Posted by: Neeraj | October 18, 2008

The experience

Being adventurous is at most times a virtue but sometimes it can lead you to trouble. The adventurous are sucked in by the charm of the unknowing, succumbing to that wanton lust of exploring beneath the surface and beyond the obvious. The problem is that you fail to realize when you have scratched more than needed and discover places that need not be discovered in the first place.

I will term my wife a free flowing adventurous spirit too; someone who does not realize when she crosses the line and starts playing with danger. She did something which I will not forget and forgive in a hurry. She went to a shopping mall, first committing the cardinal sin of shopping (her heart out) and then (because she had shopped so much it entitled her to participate in a competition for a free gift voucher for travel to someplace in India) deciding to fill in her information and leaving it in the drop box. (Un)luckily she won.

It all started with a phone call to my wife. The lady who called belonged to the travel company which owned and marketed room nights on the concept of partial ownership for 25 years. She said that we had won a 3 day 2 night trip to a destination of our choice (out of the 10 new resorts that they had opened recently). My excited wife called me in the middle of an important meeting to tell me we had won. I did not believe her and said there must be a catch – how could God be so kind to me. I had never got something easy and how could it be different this time. I postponed the celebration to later in the evening when I got back home.

It turned out that the lady wanted both of us to come to collect the voucher. I said if we had won something where was the need to go. She could simply mail it to our address. I kept on looking for that catch and insisted on speaking to the travel lady before going for collecting the voucher. The lady called and my wife handed the phone to me. While explaining our prize she asked suspicious questions like ‘Did I drive a car’ and ‘which car did I own’. When I asked what was the reason behind her questions she told me that she was verifying whether I actually was the husband (she had this information from her previous conversation with my wife). Still, to be honest, I was not able to find a catch (except that we needed to spend an hour with them) and believing it to be the mandatory cost of getting our voucher, I decided to go.

The voice on the phone was nothing in comparison to the embodiment (of the voice off course). She asked us water thrice, took excessive interest in our daughter, wanting us to be comfortable (in the process making me hugely uncomfortable) and even had the gumption of talking personal (things like why I was so quiet on the phone etc.). I cowed and was beginning to disintegrate when she spared my life  and handed me over to the sales rep. 

The sales rep was a piece of art too. He was no less aggressive, again overtly friendly and was the questioning type too – asking me questions like which card did I use and wanting to take my exam on how much and what did I know about his company before he divulged any information. I was flabbergasted by then, not knowing where to run. I wanted to drop the idea of the gift voucher altogether, but Mama had taught me to be polite and never lose my cool. So I stayed put. My wife spared me some trouble by telling him to direct all questions to her. So he ran us through the entire (boring presentation) on how many resorts they owned and where. He had a skewed up geography – putting the resorts in Spain and England under the ones in the territory of UK. I was calculating the cost of ownership and believed it would be around 10k dollars. He said that we were under no obligation to buy but we had to give a decision then and there – a simple Yes or No. Funny character! A 10k decision immediately. This is why both of us were called together he said. The strategy was simple – Woo the wife so that she could goad the husband into paying.

30 minutes into the presentation I knew more about him then he about us. He was 1.5 months into the job, did not get any time off and was planning to leave the job. 50 minutes into the presentation I saw another couple enter. They looked professional, cut the sales rep short, refused the presentation and left by the 55th minute with the gift voucher in the husband’s hand. And since Mama had taught me to be polite we still had 5 minutes to go.

After the 1 hour, I refused him politely (with tearful eyes) while looking down at my shoes, not having the courage to look him in the eye. Finally, the predicament was over. We got our gift voucher and left wondering whether the gift was actually free. And when we sat down at home to choose the destination, it said somewhere in fine print that children below 12 were not allowed :).

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Responses

  1. Well written! These marketing people have a difficult job to do and that is what makes them an aggressive lot. Even if they are putting people off they will continue with their agenda till the time their sales pitch is not over

  2. Lucky u Neerajji, bcoz of me u have got something by sheer luck and in any case it is a good deal bcoz u have to shell out very few bucks; if u dont encash the opportunity it is your unwillingness to explore some wonderful places due to distance. The child wala clause is applied to 3 destinations only and every time we cant go to Jaipur just bcoz u r in luv with that place. Say a big thnx 2 me as I have got u this voucher n above all another topic 2 write ur blog. Hah…………….

  3. 😀 the way of portraying things is just too good.

  4. Have a good vacation 🙂

    And forgive your poor wife 😀

  5. yes the wives are always poor, and forgiving is not nipping in the bud 🙂

  6. it must be those travek clubs mahindra, conutry clubs…fortunately and unfortunately i have never won but a couple (who usaully accompanies me for shopping) always wins. they are quite seasoned, attend the presentation, steadfastly refuse offers and get their voucher. so far i have not heard them complaining about the gift.

    i hope it goes fine for you too. Have fun! 🙂

  7. Yeah, thanks. I have not used it as yet. Lets see how it goes. But I am sure with a lot at stake, the experience will be worth the while.


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