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« Abortion & Excommunication | Main | Clarence Thomas Update »

January 29, 2007

Comments

bill912

Then there's the other end of the spectrum: where the company representative uses your first name, assuming a familiarity that doesn't exist, which is always rude. Companies have lost my business because they declined to instruct their employees in courtesy.

Tim J.

Unfortunately, it is a common sales tactic to never give the subject a chance to say "no".

Jonathan

I find such calls annoying as well, but you could look at this one in a different light.

Perhaps the caller was simply being honest with you.

"..., and I was calling to set up an appointment."

The caller (it could be thought)could simply be honestly telling you why he was calling. He called to set up an appointment.

He's hoping you were satisfied with his service, he's hoping you want to use him again, and so he's hoping that he'll be successful, but the reason he's calling is to set up an appointment.

Viewed another way, he's saving both his and your time. By leaving the message in the way he did the ball is in your court. If you want to set up an appointment you'll call him back. If you don't want to you won't. He doesn't have to have a long conversation with you that won't lead anywhere, and neither do you.

Al Stakhanov

The above comment by Jonathan is among the more reasonable I've heard regarding phone sales.

I'm guessing he has had experience in sales and knows how difficult that job is and how hard people work at doing it right.

In fact most sales people are earthlings.

Leigh

The first-name last-name issue is a complicated one, largely because our culture is undergoing a shift from showing respect through distance to showing respect through closeness. Unfortunately, this shift is a process, not an event, so we have a situation where some people feel insulted if they are addressed by first name, and some people feel insulted if they're addressed by last name -- and there's no way to know in advance which way a given indiivdual leans on the issue. Age is an only moderately reliable guide -- although most elderly people still hold to the distance=respect paradigm, and most twenty-somethings are likely to feel that being addressed by title and surname indicates coldness, even condescention or hostility, there's a huge gray area in between where people may go either way. And trying to dodge the issue by avoiding any form of the person's name altogether can seem even more deliberately rude, as though one doesn't even respect the person's identity at all.

Kris

The problem often isn't the sales people themselves; rather, the policies they are required to operate under often disregard common courtesy. Seems like there is some responsibility on the hands of company policy makers to make sales call more considerate.

Maureen

Jimmy's correct to be unhappy. The H&R Block guy is probably following a company script, doing an honest job; but it's a _bad_ company script.

As it happens, sales calling isn't my job, but I was trained in it as part of being familiarized with our company's procedures and culture. (As everyone in our company is.) As it happens, some folks in our business do call people every year to offer them a service. And when we do, we _ask_ them if they'd like to work with us again this year.

Now, granted, you don't really want to invite a no. But you don't want to keep someone on the phone with you who doesn't want to be, either. We want people to think of us as pleasant people who help them, save them time, and make them money -- not annoyances. If somebody did have an unpleasant experience with us, we want to know -- both to save the sale, and to improve matters in the future.

The customer ultimately writes our paychecks. The customer is king. If we don't respect the customer, somebody else will -- and they'll take away our business. So while you sell, you make it obvious to people that you know they have choices (some of which don't include dealing with you) and that you respect them. If you have a good product, and you believe in that product and know why it's good, you don't have to run somebody over to get them to sign that check. They want to do it; they're pleased to do it; they know they have good reason to do it; and they'll want to do it again next year.

Our company is very good at selling. Heck, we even do consultant work to teach other people how to sell. Treating people like human beings is key.

Esau

...and I was calling to set up an appointment.


The fact is that, here, they seem to be forcing their services down the customer's throat.

I mean, how bold can one get, calling you up, assuming that you'll be using their services, expecting you to make an appointment with them.


Come on:

...and I was calling to set up an appointment.

Really?

They could've been more tactful and polite, at least, and ask you, the customer, if you were actually interested in using their services once again and, if you approve, if they could perhaps schedule an appointment with you as a repeat customer.

But, instead, what do you get:

...and I was calling to set up an appointment.

They seem to be imposing their services on the customer rather than asking the customer if he would be interested in using their services a second time.

