No, I Don’t Want Fries With That And Stop Asking


Recently, I received an email from the ops director at my office telling me he had gotten a call from a bank verifying my employment prior to final approval on mortgage closing.  While I appreciated him telling me this, and the bank’s diligence in making sure they only approve qualified borrowers, I was profoundly alarmed because I HAD NOT APPLIED FOR A MORTGAGE!  While the ops director placed some calls to our home office to find out more, I frantically hit the internet to get access to my credit report.  I wasn’t eligible for a free one from the government since it had been less than twelve months since I’d pulled a copy in advance of actually applying for a mortgage on my house.  So, I went to a commercial site – you know it, it has a shaggy haired guy with a guitar singing in it’s commercials – and started typing in my info so I could get my sweating hands on my report and see what damage an identity thief had done.

In the middle of all this, my ops director called back and told me another employee with the same first name and last initial as me had been the one applying for the mortgage and I should calm down.

Oh.  Ok then.

I thought I aborted the process of buying a credit report but apparently I didn’t because the charge for it showed up on my next bank statement.  Ok.  That’s cool.  I did buy it, I guess, and it’s fine.  Then the following month, another charge from shaggy-singing-guy-credit-report-site showed up on my bank statement.  I was not amused.  I called them right up and discovered that I had unwittingly enrolled in a credit monitoring plan that I was going to have to pay for every month.  Needless to say, I didn’t want this service and decided to cancel it.  That’s where things got stupid.  Let me recreate the conversation:

Me: I’d like to cancel this service because I ordered it by mistake and don’t want it.

Lady on the Phone: OK, we can do that.  Now the service you have is The Suck Your Money Out Of Your Wallet monitoring service.  Do you know what it does?

Me: No, and I don’t really care.  I ordered it by mistake and want to cancel it.

LOTP: I’m sorry to hear that.  Now, the Suck Money Out Of Your Wallet service gives…

Me: Ma’am? Ma’am! MA’AM!  I don’t want this service.  I won’t use it and I’m on a tight budget and can’t afford it so please just cancel it. I ordered it by mistake and never wanted it. Please don’t try to sell it to me.

LOTP: Are you sure you’d like to cancel it?  It will be open until June so if you decide not to cancel it you can call us back and we’ll happily suck more money out of your wallet. And we’ll be keeping the money we already sucked out of your wallet.*

She finally canceled it for me but acted like she was doing me a favor by no longer sucking money out of my wallet for an unwanted service.

And I ask you, when did it become the rule that every conversation with a commercial entity turn into a sales pitch?

Look, I know that making money is the American way and that direct pitches for products and services result in making money but it’s gotten out of control.  Seriously, can’t a retail establishment be satisfied with the money I’m spending right at that very moment as I ring up my goods at the register and not start shoving a credit application down my throat in anticipation that I will spend more money at a later time?  Truth be told, I’m less inclined to come back and spend money at stores where I have to defend my decision NOT to apply for a credit card despite the oh-so-enticing 10% discount I’d get for doing so. I threatened to stop shopping at the grocery store that wanted to help me bring my bags to the car.  If that’s how I react to store that try to help me, how do you think I’m going to react to stores that try to make me poorer?  Jeez.

It’s especially bad with any kind of telephone transaction.  I tried to talk my cable company recently to gain access to the online bill-pay site and had to cut the tech support person off mid-sentence so get her to stop trying to sell me a digital phone service. The words “No thanks” did not dissuade her from launching into her scripted spiel and I was reduced to actually begging “Please! Don’t try to sell me anything!  Just let me get to my account so I can pay you the money I already owe you!”

I think my objection to this stems from the tacit assumption that businesses are making that I’m too stupid to know what I do or do not want to buy.  It’s like they have decided that even if I think I don’t want something, they know that I really do and they’ll talk at me until I concede and shove money in their faces.  They’re so sure of their position that even the words “No thank you” are not weapon enough to stop their infernal sales force from telling me all about their amazing new product or service.

The limit was reached when a representative from the phone company knocked on my door at dinner time to try and convince me that I needed their entire package of phone cable and internet services.  The guy got mad at me when I told him that I was too busy talking on the phone with my parents and feeding my toddler to listen to his pitch for a product that I didn’t want, didn’t need, and never asked about.

How did he figure I was the rude one in that transaction? Have I missed an etiquette class?  Am I part of the vanguard of the New Rude in my refusal to have my intelligence insulted and time wasted by people who want to take my money from me? If that’s the case, then fine.  I’m rude.  I suck and I’m probably un-American for not wanting to throw my heard-earned money at any minimum wage employee who can read a scripted pitch. I will embrace that label.

I think the only solution to all of this is to buy an airhorn to blast into the phone any time a service call turns into a marketing meeting and I find myself on the receiving end of an unstoppable sales message. It probably won’t stop Big Business America from trying to get me to part ways with my paycheck, but it will make me feel better. And that’s what really counts.

* That last part is, if not exactly made up, a  shorter, hopefully funnier, synopsis of all the disclaimers she gave me upon finally canceling the plan I never wanted.

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24 comments for “No, I Don’t Want Fries With That And Stop Asking

  1. May 26, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Ugh, I know exactly what you mean. It’s like the Free Yellow Pages – which are entirely a scam, but when they call and I’m like, not interested, they’re always incredibly rude and refuse to stop telling me it’s free and I already have it. It’s gotten to the point where I just hang up immediately, which makes me feel bad, but there’s just no persuading people anymore!

