Scams and "Special" Offers

“Jason, we've got a really amazing present for you. A genuine cubic zirconium tennis bracelet, perfect for showing your beautiful girlfriend just how much you love her.”
“Um... I'm married.”
“Not to worry, Jason, my friend. This beautiful faux gold, genuine CZ bracelet will sweep the love of your life off her feet, and its yours completely free- just for the insignificant sum to cover shipping and handling, $999.99”
“That's ok, I'm really not looking for something for my wife. She doesn't even wear jewelry, and $999.99 is just a little bit steep.”
“Hold on a second, Jason... (hushed mumblings) I just spoke to my supervisor, and he told me that since you're call number 35149 today, you're eligible for a discount in shipping- you'll only be charged $578.99. If you don't like it, just give us a ring and we'll send a courier to your home with a cash refund and he will relieve you of the jewelry and you won't even need to pay for postage.”
“Ma'am, I told you that I'm not interested in this piece, no matter how much the discount. My wife doesn't wear jewelry and I don't have any secret lovers on the side to whom to pass on this bracelet.”
“Jason, would I try to trick you into taking something you didn't want? Its just that I care about you and wouldn't want you to miss out on this amazing bargain merely because you have no personal need for it. Why, you're getting a really valuable piece of jewelry. If your wife won't wear it, I've heard this piece can fetch a high price on the international market; pieces of its ilk have been sold for as high as 10 dollars on eBay!
“Because I wouldn't want you to miss out on the deal of a lifetime, I'll make this free gift to you even better- I'll throw in a Barbie set of your choice, free of even shipping charges.”

Eventually you just get so sick of them and want to get them off the phone, so you just acquiesce and accept this “free” gift, emptying your pocket of hundreds in exchange for a dollar store trinket.
(Based on a true occurrence.)

Moral of the story? If you want to save yourself the aggravation and cost of these “bargain of a lifetime telemarketers”, don't even begin the conversation. Once you start talking, if you're polite you'll hear them out, they'll never give up, and you'll just end up accepting the “offer” to get them to shut up already and leave you alone.

When they call and try to be chummy with you by calling you by your first name, take a step back, call them on it and say “Ma'am, I have no clue who you are nor do I have any desire to do so. I don't appreciate you calling me by name, Sir or Ma'am will do, and I'm especially not interested in anything you have to offer me, no matter how good it sounds, so you can just save your breath. I am going to end this conversation now and you can either hang up first or I'll hang up anyhow. Have a good day. Bye.”

What was the worst special offer you've ever received? Have you actually received a special offer via the telephone that actually ended up being worthwhile?
How do you let telemarketers know not to mess with you?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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