Suzanne

I think this might be a regional tactic of H&R Block. I received no phone calls, but I did receive a postcard basically stating the same sentiments as in the bottom of your post, Jimmy. Of course, it might be that we are a bit gentler with sales tactics here in the middle of the country (Oklahoma).

Sailorette

I use H&R online-- at least theirs was a bit, ah, more polite. It just said that it had all my info from last year ready for when I needed to get my taxes done.

Josiah

Calls like the one Jimmy mentions may be annoying, but I don't see how they are dehumanizing, and it seems to me that it trivializes the term to use it in such situations.

Nor do I see how the calls amounts to forcing anything down anyone's throat. If someone has such poor sales resistence that he'll cave if a telemarketer says "I'm calling to set up an appointment" rather than "would you like to set up an appointment?" then he should probably just stop answering his phone.

Fuinseoig

Ah, Jimmy, if they did that, then you'd have the chance to say "No" and that's not the object of the exercise.

I agree it's not the fault of the salespeople; with everything being so result driven, they're obligated to use the company policy which probably says "Scare up repeat business by contacting everyone who used us last year and hasn't come back since" and stuck with a script which some consultant or other has promised will guarantee $$$$ in sales.

It's bad enough when it's an out-of-the-blue call for some service you never even heard of before but somehow, yes, it is even more irritating when it's a company you've already done business and they are trying to make you spend more money. If I want to order more widgets, I'll darn well contact them, not vice versa!

Margaret

I'm with Jimmy, although I don't know if I'd go quite as far as calling it de-humanizing.

In my book, there's a world of difference between, "Would you like to schedule..." and "I'm calling to schedule..." The first leaves the ball in my court and respects my decision-making authority. The second is just obnoxiously pushy.

John E

As far as pet peeves go, it seems like a minor itch to me. We're only as offended as we allow ourselves to be. Perhaps pity would be a better attitude: pity that they seem so desperate for return business that they don't put a little more thought into their script. Or perhaps if you liked their service last year, gratitude for the convenience of leaving a reminder and a callback number.

Now if they said, "You're appointment is at 7am Tuesday morning, please call back within 24 hours to avoid a missed appointment fee", then that's a different story.

Dr. Eric

I really hate when I can't understand the person doing the telemarketing! I don't want to appear rude, but it's hard enough to understand phone calls as it is.

If you're going to outsource your telemarketing, make sure the Indians that you use have some training in an American accent!

Kheldar

My complaint about telemarketers is not accents (although sometimes they can be hard to understand), it's background noise. If you're going to stick everyone in a big open room, and they're all making phone calls and talking loudly into their phones/headsets, at least give them some good headsets that cancel out the background noise.

I have a harder time understand the caller in situations like that than when the caller has a clear line, even with a heavy accent.

Juli

I still feel free to say No regardless of what method they use.

Some people might even look at it as an important reminder! Our reaction is internal and I think the company is within 'moral marketing' guidelines.

I have purchased flowers at a few online sites. Two of them sent me an email reminder about Valentine's Day this year. (Well, each have sent 2 so far.)

One of the companies used a personalizing method asking if I wanted to send flowers to Man X, who just happens to be my now-ex boyfriend. It caused me to do a second take, laugh, and go look at their site. My boyfriend (and hopefully more someday) will now be getting flowers as a result.

David Hart

Excuse me but I really don't see anything wrong with this. Assuming that you did like H&R last year why shouldn't they try to reschedule an appointment for this year? Should they have used your name, yes and that was a mistake. But what you are criticizing is for them to attempt a close. Now almost all salespeople are trained to close because even if a customer wants a product they have a natural reticence not to commit to anything. This is especially bad for H&R because they are a time sensitive business. Ask any tax preparer and you'll find that an enormous number of people call the tax preparer within two weeks of the April 15th deadline and want their taxes done before the deadline.

So let's say that they gave you the option not to close and you know you owe money (people who get refunds usually are anxious to get their taxes done and often initiate appointments without a sales call) why wouldn't you do it yourself. Well most people know that meeting with the tax preparer takes up time and also creates a good deal of guilt about things you didn't do (like charitable deductions). So since you are going to pay money and feel guilty, you delay the meeting.

