THANKS, BUT NO THANKS
16 February 2005
I received the card in the mail.
Well, I knew where this was heading, but I called anyway and got this very nice man on the phone.
We chatted for a long time, going over all the same information that can be gathered from the Sacred Heart Cathedral web site (the name of my school, St. Vincent's, has been dropped in favor of the larger Sacred Heart--the boys' school--and the combined "Cathedral High." I guess "St. Vincent-Sacred Heart-Cathedral" was too unwieldy a name when the two schools joined together).
He asked if I was still a theatre critic. I didn't explain what a totally NON-prestigious job that is, but said that yes I was. He told me that he was an actor and we joked about why he was making telephone calls instead of waiting on tables, like most would-be actors.
He asked about listing my kids and made the appropriate sad noises when I told him about Paul and David.
Then came the inevitable moment.
Speaking more rapidly, he described the super delux leather-bound edition that I could order for "only" two payments of $39.95 plus shipping and handling.
"So that's like more than $80 for this book, right?" I said (I always was a math whiz). Knowing how "shipping and handling" go these days, I figured that the total cost would be closer to $100 by the time that was factored in.
I told him that was entirely too much. He then told me that was OK, that if I wanted a softbound copy instead of a hardbound, that was only two payments of $35. Big deal. Except maybe shipping would be less, since it would be significantly lighter. He added that there would be a section where people were listed by career in case I wanted to do some networking.
I explained that I had no steady income, so he told me that if I wrote a check, I could post-date it and put it off for another month.
"If I don't have a regular income now, I don't know where the money will come from in a month from now," I told him. I added that my class numbered sixty people and that we were the least spirited class in the history of the school and I saw no point in paying that much money for a way to contact people who don't want to be contacted (I've actually contacted a lot of them when I volunteered to be "class reporter" for the monthly alumni magazine--I got zero return for my efforts!)
Suddenly the friendly, chatty guy I'd been laughing with got very cold and very business like, he thanked me for my time (or maybe he didn't--I don't remember), and quickly terminated the conversation.
He didn't get his sale and he was eager to move on to the next call.
I smiled at the abrupt end to the friendly tone of voice and the coldness that replaced it. I was taken back many years when we had just bought our first house.
When you are newly married and buying your first house you get all sorts of people who want to "help" you financially. A guy made an appointment to come and talk with us about insurance.
He was a very affable guy and settled in with his little briefcase to go over, in minute detail, all the benefits of his plan. This was an insurance policy which would pay off our mortage in the event of Walt's death, leaving me without that worry over my head.
The policy cost a lot of money.
He worked hard for his sale. He laid out a very emotional picture for us, and pushed hard for the necessity for this policy.
When we told him finally that we really weren't interested, he literally slammed all of his papers into his briefcase, snapped the case shut, got up, yanked the front door open, and then turned, sneered and said, "Well, all I can say to you is....stay healthy." He then stomped out the door, slamming it behind him.
Well, it's about 35 years later and we're both still here, that house is long gone, and our present house is paid off.
I wonder where he is.
I do have sympathy for salespeople. It has to be the most thankless job in the world. Everybody resents your call, even if they eventually buy your product. But I really resent it when I freely give my time to listen to their spiel--and actually consider buying their product or service, but then decide that it doesn't meet my needs--and am treated in such an angry manner. It makes my sympathy level for the next salesperson down the line much lower.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Hmmm...these sure weren't my nuns!