Anyone who owns a television has seen them. An overly excited and loud salesman touting a product that will revolutionize your life, and at a ridiculously low price. They are called “Infomercials.” When one invades my television screen I always turn the channel. But during this particular Christmas holiday I found myself a little more interested. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was mumbling the words, “That looks kind of cool.” My third mistake was jotting down the 1-800 number flashing at the bottom of the screen. And my fourth, and by far, worst mistake was actually calling the number.
The product being sold did everything short of taking my dog for a walk. But his offer didn’t end there. No siree! “And if you think that’s fantastic, just wait!” the excited seller yells with a pointed finger, his excitement level climbing to a point I think he’s about to have an orgasm, “We are now offering twice the product for the same price! Just pay the extra shipping and handling charges.” Of course the added shipping and handling charges equals the cost of having it delivered by way of the space shuttle. But it’s too late. I’ve been sucked in.
“Wow,” I thought as I began sniffing the bait he put out.
“But there is still more!”
You have got to be kidding!
“And we’ll even throw in this extra at no additional cost!”
I quickly scribbled down the 1-800 number and called. I had taken the bait and the hook was about to be set.
A male voice answered with a foreign dialect so strong it’s barely understandable. And compounding the problem, it was an automated recording! I couldn’t even politely ask “Pardon?” After ten minutes of repeating what I ordered, with my octave level gradually climbing, I finally made my order understood. They now knew what I wanted. Of course that seems rather ironic. Why else would I be calling? Are there people out there who call for no other reason but to talk to a telemarketer on the other side of the world? “I understand,” the recording finally responded. I collapsed in my chair while smoothing down what hair I hadn’t pulled out. He asked for my credit card number, which I gave him. I had taken the bait and the hook had been set. But finally, my order was in. I’m done….WRONG!
“But,” the recording continued, “for just X amount of dollars more you can purchase as many as you would like of the product you just ordered. Just pay the extra shipping and handling charges.” No, I’m not opening a retail outlet. And no, I don’t care to be forced to tap my IRA account to pay the accumulating shipping and handling charges. I just need one for my home. But then the offer quickly switched to products that had nothing to do whatsoever with what I just ordered. And, of course, the sales pitch for each was almost as long as the original infomercial I had just watched. And I do not have the choice to cut it short, so I wait for its end. I say, “no.” Then the recording advances to the next, and the next. Each time I say, “no.” Of course, during this question and answer, they throw in a couple, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your answer. Please repeat.” I want so badly to hang up, but I’ve already given them my credit card number.
“You didn’t understand my answer?” I gasped in disbelief. “I don’t understand why you’re offering a bunch of crap I don’t give a rip about! And what part of “NO” is so hard to understand?”
Of course I’m putting on this tirade knowing perfectly well I’m talking to a recording. And, of course, my improper response only brings back, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your answer. Please repeat.”
By then my octave level had reached a point that my next door neighbors were nervously looking out their windows while standing next to a phone in case a quick 911 call was required. All they were waiting for was the sounds of gun shots. Forty-five minutes into the call the phone had permanently attached itself to my ear. By the fifteenth offer I was so mentally broke down that I was willing to buy whatever they offered, not to mention pay the airfare to have the operator’s first born male flown from his third-world country to my home, sponsor him, and send one-third of my earnings back to his family. All I was begging for was to please send me what I originally ordered and hang the hell up!
Putting salt in the wound, a couple of weeks later I was strolling through the mall and noticed a store, “As Seen On TV.” I walked in and there proudly displayed for all the world to see, was the very item that may have taken countless years off my life while purchasing it over the phone, and without shipping and handling charges, I might add. Sigh!