So the tax preparer could keep letting you out setting an appointment and you could delay the inevitable. Perhaps the preparer might do this two or three times a month, taking up your time and yours and then finally you call him a week before your taxes are due, say you want an appointment and you find he can get you an appointment, say on April 18.

Also from the perspective of a former salesman I will say that it is very frustrating when you give people chances to opt out of a sales pitch, they don't buy from you and you find out later that they bought from your competitor, since he asked for the sale. It only takes one of those for you forget your qualms about closing sales. A good salesperson believes that he works for a company whose products people need. If he believes a competitor has a better product he should offer his services to the competitor.

Brian Day

Put me in the "Annoying but not dehumanizing" camp.

Now if they said, "You're appointment is at 7am Tuesday morning, please call back within 24 hours to avoid a missed appointment fee", then that's a different story.
This actually happens to me. I work where we provide special processes for the aerospace industry. One of the requirements is to be certified to NADCAP (Chemical Processing). We get audited every year. As soon as we get our re-certification, I get an email stating that next year's audit has been scheduled. (They pick an arbitrary date.)
I've talked to them about this and they claim that they do this as a "convenience" to their clients. Hah! You have to confirm or change the date within 14 days, otherwise there is a $3000 fee for re-scheduling. As if you know exactly what is going to happen 10 months into the future.


paul f

I would take issue with the definition of "upselling." I think someone has to be in the process of purchasing something to be "upsold". I think the definition of upselling as "offering a service not requested" is not specific enough and has no basis that I can see.

It's upselling when I order a medium soda at the movie theater and the cashier asks me if I want a large for only $5 more. It is not upselling when I pull into the drivethru and they ask me whether I want the new burger. It may be annoying, but it's not upselling.

SDG

When a marketer calls me, he is soliciting my kind attention, and I am considering (or not considering) his solicitation at my convenience and discretion.

Given that, he had better act like he is soliticing my kind attention. If he acts like there is some existing understanding between us and he's just calling to firm up the details, I will consider that pushy and rude, and it's going to tick me off.

And while I personally would have no trouble saying "No, you're not calling to set up an appointment" versus "No thanks," for some people -- particularly, say, some who are elderly -- to have to deal with the presumption of an appointment rather than a request for an appointment could conceivably be more stressful.

Pushy and rude.

Pseudomodo

I used ti get this all the time at McDonald's. They are trained in the art of suggestive selling. (would you like fries with that??)

In the end I just ask for a 20% discount. I am trained in this art of suggestive purchasing. Beleive it or not I actually have gotten discounts this way.

I have even asked for an employee discount. I actually AM an employee - just not an employee of thier particular organization!!

Esau

Assuming that you did like H&R last year why shouldn't they try to reschedule an appointment for this year?


David Hart:
That's just it -- there's a difference between:

1. "Would you like to see us about filing your taxes this year?"

versus:

2. "YOU WILL COME TO SEE US ABOUT FILING YOUR TAXES!"


Surely, the first one revolves around the interest of the customer and what he wants while the second one seems to make demands on the customer, dictating what they want for the customer.


The same respectively goes for:

1. "If you found our services valuable from last year, would you like to set up an appointment with us?"

versus:

2. "You filed your taxes with us last year and I'm calling to set up an appointment. (!)"


The latter is clearly rude and presumptuous.

As I mentioned earlier in my other post, the fact of the matter is that they seem to be forcing their services down the customer's throat rather than asking the customer if he would be interested in taking advantage of their services once again.

bill912

The difference between method H&R Block used with Jimmy, and the method Jimmy suggested is the difference between "You're there to serve us" and "We're here to serve you."

Josiah

I remember seeing a sit-com once where the manager of a McDonald's-type establishment insists that the cashiers say "you want fries with that?" instead of "do you want fries with that?" on the theory that dropping the "do" would increase sales. Good for a laugh, but I don't see how dropping the word "do" changes things fundamentally from "I'm here to serve you" to "you're here to serve me." Putting one option in bolded all caps doesn't do it either.

Tim J.

"But what you are criticizing is for them to attempt a close."

