It doesn’t matter where I go, if I’m outdoors and see people hovering trying to sign people up for charity direct debits, or Jehovah’s Witnesses looking to spread the word, or people trying to part me from my cash in aid of disadvantaged gerbils, I inexplicably always catch their eye.
Then follows a conversation whereby they try their hardest to extract cash from me with tales of sorrow and woe, and I tell them I know they’re on commission, how much does the charity actually see of the money, and that they’re wasting their time.
I’ve adjusted my approach over the years.
Now if I catch their eye, without breaking stride, I mouth the words, “No” and “Pointless.”
Seems to work.
The other day, someone from Powergen (the energy company) knocked on my door.
Him: “Sorry to bother you Sir. I’m working on behalf of Powergen, and am here to tell you how I can reduce your energy bills.”
Me: “By how much?”
Fully aware he couldn’t tell me this without knowing how much I was already paying.
Him: (without skipping a beat.) “15%”
Me: “That’s quite impressive considering you don’t know how much my bills are now. Have you got any literature with these amazing prices on them?”
Him: “Er, no. We can send you the literature after you sign up.”
Me: “That’s no good to me after I’ve already signed up.”
Him: “If you write down your name and address we can send you our literature.”
Me: “Hmmmm. Why didn’t you bring it with you?”
Him: “It not something we do.”
Him (probably aware his commission was slipping away): “Because we normally send our brochure afterwards.”
Me: “So you expect me to take you at your word about these amazing prices, sign up with your company who I’ve seen on TV on BBC Watchdog* and read the brochure afterward?”
Me: “And that’s why I’m not interested in anything further you’ve got to say. Goodbye.”
I’m not even going to point out the moral of this story…..
PS: To the Powergen company lawyers: I forgot to add the word *allegedly.
I’m sure your “sales staff” don’t tell lies to members of the public to drum up business.
And I’m sure your company has always conducted itself in an ethical manner, and doesn’t sign up customers under false pretences.
Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All rights reserved.