Sunday, May 22, 2011

Good advice: Hey, let's be careful out there!

Just received a memo from my, ah, personal service representative with AT&T. She’s just checking in, concerned that she hasn’t heard from me recently.

Her memo has a post-it note attached. It details all the creative and new ways she’s hoping to get me to turn over some additional cash each month. The whole scheme has a sort of golly-gee vibe about it, and I might have been inclined to smile as I chucked it into the trash except for one little problem.

The note is part of an ongoing marketing push that began with a guy knocking on my door months ago, asking for just a moment of my time, followed up with phone calls, e-mails and promotional mailers. I fear my name is on a list in a boiler room somewhere and one of the jobs of some poor slob is to make sure they contact me at least twice a week about one product or another that AT&T is pushing – most recently Uverse. Don’t have it; don’t want it!

My growing relationship with the communication conglomerate and its efforts to woo me are, sadly, only the tip of an ever expanding iceberg. The frigid floe is filled with marketing gurus and consultants; company owners and managers, all looking for their piece of the American pie; low-paid boiler room staffers and, worst of all, scam artists and crooks.

Two examples. A month or so ago Miss Wendy’s car was crunched up and we took it to a local car dealership for repairs. They did a remarkable job – good service, quick and efficient; kept us informed; solicitous and deferential. So, what’s the problem?

Over the last three weeks, I’ve received phone calls, e-mails and letters thanking me for choosing the dealership, asking me to fill out surveys, offering promotional gimmicks and incentives. The body work was free – the other guy’s insurance covered all repair costs. Routine service and maintenance is hugely expensive. I just want these people to go away but it seems now that my name is in their system I’ll be hearing from them weekly for years to come.

Much more bothersome are the weasels at the bottom of the marketing / scam iceberg I reference above. For the last two weeks I’ve received at least four calls from a number that comes up as a motel on my caller ID. When I made the mistake of actually answering the phone, the caller went immediately into script mode, calling me by name and then explaining he was with ABC Heating & Air and according to company records it was time for my pre-summer air conditioning check.

I’ve never heard of ABC Heating & Air. When I explained this to the (pick one) jerk, idiot, crook he didn’t miss a beat, saying that it had been a few years since the company had serviced my home but they were going to be in the neighborhood and could drop by just about any time. I don’t think so!

The world is moving about at the speed of light and it seems each day that some sort of new idea is born with one purpose – to separate us all from a little cash. Okay, I can now admit that this entire post was written so I could offer up one little bit of advice, echoing the words of Phil Esterhaus (photo above), the desk sergeant on Hill Street Blues. All together now. “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

No comments:

Post a Comment