No, I think what Jimmy is criticizing is that they attempt a close before the customer has a chance to respond at all.

Yeah, it's a small thing, but I don't care for anyone acting as if they have made the decision FOR me and all I have to do is sign on the dotted line.

Or maybe we should incorporate this as part of the New Evangelism... "Hello, I'm from First Catholic Church, when should we schedule your Baptism?"

Esau

...Or "I'm Rabbi Diamant of am Yisrael, when should we schedule your circumcision?"

(God bless our Jewish elders!)

Esau

Better yet:

"I'm Rabbi Diamant of am Yisrael, I'm calling to schedule your circumcision." (!)

The dehumanizing aspect of this is that it is a script. Not only a script but most likely a researched one that is playing the numbers game. It's format does not actually care about Jimmy, Tom, Dick or Harry. It is only there becuase in a random sample of thousands, more people actualy made appointments (and business for H&R) than alternatives.

Joe Marier

There's also the fact that going to H&R block does not equal permission to call.

Edgar

I'm in sales. The number one rule: "be assumptive." :-) The caller was merely being assumptive. I assure you he wasn't trying to "dehumanize" you, Jimmy. Lighten up.

bill912

Is "assumptive" a synonym for "rude"?

Esau

...but I don't see how dropping the word "do" changes things fundamentally from "I'm here to serve you" to "you're here to serve me." Putting one option in bolded all caps doesn't do it either.


The difference is similar to that of:

1. "May I borrow your car?"

versus:

2. "I'M BORROWING YOUR CAR. (!)"


If you can't recognize it, the first one has the decency to ask for your permission; the second one doesn't give a darn about you or your permission and will take your car regardless of any such permission or even regard for your person in the matter.

Ken Crawford

Put me in the "annoying but not dehumanizing" camp as well. Generally I'm a telemarketing Nazi and I have said some things to solicitors that should have prompted me to pick the phone right back up and call the priest to schedule a confessional appointment. (In one instance my wife, who was in the complete other end of the house, came running to find out what I was yelling about after I asked the lady from the credit card company if the call was about my existing account and she replied with "Yes it is. We'd like to offer you a new card with blah, blah, blah.)

But in this case, I think there is enough wiggle room in the "I was calling to setup an appointment" that it's hard to make such a stark accusation. What Jimmy has the benefit of that us comboxers don't have is the tone of the caller. That may be the convincing part of the argument we don't have.

But missing that, it feels like he could have just been stating what the purpose of the call was. It was to try and setup an appointment. Sure the word try is missing but that seems like a minor gramatical issue instead of a dehumanizing issue.

Maureen

"Be assumptive", huh?

Well, you know what they say about "assume".

*shake head*

I seem to recall that our revered founder left us rules about asking for the sale, not assuming it. There's a subtle difference.

Other rules were _always_ carry several pens on you, so you'd never have to ask a client for a pen to get his signature. (Apparently there was a nightmarish pen-related incident in 1912....) Oh, and there's always good news in the paper, even if you have to go to page 14. :)

Maureen

Btw, Jimmy, while we're talking about sales... an article that you might find broadly applicable to all sorts of things, including apologetics. It's a speech by a NASA guy about Acceptable Reasons and Real Reasons.

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=23189

Michael Sullivan

What gets my goat, much more than things like this, is when you get a call and the person on the other end talks at you without pause for minutes and minutes on end, explaining every detail of their product or service and how beneficial it is for you, without giving you so much of an instant to indicate whether you are interested in hearing more, whether you're on your way out the door but would like to talk to them later, whether you have no interest at all in what they're offering, or--worst of all, whether you're even the person they called for in the first place.

I used to wait and then decline politely. Now if they talk at me for more than thirty seconds without giving me a chance to say a word, I just hang up.

Same goes if their pauses are only there so you can answer their leading questions (how old are you? are you the homeowner?).

Sailorette

"Not having a pen makes you seem unprepared, as if you don't care enough to be prepared."
All hail military training.

Gerard

There's a principle in computer security that can also apply here.

"Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity."

