Paying for something you don’t use

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Last night, a USA-based company phoned me with a vacation offer. I could stay with my family of five for 7 days in Orlando, Florida and go on a 7-day cruise to the Bahamas for only $899.

After enduring their sales pitches for many minutes, they finally asked me when I will I be going. I told them I am not going. They asked me if I thought it was a good deal. I told them I thought it was a good deal for someone who regualrly travels to Orlando or goes on crusises.

It certainly wasn’t a good deal for me. I would have had to spend $900 (not including travel expenses to get to Orlando from Lethbridge) in order to enjoy a vacation I never do. I never go to Orlando, and I never go on cruises.

It’s like going to the grocery and seeing a 1 L jar of sauerkraut on sale for only $5. If I regularly buy sauerkraut for $5 for 500 mL, then this is a good deal. If I never buy sauerkraut, then this is a terrible deal: I have to spend $5 more dollars than I would have spent otherwise.

This vacation package was the same thing. I took having a “manager” come on the phone to try closing the deal before I finally got it through their heads.

14 thoughts on “Paying for something you don’t use

  1. I probably would have said that in order to take advantage of that spectacular offer, I’d need a passport.

    Unfortunately, I’m unable to get a passport due to my many drug convictions… =)

    So I just can’t help him hit his quota today.

    It’s getting to the point that you can’t pick up your phone anymore…

  2. :)

    He was surprised to learn my travel expenses to get to Orlando would cost more (possibly three times as much) than the price of the package.

    He was even more surprised when I responded to his suggestion of diving down with the fact it would take me five days to drive there. Did he think I lived in Georgia?

  3. Call Centres. What a wonderful invention.
    Talk into the pipe. Who am I talking to? Who knows? Who cares? I make my $9.50 and hour and that’s all I care about.

    I HATE the fact that these trained monkeys know NOTHING about me but will hard-sell until I hang up.
    I get steamed just thinking about it.

    On a related note, I wish a phone company would come up with a phone plan that had very, very low costs month to month and charged the heck out of me if I used long distance. i.e. exactly opposite to the model they currently have.

    I hate the fact that I’m basically subsidizing someone else’s long distance calls on a month to month basis. Just another frustration, I guess.

  4. As soon as I know it’s a telemarketer, I hang up. You can usually tell because after you answer, there is a slight pause while the computer transfers the call to the next available scam artist. If I hear the pause and they don’t answer right after I say ‘Hello’, I’m done. My time is too precious to waste on an unwanted phone call…

    That gives me an idea regarding that monthly home teaching phone call I get…

  5. geez, guys, easy on the telemarketer’s themselves, eh?! they work for a company that gives them guidelines and trains them, and pays them to do a certain job. it’s really good money for a person with no other skills. mainly, as i understand it, telemarketers are college kids trying to scrounge money to make it. it’s not like the people calling you are doctors, lawyers, and other professionals who are trying to bother you in their free time. blame the company, not the worker!

  6. Yeah, and the German soldiers were just following orders…

    I don’t care how good it is to be an employee there.
    Telemarketing firms are fairly scum-ridden.
    If you choose to work for one of these companies, be prepared to take both barrels of my angst.

  7. Yup I am with JM.. as soon as I get that pause I hang up. I did tell one telemarketer that if they gave me their phone number I would be glad to call them at home at a time that was more convenient to me but they said they couldn’t do that. I said so then why was it ok for them to intrude on my time. I had our BC newspaper go through that same routine that you did Kim… I was determined to get through to them that I was not interested… and on and on we went on how a good deal it was and I would say but no it’s not cause I would never read the paper. I can go online and in 2 minutes read the same headlines and I don’t have to take all that paper to the recycle bun afterwards. Then they moved me to a manager and the cycle began!!! HEllo!!! What part of no did you not understand. I finally just said I am hanging up now and did.

    It’s not a good deal if you have 3 weeks worth of newspapers still rolled up with the elastic around it in the bin.

  8. I always refuse to take a survey unless I am paid up front for my time. So far I have made nothing.

    I ordered the Sunday only paper and it comes everday and I have to deal with it. Maybe I should deliver it to their door. I bet I would be arrested for littering.

    On the telephone calls, there is no law that says you must answer the phone. I have cable and it tells me who is calling on my TV so I have the ringer turned down real low.

    There must be a lot of people who buy those crusies or the company would quit selling them.

  9. Here in the states, we have a national do not call register. If you sign up for the registry, telemarketers are not allowed to call you unless they already have a business relationship with you. That is, my bank is allowed to call me to market more products. I usually tell them to stop calling me, and they do.

    But to your other question: this brought to mind something that I did about a month ago. I paid for a one-year subscription to a web-based service that is interesting and potentially useful. I haven’t used it once since. I’m past the refund period, so the money is gone. Might as well have flushed it away.

  10. Kim, I’m amazed you gave the phone travel sales guys so much of your time. Was it your impulse to teach?

  11. I had no reason not to. Besides the longer I stayed on, the more likely they were to think I would say yes. If they are going to waste my time, I might as well waste theirs.

  12. In AA, we say that no is a complete sentence.
    I just keep repeating, “no, thank you.” And they hang up.

    Sometimes, though, depending on my mood, I engage them. I ask them where they’re from, if they’re students working their way through college, what their major is, how is the weather. And we get to be friends, and they are nice when I say, “no, thanks.”

    We have a company here in Cedar that employs a lot of kids who are going to college, so I feel for them.

    This is off the subject, but the other day, I was calling Direct TV because my DVR wasn’t working and I got transferred to several different people when finally I got this guy from Utah. He kept going on about the snow problems and I argued him that we didn’t have that much snow and finally, I snapped, “could we table this argument over the weather and go on to the next step?” And he said, “well, we are both from Utah, I think we can be nice to each other?”

    And I just repeated what I said until he dropped the topic of weather and told me how to fix the DVR. It’s called parroting and it’s quite effective.

  13. I worked as a telemarketer, putting myself through college. It’s true that at the center where I worked, the employees were mostly college kids and adults with no other skills–lots of newly single moms who didn’t have much job experience.

    The nicest thing you can do to a telemarketer is to say “no thank you” and hang up the phone as soon as you know you are not interested. That way you don’t have to get worked up and they can move on to someone who may actually be interested in the product. Often times they are not allowed to hang up on a customer. They get written up for ending a call if you are still talking to them, even if it obvious that you don’t want what they are selling.

    It is really easy to forget you are dealing with a real human being when you don’t see the face. Telemarketers deserve to be treated with the same courtesy you would extend to anyone else.

  14. “Telemarketers deserve to be treated with the same courtesy you would extend to anyone else.”

    Sorry, I disagree.

    They’ve already broken the social contract by calling me unbidden at my residence; often during a meal.

    No mercy can possibly be expected from me.

    If the people working at the telemarketing firm feel bad, perhaps they should look for another job. If enough people feel this way, maybe (oh boy this is a stretch) the telemarketers will be less ubiquitous.

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