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November/December 2002

 

Field of Vision
     from the editor

Ring, Ring ...

by Penny Beverage

One night, as I was eating a tasty dinner of Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes, my phone rang. Assuming it was a nightly telemarketer, noting my caller I.D.’s description of “Out of Area,” I first thought I would ignore it. However, something told me to pick it up—and as soon as I heard who was on the other end, I was glad I had.

“Hello, this is XXX Auto Glass, and we were wondering if you had any windshields to be repaired or replaced,” said the voice on the other end. (For the purposes of privacy I’ll refer to the shop as XXX Auto Glass.)

“Actually, I do. My windshield has been cracked for several months,” I answered, intrigued by this friendly voice. (For those of you who read the last issue, yes, it’s still broken. So is one of the others I mentioned.)

“Really? How big of a crack? We’d be glad to set that up,” she answered.

“Well, it only needs to be repaired, not replaced. It’s very small,” I said.

“OK, we can set that up right away,” she answered, “Where do you live?”

“In Spotsylvania, Va.,” I answered, “but I work in Stafford, Va. Where did you say you were calling from? And where are you located?”

The friendly telemarketer was not big on supplying information, but was very big on obtaining it, I ascertained.

“We’re located in Maryland, but let me see if we have any shops in Spotsylvania,” she said. After a short pause, she followed up with, “No, we don’t, but we can come down there.”

“Wait,” I said, “I am not here much, so could you do the repair in Stafford?”

“Yes, that can be arranged,” said the friendly voice. “We’ll go ahead and set it up for tomorrow morning. Who’s your insurance company?”

I answered her question, but then followed up with another question. “What if I change my mind? Where can I reach you to cancel this?”

“Well, actually, you can’t reach us, but our technician can call you before he comes down to confirm it,” she answered. “So, what’s your policy number?”

At this point, I was becoming more suspicious than intrigued, so I told her I’d just wait on the repair. Again, she pressed, “But you can schedule it and just cancel it when he calls you.”

“But can’t I call you back once I’ve made my mind up?,” I asked.

The lady on the other end then told me something garbled about how my number just popped up in their system and might not come up again for awhile, so I really should take advantage of the opportunity right then, and there was really no way I could call into the shop because its computer system was down. 

“Well, thank you for calling,” I said, “but I really do think I’ll wait. Good night!”

The next morning I talked to my publisher and it turns out telemarketing is pretty common among some auto glass shops.

Is telemarketing common in your area, or have you ever tried it personally? Please let me know. I’m working on a feature on this topic—telemarketing—for the next issue and would love to hear your ideas and stories about past experiences.

Talk to you soon.

 



Penny Beverage is the editor of AGRR magazine.

 

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