It may seem like the caller was merely doing what is called "suggestive selling," albeit with a script that could definitely use improvement. I don't know how justified "dehumanizing" is to describe it though. They're salesmen. That's the way the kookie krumbles.

StubbleSpark

The polite question takes more characters than the longer question. Because you received the message via text message, it may have been more of a demand of simple economics rather than stupidity or rudeness.

Still, it would rub me the wrong way.

I disagree with the assertion by Leigh (waaay near the top of this thread) that "our culture is undergoing a shift from showing respect through distance to showing respect through closeness."

This does not make sense to me. Most people would be at the very least put off by complete or relative strangers presumptuously pretending to be your friend. Becoming a friend takes time and experience (at the very least).

There is no way we could BECOME a society that shows respect through closeness because such a dynamic would make it impossible for strangers to relate politely.

Not to mention the fact that, when respect really counts (even in this supposedly changing society), you never find people using closeness to show respect. For example you never hear an E-3 call a general by his or her first name. Nor is it considered respectful for a pupil to engage in horseplay with his teacher/tutor/mentor. This is a universal dynamic in the professional world.

If respect counts, you show it by distance. No one with practical experience in leadership (teachers, for example) think that becoming the subordinate's "pal" makes for better leadership. It usually leads to a sudden collapse of order and a complete breakdown of legitimacy.

So if the world is becoming more rude, fine. There really is no need to package the decline of our civilization in such denial.

At least if we are not lying to ourselves, then we can appropriately engage the situation. At the private school where my fiance teaches, the students must stand whenever an adult enters the room. THEY will understand respect and bring that light to the next generation.

Jonathan

When I check my voice mail I'm listening for a few things:

Who is calling? (and how I get in touch with them)

Why are they calling?

Do I want/need to call them back?

The message Jimmy received gives me everything I need to answer my questions, and does so in a very succinct easy to understand manner.

It's important to remember that this was a voice mail message, this was not a conversation. This was, Hello Jimmy, here's why I called. (To set up an appointment)

I don't know Jimmy's outgoing message, but in most cases we are asking, who the caller is, and why the caller is calling. Mr. Salesman from H&R Block is answering those questions.

I find it much more annoying to ask a telemarketer, are you trying to sell me something, to hear them say no, go on talking and then try to sell me something.

We ask, why are you calling, the caller answers, I'm calling to set up an appointment. The fact of the matter is, that no mater what he says at the beginning of the phone call, he is calling to set up an appointment. That's how he makes money, that's his job.

Jimmy's voice mail asks the question, "Why are you calling?"

The salesman answers, "To set up an appointment."

It's unfair to the sales guy to assume how he would have behaved had he actually talked to Jimmy, but to me it looks like he did exactly what we ask people to do. Tell our voice mail why they're calling.

Josiah

Esau,

I can recognize the difference. You've put one of the options bolded, in all capital letters, with an exclamation point at the end. The fact that you have to exaggerate the statement so severely in order to make your point suggests to me that it is a weak one (and I mean no offense by that; I'm just not susceptible to the say-it-again-but-louder mode of argument).

SDG

Josiah,

The difference between a marketer soliciting your attention and your business vs. a marketer assuming he already has your business and is just ironing out the details is sufficiently clear and meaningful, with or without typographical effects.

The script is pushy, presumptuous and rude. That the customer is still free to say "Sorry, not interested" doesn't change that fact.

Esau

The fact that you have to exaggerate the statement so severely in order to make your point suggests to me that it is a weak one (and I mean no offense by that; I'm just not susceptible to the say-it-again-but-louder mode of argument).


Josiah:

That wasn't the point at all of my having bolded the statement.

And, by the way, just because it was bolded doesn't automatically disqualify it from being a good argument.

There were several folks who believe that the statement was, in fact, rude, presumptuous and pushy regardless of the ad hominem implied in your remarks.

Esau

...errr...regardless of whether or not I bolded the specific remarks in my post, that is.

