Friday, April 07, 2006

Telemarketers and Gym Memberships

As promised I've developed new techniques for dealing with telemarketers. I'm not a nice guy when you interrupt my dinner or my sleep to tell me a great way to get me out of debt, or to pay off student loans. I used to take satisfaction in just telling these people that I did not have student or credit card debt and that made them mad enough to hang up on me. Now we get home improvement loans and the usual debt consolidations and I get tired of it. Catch me on a bad day and I'll make a telemarketer cry.

The first new way I've come up with is somewhat annoying to them, but so is them calling me. What I've been doing lately is answering, upon finding out it's a sales call I'll pretend like I can't hear them. Then push a button on the phone. Doing this long enough you can actually hear their headset hit the ground. There are some that are persistant and will say "There is a problem with the connection sir." So I'll let off for a minute and say "Oh, it's fixed now," wait a few seconds, let them talk, then push and hold the button again. This is handy if you don't have an air horn by the phone (which I've found several people don't) because it's just as annoying. Usually I'll end the call by going "Man, does that noise hurt your ears? It's annoying isn't it?" I've gotten them to say "Yes sir, it does hurt my ears and is bothering me." That's when I go, "it annoys me almost as much as you calling me." It's usually a race to see who hangs up first but I usually win.

The next way put me in tears the first time I did it. We'll call it role playing. The phone rings...
Sales Caller - "Hello, we're looking for Mr. Raul Duke. Is he available?"
Me - "Tell me. What is the nature of your relationship with Mr. Duke?"
Sales Caller - "Um, I'm calling on behalf of..." you have to interrupt them here...
Me - "Save the pitch. This is Agent Smith. Mr. Duke was found dead this morning. This number showed up numerous times on his caller ID so we can't help but think you're involved somehow and we'd like to bring you in for questioning."
Sales Caller - "We don't actually know Mr."
Me - "Sir for someone that doesn't know him you seem to have called an awful lot. You could be a stalker for all we know. Are you going to come in for question quietly or do we have to take you in to custody?"
Sales Caller - "CUSTODY? Oh Dear'm so sorry to have bothered you..we really have no affiliation with Mr. Duke or his current"
Me - "So you're not going to make this easy on us then? That's okay, we've traced this call. An agent will be by to escort you out of the building shortly."
Crying, they hung up the phone. I laughed so hard I didn't know what to do with myself.

My sisters personal favorite is to answer the phone, say the guy they're asking for isn't available, and when they say "Is his wife available?" she explodes at them. "WHAT?!?!? HIS WHAT!?!?! THAT BASTARD TOLD ME HE WAS DIVORCED!!!" They usually hang up on that one too.

So there you have it, new ways to handle those pesky sales calls. I know they're doing a job, and I should probably be nicer, but why encourage them to call more? Exactly.

Last weekend we "won" a membership to a new fitness center here so we went to check it out. It wasn't bad, and it was a good deal. If we join one, that will probably be it. We decided we'd go check out their competition since we were already out. This guy took almost two hours out of my day as his goal was to get us to sign up right then. I told him up front, we just wanted to see the place and not sign anything but he didn't care. He starts talking packages and contracts and then says "Since you've had a personal trainer and haven't worked out in a year, you're going to have to get one to start out with. So let's sign you guys up for this package. All you have to do is drop $2,000 today and sign a contract for $50 a month for three years after that." Having told this guy we weren't signing up we really tried to leave and he said "Okay, I've got pull here. I can give you guys a two week free pass so if you'll fill these out I'll be right back." The pass had two blanks for names at the top and 10 spaces below where you put your name for your friends. He comes back and we haven't filled that part out. He goes "You guys don't have friends? What gives? This is the best gift you can give a friend." I finally said "Well, we just don't believe in throwing our friends under the bus. If they want to come in, they know where it is." Then he said "What if they do come in and say they know you. I'll have to say 'Man, they could have hooked you up but they wouldn't give me your name so you're gonna have to sign up to work out here.' Seriously? What's keeping you guys from signing up? It's not like investing in a house, it's much better than that. You're investing in yourself. Everybody in town wants to be a member here. What's keeping you from committing?" I know his goal is to sign people up, but he really annoyed me. It was all I could do not to go off on him, but I refrained. He got mad that we didn't sign up and was done with us. We left and seriously, if we ever join another gym, it will not be that one.

It's quitting time on Friday and I'm outta here. I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Let me guess...The Rave?? They've been everywhere trying to get people to join.
posted by Blogger Chas at 10:28 PM  
Yep, it was the Rave. We actually won the gift certificate to World Gym and they were reasonable. I liked them a lot better. The guy at the rave was your typical gym guy that would lie to say whatever he thought he needed to say to get you to join. I hated him.
posted by Blogger Raul Duke at 10:57 PM  
You know, that place is almost advertising like it's a night club or something. It seems to be less about a workout and more about the atmostphere and it being the place everyone wants to be.
posted by Blogger Chas at 3:07 PM  
Now that I think about it, it's The Rush, the Rave is that awesome movie theater in town. They do want to have more of a social atmosphere rather than a gym atmosphere. I guess that attracts a lot of people, but I could do without the social side of a gym.
posted by Blogger Raul Duke at 9:02 AM  
The Rush..that's it. My mind is a little mixed up lately :).
posted by Blogger Chas at 12:58 PM  
I can't imagine how your mind is mixed up lately. It's not like you just had a baby or something. ;)
posted by Blogger Raul Duke at 1:59 PM  
Since we've gone to cell phones I haven't had any problems with Telemarketers...but I did have someone keep calling me asking for someone that wasn't at the phone number and I told them so. yet they continued to call. Finally I asked for a manager and that got rid of them. But I will keep some of your ideas handy in case it happens again!

And The Rush does sound like some kind of night club. What the hell. I've actually been thinking about starting a gym. Doubt I'd do it, because I don't think there's much money in it, but I think it would be fun.
posted by Blogger Chris D. at 4:29 PM  
There seems to be a lot of money in gyms. I knew one of the old gym owners where I used to work and he seemed to be making pretty good money. The ones I've worked out sign you up for a three year contract, and sell your contract to a finance company so if your membership is $50 a month then you just got $1800 in your pocket. Not a bad deal if you own the place, but it seems like you'd have to have a sizeable loan or a lot of money up front.
posted by Blogger Raul Duke at 8:45 AM  

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