God bless the poor salesperson who ends up with me on the other end of the line when they are making their sales calls. I’m probably one of the most obnoxiously practical people in the world when it comes to deflecting the “hard sell” and that’s not just when I’m running low on resources.
This afternoon, I responded to a call from my Alma Mater asking me to please, please, please contact them to update my alumni information. It was of the utmost importance, so, of course, I set aside a few minutes to make the call. It went a little something like this:
Alma – Thank you so much for calling, we’re going to go through and review the information we have on file for you and make sure that what we have is correct.
Me – Okay. Sounds good.
Alma – And while I have you on the phone, I wanted to let you know that we are working on our exclusive Alumni (insert extra special branding information here) Yearbook. We’ll be including student from every background, every degree program, etc. We have you listed as having completed the Master’s program in Religion and the Graduate Certificate program in Pastoral Counseling, is that correct?
Me – Yes, that’s right.
Alma – Well, I would like to commend you for putting in so much work on your degree programs. That is very impressive.
Me – Thank you.
Alma – (Lots of confirmation of information that I had provided already. A few gratuitous compliments. Some idle chit-chat).
Me – (More canned answers, abrupt utterances of confirmation, and simple pronouncements of agreement).
That was the wind-up, now here’s the pitch…
Alma – So, we have this wonderful hardback book with pictures of our lovely campus and listings of your classmates. We’ve not compiled a book like this in over 100 years (estimation, as I wasn’t really paying attention) and this book will make a lovely addition to your home library. We’re also including the digital version, a sweatshirt, t-shirt, and a garment bag with our exclusive logo.
Me – I see.
Alma – And we will be getting back to you within a week or so to make sure you don’t have any changes to the information you have given us. In the meantime, I don’t want you to miss out on this offer. We can set it up for you to receive all of these great items, along with the book for just two payments of $169.99. How would you like to pay for that today?
Me – Well, Alma, I don’t think that I can really justify spending this amount today. I’m on a limited income and I really need to use wisdom here.
Alma – No worries. I completely understand. Some have decided not to include the garment bag and that will take about $100 off of the price. You would only need to make two payments of just $119.99. Would that work for you?
Me – Well, Alma, I really don’t think so. As I said, I’m on a limited budget and I really can’t justify buying these things at this time.
Alma – I totally understand. I would hate for you to miss out on this once in a lifetime offer. You could just order the book without the additional keepsakes. It would include the digital and the hardback copy for just two payments of $59.99. How would that be?
Me – (Thinking I’d sooner buy the sweatshirt than the book) Well, Alma, you see I just don’t think so. I kind of like having that $59.99 for groceries and I don’t think my daughter and I can eat the book.
Alma – (Laughs nervously) Oh, bless your heart. I understand. We are also offering access to the digital copy which would cover ten years of graduates up to your graduation year for just two payments of $29.99. Would that be an option?
Me – As much as I’d like to throw you a bone here, I simply cannot do so in good conscience. I would, however, love to offer you a position as a commission-only sales representative for my publishing company if I ever have the ability to do so. Your tenacity is impressive.
Alma – (Again, the nervous laughter) Oh, well. Thank you. I’ll send you an e-mail with all of this information and you can order at some point later when things are better for you. You have a great day!
Me – (To the dial tone) Thanks so much and God bless.
I have to give her credit, she kept right on going even when I made it clear that I just didn’t have the money to spend on something like this. I’m always baffled by the determination of some of these sales types. I’ve never had the moxy to persevere toward the hard sell in the manner that she did. And I wasn’t trying to make her feel bad, not that I think I could have, but you would think that when someone says to you that they are on a limited budget that you might back off just a tad. After all, the request I received wasn’t indicative of a sales invitation. I sincerely thought that my beloved Alma Mater might actually want to know what I’m up to since I spent so much money there as a student. Silly me. Ever the romantic.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
Proverbs 4:6 NIV