Josiah

I remember one time when a telemarketer called me and said that he was going to send me a free subscription of the local paper for $3.95 a week (how does that work, one wonders) and that all he needed to know was whether I lived in a house or an apartment. I told him I wasn't interested, at which point he reiterated his sales pitch, ending again by asking whether I lived in a house or an apartment. Then he began to argue with me about why I didn't want the paper, refusing to take no for an answer, even after I'd told him repeatedly that I wasn't going to buy from him under any circumstances.

That was pushy, presumptuous and rude. Saying "I'm calling to set up an appointment" rather than "would you like me to set up an appointment?" doesn't strike me that way. I find the idea of telemarketers in general inherently annoying, but I don't see how it's any more annoying (let alone rude) for someone to say "I'm calling to set up an appointment."

Clearly, though, not everyone agrees with me about this, which is fine.

Tim J.

I just have a rule that don't buy anything over the phone. Ever.

Esau

I remember one time when a telemarketer called me and said that he was going to send me a free subscription of the local paper for $3.95 a week (how does that work, one wonders) and that all he needed to know was whether I lived in a house or an apartment.

That's just it, Josiah.

From what you've indicated, that telemarketer didn't have the deceny to ask whether or not you would be interested in a free subscription in the first place but, rather, pushed his services onto you (not unlike what I've been saying), asking you where you lived.

Esau

That was pushy, presumptuous and rude. Saying "I'm calling to set up an appointment" rather than "would you like me to set up an appointment?" doesn't strike me that way. I find the idea of telemarketers in general inherently annoying, but I don't see how it's any more annoying (let alone rude) for someone to say "I'm calling to set up an appointment."

Certainly, it was, as I've indicated in my prior post to you just now.

There is, in fact, a difference between annoying and rude.

Of course, all telemarketers are annoying.

However, the fact of the matter is that the representative who happen to contact Jimmy happened to not only be annoying, but rude in the manner by which he approached the customer.

Jonathan

I think some of us keep forgetting that the representative did not communicate directly with Jimmy, but rather with his voice mail.

When you make a phone call and reach a person's voice mail, you can usually safely presume that the person you are calling would like you to explain why you're calling.

I'd say it's less rude to answer the implied question with the truth than to beat around the bush, or lie.

Leah

Now I'm no fan of telemarketers, but I think the fact that the caller is leaving a message - not having a conversation - changes things a bit. After all, the ball is in Jimmy's court: he's free to call them back or not. That he has a choice is a necessary part of this situation.

I'm not arguing that it's great to get these calls necessarily, but hey - he did use their services last year, so they have reason to think he might be interested again.

Just my two cents.

Brian Day

Wow. Lots of comments on rude vs annoying. Not many comments on dehumanizing.

So is there a consensus yet on whether the message on Jimmy's answering machine is dehumanizing?
My answer is (still) no.

Jimi Hahn

This post is absurd! H&R didn't do anything to go against your "free will," they simply "assumed the sale" and left a voicemail projecting confidence in their company and the service they provided you. Yes, MAYBE you got TurboTax or MAYBE you're going somewhere else, but how are they to know that without placing a professional/confident message hoping to illicit a response.

To say a better message would have said, "We'd really like to do your taxes again this year, and I was wondering if you'd like to set up an appointment." is the most laughable sales technique I've ever heard. Who wants to do business with a company that doesn't even have enough confidence in their service/product to believe you're coming back for your next purchase?

At this point all you need to do is send an apology to all salespeople everywhere for suggesting such phone messages are dehumanizing, so would you prefer to post it on your blog, or would email work better for you?

Tim J.

"At this point all you need to do is send an apology to all salespeople everywhere..."

Wow. Talk about assertive. Is it anathema to sales folk to first find out if the people you are talking to even need or want your service?

I think the point Jimmy makes (though overstated, maybe) is that modern business practices and sales techniques DO dehumanize people. I think Chesterton would agree. To them, the guy on the other end of the line is not a person, he is a potential "sale".

Salespeople should get an apology as soon as they apologize to all of us for interrupting dinner.

Jimi Hahn

"...modern business practices and sales techniques DO dehumanize people." Statements like these remind me of pro-death politicians who accuse Christians of imposing their religious beliefs on society while, truth be told, they are actually looking to impose their own unethical beliefs on society. Why is this the case? Because while saying salespeople dehumanize their potential clients you are simply making blanket generalizations which dehumanize salespeople by assuming they don't have their client's best interest at heart. I expect better from someone who has blogged about "Hasty Generalizations" in the past.