  2. May 26, 2010 at 9:26 am

    It’s definitely as if adding “thank you” to “no” triggers some kind of switch – THAT MEANS THEY WANT ME TO KEEP TALKING/SELLING.

    Is corporate America trying to make this country rude? Is that the deal?

  3. May 26, 2010 at 9:27 am

    That happened to me when I got a new credit card for my wedding stuff. I told the woman three times I wasn’t interested in the assurance or whatever plan. When she continued her script I said you really need to stop. At which point she told me not to be rude and hung up on me. Yeah, I so cancelled that card.

    I’m planning on purchasing an airhorn today!

  4. Mae
    May 26, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I’ve learned that the customer service reps (especially phone reps) are required to ask those questions a certain number of times unless you tell them no and specifically tell them to not ask you again. It’s that last part that’s key, telling them that they may not ask you again. They’re monitored very closely and if they don’t ask the required number of times they can and often do get fired. And of course that’s all based on stats and companies tracking how many times they need to ask those questions before the average person gives in.

    But man, that’s a crappy practice and I also wish it would just go away.

  5. May 26, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I’m pretty sure that’s why I screen all my calls from unknown numbers. I also hang up on a lot of people. I understand that they’re doing they’re jobs, but they can do them on other people. I have no patience at all for people trying to sell me something.

  6. anthrogrrl
    May 26, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I am always firm but polite with telephone folks. I know that what Mae says is true, and my time spent working for a customer service call center gives me some empathy for those folks, even if I wasn’t forced to pitch products to people when they called in.

    However, door to door is another thing entirely. I’m still polite, but I get rid of them as quick as I can. When I was working from home here in Utah, I got so many people coming to my door during the day to sell fruit or cleaners or magazines that I actually had to put up a no soliciting sign at my door!

  7. May 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I know this is small potatoes… but Sonic is the worst.

    I like to go there like once a week for their “happy hour” and get a large diet vanilla coke. I hate that they always ask “would you like some tater tots to go with that? no? cheddr peppers? no? corn dog?

    I mean, freakin a- man, I just want my diet coke.

  8. May 26, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I ignore any call that comes up as “unknown caller”, “private caller” or best yet “unavailable 1-800-000-000”. I am rude and I know it. When I was young I worked as a telemarketer and it stunk. I do have some empathy for them. I am well aware they are paid by the call and are forced to read their script around your objections until you say “the magic words”. Still even knowing all of that it annoys me to NO end and I get frustrated and end up being not as polite as I would like. My husband? FORGET IT! If you call and get him you’re asking for it!

  9. thenextmartha
    May 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I want to tell all the home service sellers that the owner they want no longer lives here. My windows are fine.

  10. May 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    I agree. It’s frustrating. And even more frustrating, I’m sure, for the people who are forced to say those things to you in order to keep their jobs. I hate it for them but yeah… knock it off, corporate America!

  11. KLZ
    May 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    If they can’t pronounce my last name I just ignore them. Immediately. I tell them they’ve got the wrong number.

    My last name being what it is, that gets me out of quite a lot.

  12. May 26, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Folks who call the house (or show up at the front door) need to get over being rejected.

    But be nice to the kid who offers you fries; I guarantee you his employment is in Jeopardy if he forgets. He doesn’t want to ask you one of the most depressing questions you can be obligated to ask 500+ times per day anymore than you want to be asked, so just say “No thanks!” and be glad you’re not that poor sucker.

  13. May 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Every morning the Caribou lady in the drive through asks me if I want the dang heart attack sandwich with my latte.

    Um, no.

    How about a bakery item?

    NO!

    And they describe it all delicious when you secretly know it can’t be – “Want a farm-fresh daybreaker sandwich?” “How about a warm fresh cranberry orange scone or french toast muffin?”

    Its annoying!

    I don’t get calls for stuff much any more because we are on the do not call list and I renewed it not too long ago – that is the little trick you know…you are only registered on the Do Not Call list for seven years or so.

    https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx

  14. May 26, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Actually, we take a tip from this Russian family we sponsored when I was younger. Always answer the phone in a different language. If it’s a telemarketer, they hang up. If it’s your family, they think you’re weird. Either way, a win-win.

  15. May 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Margaret-

    I don’t blame the boy asking all those things at all. I think its ridiculous that the company makes him do that. Like their suggestion is suddenly going to make me order tots. It just bothers me.

  16. May 26, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I am incredulous at the amount of nerve they have.

    They think nothing of calling at 10 pm on a sunday night and going on and on.

    I never would be able to do that.

  17. May 27, 2010 at 6:21 am

    What’s really bad Rebekah is that you thought you stopped the transaction, yet they still charged you. How infuriating! Keep checking your statements – I wouldn’t be surprised if you get charged again.

  18. May 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I’m with you all the way. I don’t even answer the phone or door anymore to people I don’t know (unless they look hurt or something) because everyone has a racket. It’s crazy. Even the cops call asking for donations and give you a hard time when you say no. They say, “Are you sure you can’t just give $5?” WTF????? I already said I don’t want to give you any money. Now you’re going to guilt trip me about it!!!???

    PS My sister just had her identity stolen by a professional and it has been awful. I’m glad it didn’t happen to you after all.

  19. May 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    PS I forgot to mention that I found you through KLZ and am your newest devoted blog slave. Big hearts all around.

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