TD Bank is the world's 19th largest bank. It has 22 million customers and employs 85,000 people. I don't know how many of them work in marketing, but some of them should be, well, asked to find employment elsewhere.

I recently called TD Bank to pay a bill via EFT. I fully expected to be put on hold since that's pretty much how every company operates today, but I certainly didn't expect what's got to be the world's worst on-hold music/sales pitch.

In addition to a clattering piano and guitar, it runs from one sales pitch to another, delivered by a pair of obnoxiously pert announcers, without even the slightest break between pitches. Have a listen:

After listening to at least 15 minutes of this gibberish, I couldn't stand it any longer, so I hung up and called my local branch. When I mentioned the on-hold music, my local guy said: "OMG, they installed it on our phones system, too. Everyone hates it."

What in the name of God did TD Bank's marketing group hope to accomplish with this insanity? Did they think that customers would be amused? Entertained? Grateful for the opportunity to "learn more" about the bank's services? Give me a break.

Maybe they thought that if they made the music obnoxious enough, customers would hang up and use the website instead. Because nothing that says "great customer service" better than annoying everybody who calls your company.

Anyway, I dropped an email to TD Bank's PR group to inquire about the company's logic when it decided to commit this egregious audio assault upon the senses. They haven't gotten back to me, but I'll post their response if and when they do.

The reason I bring this up isn't just to complain (although obviously that's part of my motivation), but because I see this diseased concept of sales and marketing pop up inside companies from startups to huge enterprises.

Some marketers think the best way to get a message across is to cram down it people's throats. That's the thinking that results in SPAM, endless ads on your gas pump, junk mail, and telephone solicitors who call at dinner time.

For all the no-talent marketers and sales managers who just don't get it, here's a simple rule that even the most thick-headed business dweeb can remember: Never attempt to sell until you've been given permission to do so.

Is that really such a hard concept to grasp?