Esau

Jimi Hahn:

I believe Tim J. was, as specifically indicated by his remarks, referring to modern business practices and sales techniques.

Tim J. wasn't making a blanket generalization on salespeople; he specifically meant that modern business practices and sales techniques which DO dehumanize people.

Jimi Hahn

Hmmm...Let's me think about this with a simple syllogism. The premise of the argument is 1. Modern business practices and sales techniques are dehumanizing. 2. Modern salespeople use them (including myself) 3. Therefore, modern salespeople are dehumanizing shisters. I'm sorry, I disagree!

Esau

Jimi Hahn:

Please take a look at exactly what you accused Tim J. of:

"Because while saying salespeople dehumanize their potential clients you are simply making blanket generalizations which dehumanize salespeople..."

Yet:

Tim J. wasn't making a blanket generalization on salespeople; he specifically meant modern business practices and sales techniques which DO dehumanize people.

Esau

Hmmm...Let's me think about this with a simple syllogism. The premise of the argument is 1. Modern business practices and sales techniques are dehumanizing. 2. Modern salespeople use them (including myself) 3. Therefore, modern salespeople are dehumanizing shisters. I'm sorry, I disagree!

You're making assumptions here -- that all salespeople use these practices and techniques.

Just because these modern business practices and sales techniques exist, which dehumanizes folks, doesn't mean that all salespeople use them.

That's like saying since Modern Catholic Biblical Scholarship like that of Raymond Brown exists, doesn't necessarily mean all modern Catholic Biblical Scholars (or even Catholics, for that matter) use/believe in it!

Esau

You're faulty reasoning is thus:

1. Modern business practices and sales techniques exist.

2. I, Jimi Hahn, am a modern salesman who uses such techniques.

3. Therefore, all modern salespeople must also use them (since I, a modern salesman, in fact, do).

Esau

Or, Jimi Hahn, your reasoning could have gone thus:

1. Modern business practices and sales techniques exist.

2. Therefore, all modern salespeople must use them.

Either way, the reasoning is flawed.

Jimi Hahn

Bottom line, saying a "slot close" is dehumanizing is absurd and as someone who uses them all day every day trying to put my clients in the best position possible, I take offense to that idea.

Esau

Corrigendum:

That's like saying since Modern Catholic Biblical Scholarship like that of Raymond Brown exists, does this necessarily mean that all Catholic Biblical Scholars (or even Catholics, for that matter) use/believe in it?

Brian

Let's take a subscription to a Catholic apologetics magazine (or anything else for that matter). I would expect to receive a "renewal notice" after I received the number of issues I paid for, which would IMPLY that I was going to renew. If I chose not to, I would disregard the notice. I wouldn't expect to have to contact the company in order to buy more magazines.

Esau

I would expect to receive a "renewal notice"

The renewal notice is the decent (polite) thing to do since, by this manner, it is, in essence, asking you if you would like to renew your subscription.

It doesn't assume that you actually want to renew your subscription. The very fact they've provided you the renewal notice speaks to this fact.

Brian

I disagree. That would be a "renewal request."

Esau

I would expect to receive a "renewal notice" after I received the number of issues I paid for, which would IMPLY that I was going to renew.

Furthermore, it doesn't make sense to me (as a subscriber myself to various periodicals) that just because I've received a number of issues, this would automatically IMPLY that I was going to renew.

Again, the existence of the renewal notice is a polite method since it is asking the subscriber if s/he wants to renew AND doesn't assume that the customer actually wants to renew the subscription.

Esau

Brian:

If the renewal notice is not actually an artifact that is asking the customer if whether s/he wants to renew, then, tell me, what is its purpose?

Is it not the case that should you not return the renewal notice, the subscription will not continue?

In other words, the sending of the renewal notice makes evident the fact that the party has not assumed you will continue your relationship with them (i.e., continue the subscription) and, therefore, via the renewal notice, is asking whether there is interest on your part to continue with the subscription.

