At times, I end up having interesting conversations with the salesmen who try to sell credit card and other services over the phone.I have been too lazy to add my number into the Do-not-disturb registry. I should do it soon.
Anyway, the credit card ones are usually easy to handle. I just tell them I have got one which serves my purpose and do not need another one at this point in time. Most of them just say “Thank you sir, have a nice day.” and there ends the matter. But there are those who are slightly more persuasive. “But sir, our card offers you this, this and this.”. To which my reply again is “I don’t care what it provides. I don’t need one right now. And when I’ll need one, I will know how to find you.”. At this stage most of them just say “Thanks you for your time sir.” No “Have a nice day”.
However, there is this one class of salesmen/saleswomen which is a class apart. Probably they are very motivated and want to achieve their targets by any means. And they’ll try all the tricks in the book to sell something.Today I got one such call. It was a lady on the phone.
Lady: “Sir, is this Mr. Ranjal Shenoy ?”
[Wonder where they get my name from, but anyways..]
Me: “Yes it is”
Lady “Good morning sir, this is XYZ calling on behalf of PQR bank. Can I take two minutes of you time please, sir.”
[They always ask permission in the beginning. Good manners]
Me: “No. I am busy right now.” [Yeah, watching “Up in the Air”]
Lady, “But sir, it will not take long. Only two minutes. It should not be much of a problem.”
[The lady somehow feels that she knows better about how I should be spending the two minutes of my life. Better than myself!]
Me: “Well, half a minute is up already. And by the time I am done, another half will pass. If it is credit cards or home loans, let me say upfront, I am not interested in any of them.”
Lady: “Sir please listen to what we have to offer before deciding that you are not interested.”
[Wow. That sounded like my mom threatening me to listen to her lecture on why spinach is good for health before declaring, “Yuck, I won’t eat it.”]
Me: “Whatever it is, I don’t need it right now. I am quite satisfied with whatever I have. So, even if you are offering me a ticket to Ibiza, I am not interested. You can keep it. And your 1.5 minutes are over”
Lady: “But this is not just any other credit card sir. This is a life time free Platinum Card. With Credit limit of XXXXXX. And our interest rates are as low as YY.Y%. This is a once in a lifetime offer sir and we are offering this to a few customers and you are one of them.”
[Oh, so credit card it is. And the usual catch phrases “Lifetime free”, “Platinum/Gold/Silver”, “High Credit Limit”, “Low interest rate”, and in this case “Once in a lifetime offer”. I am made to feel special! As if I am a member of some elite club. ]
Me: “Look, I am very satisfied with my current credit card. I don’t spend more than ZZZZ every month and I pay my bills before the due date. So I am neither interested in the increased credit limit nor am I interested in your low charges. And regarding the once in a life time offer, I know for sure that I will get a call from another bank offering pretty much the same. So spare me that stuff please”
Lady: “But sir how can you be sure that your spending pattern is going to remain the same in the coming days? You might want to urgently purchase something expensive, say a gift, and you don’t have enough credit limit. At that time you can make use of this card. Or what if you have other commitments and are not able to pay the credit card bill in time. Won’t the reduced interest rate help you ?”
[Try to inject fear and uncertainty. What if tomorrow everything falls apart. Have you covered yourself ? Do you have a plan B ? No? Don’t worry, we’ve figured out a plan B for you.]
Me: “Ok. You make very valid points. Allow me to answer. From what I have seen, for the past four years, my spending pattern has been considerably consistent. Like I said earlier, I am a satisfied person and I don’t have a need to live beyond my means. Credit card for me is a matter of convenience which allows me the flexibility of not carrying cash around everywhere I go and at the end of the month pay everything back at just one place. I am quite certain that I don’t have the need for something which I cannot afford. So urgency doesn’t come into picture here. And suppose, if I were to purchase something, and suppose the item is terribly expensive, what’s the guarantee that the credit limit offered by your card would be sufficient ?”
Lady: “Well, it is better than what you currently have.”
[Drive home the point that the offer is better independent of your want. Trying to exploit the “For sale” mentality]
Me: “Pursing something just because it is better than what I already have, despite the fact that I have absolutely no use for it sounds like a waste of effort to me. Don’t you think so ?”
Lady: “Do you want the card or not ?”
[One final offer. Take it or Leave it. The lady has other customers to attend to. She’s not interested in my philosophy of frugal living as it won’t help her achieve her targets.]
Me: “Throughout our conversation, have I given any indication that I wanted it ?”
<Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. >
[She hung up on me! Oh, boy!]
It was an interesting conversation.