Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sales pitch

I gathered a new appreciation for quality salesmanship today. A guy nearly bullied me into buying a totally pointless water filtration system. You know the kind that home owners are supposed to get because tap water is apparently killing people left, right and center?

He came to my door, which I answered foolishly thinking that it could be the real estate. He then said that he heard that I had some complaints about our water, which I did. One evening recently a neighboring construction site apparently dumped a bit of clay or something into the water - which cleared up promptly and caused no problems. That is my hypothesis at least. Anyway, he must have heard this story from the neighbor. He asked if I knew what happened. Of course I said no, although I had a few hypotheses, none of which involved millions of people suffering from low quality tap water in Australia. At this point I held out hope that maybe he was a city council worker door knocking to explain the situation with the construction. But then the catalog came out. Urghh.

"I'll tell you why" he said. He told me all about the deadly chemicals in my water - chlorine, arsenic, chloroform, something mumbled that sounded hideously dangerous, and *gasp* even bacteria. Bacteria! In my water! Good heavens no! I'm surprised that he didn't mention fluorine. He proceeded to tell me all about what their filters do. It turns out that it doesn't just purify water, it adds trace minerals to make you healthier. You mean, just like tap water? I didn't say that although I wanted to. His barrage was just so fast that I was left there: standing at the door completely dumbfounded. I must have looked like the usual sucker because he kept going on with this shtick for several minutes with me just standing there wide eyed. Truth is, he was selling such blatant rubbish I couldn't believe my own eyes! For only $27 something or other a month (for the first month, and then $40 after that) he would sell me a filter that:
  1. Either does nothing at all, or
  2. Modifies the tap water in a way that is completely untested, undocumented and unregulated
I'll stick with tap water thanks. Worse yet, to even qualify for the filter you must:
  1. show three points of ID, and
  2. show that you have been living at the premises for at least a month, and
  3. you have to sign some piece of paper on the spot before they make you
  4. put in an application to get the filter, presumably so they can check your credit rating.
  5. Only then can you get it installed.
Can you take away the brochure and study for yourself? Nope, they take that with them. Contact details? Just a phone number. Any journal references? Fat chance. Company name? Didn't even get that bit of info.

Finally, with a not at all subtle look of "do you really want to hurt your family" on his face he asked why I wasn't interested in the offer. I wanted to say "because I'm a physics major and I know how to do some research," or even just "I have some common sense," or "I don't think that the government, for all its faults, is in the business of making the voters and tax payers sick." But I didn't say any of those things. I was too dumbfounded. I just said "I'm not interested."

Oh yeah, and his best line was: "[with our water filter] You'll feel 80% better, because the human body is 80% water."

Well, I've been avoiding this

for 133 days apparently. The simple reason is that
  1. I stopped from posting temporarily, for a very good reason, and
  2. I felt like I had to explain that reason
I won't. So, I'm back, picking up more or less where I've left off with the inane chatter and observations. My apologies to the two (maybe three?) people who read this somewhat regularly.