That's a feeling so many have surely experienced. You can be in the wrong place, at the wrong time and be disliked by the wrong person. Suddenly, you're gone.

Marcarelli went into more detail about how corporate America preys on human insecurity, in his view.

"How else can they manage to get salaried workers to stay at the office until midnight and be within phone's reach on weekends and holidays and during funerals and weddings and vacations without any additional compensation!?" he mused.

Warming to his cause, he added: "That shit's illegal in France! A boss calls you on vacation, you can call the cops."

That's not quite how it works in France. There's a certain negotiation as to when workers agree to be contacted and when not.

Marcarelli said that the other side of his pitching was that "the work is well-paid, but you may be surprised to know that it's actually a lot of work."

Some people may, indeed, be surprised.

The Sprint man said that the job takes him away from friends and "I never know where I'm going to be from one week to the next, year after year."

I pause for communal sniffling, while I whisper that Sprint declined to comment.

Still, we all know that an employee's insecurity will never stop. Why, what will happen if Sprint and T-Mobile finally consummate their perennial flirting?

How many employees might lose their jobs?

I wonder, too, whether the new ad campaign for the merged firm could bear a stand-up act of Marcarelli and T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

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