Brian

Esau:

I was going to let this go as a agreement to disagree, but since you asked me direct questions I'll address them. Feel free to respond (as I'm sure you will) but please don't ask me anymore direct questions because I don't intend to post my opinion anymore (since it seems to have been unappreciated and de-humanized).

Answer 1. The renewal notice is a notification ("notice") that it is time to renew your subscription.

Answer 2. I agree that if you don't send it back, no more magazines will come. In the same way, if Jimmy doesn't return the phone call, they won't give him any tax services.

Elaboration 1. In my opinion, both the renewal notice and the phone call represent an attempt to continue the previously-established business relationship.

Elaboration 2. After six months, I hope my dentist calls me to set up an appointment too. If I've found someone else, I'll let him know. He doesn't need to do a sales pitch and tell me that he knows there are other options but he's had lots of training and is really smart and good at dentistry and would really appreciate my business; THAT would probably annoy me.

Esau

No prob, Brian.

I just like to dwell on minutiae, that's all.

Sailorette

Brian-- most renewal notices say "Your subscription is almost up! To prevent interruption in receiving national review, please renew at the low-low-price of 18.95 for a year!"

If rephrased like the original mention, it would be more like: "Your subscription is almost up! Send 18.95 to National Review, PO Box just-bloody-send-it."

Somehow, I'm really not surprised that there's been a huge comment/discussion on tone, implication and English-- I've had arguments on the meaning of the phrase "universal reality" for crying out loud. *cues up Henry Higgins*

Esau

Sailorette:

Thank-you for your good wisdom in the matter (and for paying attention to the minutiae)!

You are, indeed, both lady and scholar! ;^)

Esau

*cues up Henry Higgins*

By the way, you're not actually a Rex Harrison fan, are you???

Nonetheless, he was excellent in his portrayal of Prof. Henry Higgins, I must say, opposite of Hepburn's Eliza Doolittle!

Sailorette/Foxfier

Had a puppy crush on him for years, between "My Fair Lady" and "Dr. Dolittle.*" /shrug /grin I've got a weakness for that sort of gentleman-- even flawed.

* I refuse to watch the modern remakes. Fac me cocleario vomere.

bill912

I agree, Sailorette. Remakes of classics are nearly always a bad idea artistically; classics are classics for the reason that it is almost impossible to improve on them. If moviemakers want to remake old movies, they should remake bad old movies and make them as good movies.

Esau

I refuse to watch the modern remakes.

Tell me about it!

Look at the remakes of Psycho, Sabrina, Oceans Eleven, The Manchurian Candidate, The Thomas Crown Affair; they're nowhere as great as the originals.

Also, it's funny how there have been those who have tried to rename the title of the remake in order to disguise the fact that it is a remake; such as "The Perfect Murder", which was an inferior version of "Dial M for Murder".

Of course, there have also been the comedic remakes, such as "Down to Earth" which appears to be a remake of "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" and, similarly, "Mr. Deeds" which is that of "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town".

The most recent remake (or, at least, what appears to be one) I've encountered so far is the action movie "Crank" which seems to be a variation of "D.O.A.". The same can be said of "Gladiator" being that of "The Fall of the Roman Empire".

bill912

How about the two remakes of "Stagecoach", wherein two actors invited comparison between themselves and John Wayne in the movie that made him a star.?

Esau

bill912:
Thank God I didn't actually care to watch that remake! Comparing themselves with The Duke -- that's a hoot!

Marketing and promoting to previous clients is a strategy that keep companies alive. You chose us in the past and we'd like your business again, obvious. Use that time to voice a constructive opinion on why you don't prefer this service anymore instead of being upset that we've kept you in mind as a valued cutomer.

Mary

No one has to do you favors because of using your services in the past

Esau

bill912:

How about the two remakes of "Stagecoach", wherein two actors invited comparison between themselves and John Wayne in the movie that made him a star.?


Did you hear they're going to show a remake of the movie "The 300 Spartans"???

As if they didn't already produce terrible remakes of Spartacus and Alexander, they want to ruin yet another great film!

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