My wife’s point of view is sometimes rather one-sided. She squeals like a stuck piggy if someone takes advantage of her, but has absolutely no qualms about taking advantage of someone else. Well, I should be a little more specific. She has no qualms about taking advantage of a company, any company putting on a seminar that offers a free gift. All that is required is the attendance of both the husband and wife, and a meeting with one of their representatives. I hate them, and throw a fit every time she signs us up for one. But does that stop her? You have to be kidding….
“Guess what!” Maxine excitedly said with a clap of her hands.
Oh Lord, I hate it when she says that. Especially when it’s the first words out of her mouth when I walk in the door. With every fibre of my being I managed a smile. “I can’t wait. Please tell me.”
I already knew what my reply was going to be before she had finished, but I patiently waited. And then it was my turn. “No way,” I shot back, “we are not doing that again! How many time do we have–”
“Pleeeeeeaaaaasssse!” she interrupted with hands locked in prayer. “They’ll give us a free two-week cruise to Hawaii”…or a free deluxe microwave…or a free 70 inch HD television…or a….Okay, you get my drift. Bottom line is each seminar offers what seems to be a mind-boggling free gift. Of course whatever they’re offering only requires a large portion of our life savings, and a pint of blood from our first-born.
“Besides,” she added, “because I thought you’d be excited, I already signed us up.” Wow, and I actually thought that all my past screaming tirades did such a fine job of hiding my excitement. Silly me!
Needless to say, after two or three pitty trips thrown at me, I reluctantly gave in. Women are so sneaky that way!
I don’t care if her sister had been kidnapped, put on the slave market, and is now up for sale, Maxine has no intention whatsoever of buying anything. Once the sales pitch is over and they ask for our response, her naive smile instantly changes to a stone-cold stare. “We’re not interested right now but maybe next time so please give us our gift and we’ll be on our way.” I know that’s a run-in of sentences. But that is just about how mechanized her response is after the salesperson finishes his or her “can’t miss” spiel. And I am embarrassed to tears. Unlike my wife, I have a conscience, even if it is for someone who would not hesitate in putting us into financial ruin in exchange for his or her fat bonus check.
During the entire sales pitch, which usually lasts just a little longer than a life time, I am squirming in my chair while my wife has a smile spread across her face absolutely oozing over with enthusiasm. In fact there were times I would look across at her, and would be amazed at how she could show such an attentive look while I knew perfectly well she couldn’t give a rip less about what was being said. I would even go so far as to say, if an Academy Award was given for the best performance by a lady playing the role of an innocent lamb being led to the slaughter, my wife would win hands-down.
Of course the ocean cruise to Hawaii always turns out to be a 10th class suite…Oh, is there an 11th class suite? Okay, an 11th class suite which is deep within the bowels of the ship and one thin wall away from the boiler room employees’ toilets and showers, and just across the hall from the chicken and pigs. Or a microwave that is just big enough to hold a cup of soup. Or a television that, because of an advertising error in printing, was not actually measured in inches, but rather micrometers. But that’s okay. As far as the wife is concerned, they were free, and that’s all that matters.
Well, a couple of years ago I came up with a plan that I was sure would bring all of this nonsense to a screaming halt. The instant the salesman finished his spiel I blurted out, “We’ll take it! You want a check or credit.”
I was almost sure I heard Maxine’s jaw hit the table. “Wha…What?!”
The salesman’s reaction was just about as surprised. He dropped his pen three times just trying to hand it to me. “Just…just sign here. Now, do…do you want the life time plan or the pay by the year plan? If you take the life time plan the pint of blood from your first-born isn’t required.”
“Waiiiii–” Maxine stammered through her advanced stages of shock.
“Give us the best you got,” I replied. “Cost is no object.”
After signing the papers and listening to a few of Maxine’s half sentences, we walked away. Before she had a chance to climb out of her shell-shocked coma and begin her tirade, I looked at her with a pointed finger. “Okay, now you’re going to cancel this…whatever it is I bought. And if you drag my sorry ass to another one of these things, I’ll buy what they’re selling too!”
And her response was a moment that will live in infamy. A weak, “Okay.”
I am proud to say that since I put my foot down we have only attended…three other seminars. Sigh!