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This modern world

January 15, 2012

I know I’m not exactly the first to complain about this, but this modern world is so stressful! Everything has to happen right away.

My husband and I were out shopping yesterday, when we were stopped by a young volunteer carrying a Unicef balloon. Now I, as a matter of principle, don’t like to talk to any representative who stops me in the street, regardless of whether they are salesmen or fundraisers or propagandists or whatnot. However, my husband stayed, so I had to stay too. Yes, we’ve heard of Unicef. Yes, they’re doing good work. Could we maybe have a flyer to bring home? The young volunteer replied that unfortunately not, they don’t give out flyers or brochures any more to cut down on waste, but we could look at one. So we did, and then she wanted us to sign up for donating a monthly sum of money. (See, that’s why I don’t talk to representatives. They always want something from me.) My husband told her that we’re in the process of restructuring our donations, but we will keep Unicef in mind when doing that.
-Please, why won’t you sign up right now? she replied. People forget us five minutes after leaving!

-If that is so, my husband later said privately to me, then why don’t they give out flyers any more?

The incident reminded me of another, much older, from before I met my husband. My then insurance company called me one day and asked if I would like to add another insurance to my package – life insurance, I think it was. I asked a few questions, and liked what I heard.
-Sounds interesting, I said. I think I’ll take it. Just give me a few days to think it over, and if I decide I want it, I will call your company back.
I thought the sales rep would be pleased by this. On the contrary, he almost got a panic.
-No! That’s not possible! You have to decide NOW!
-Ok, then I don’t want it. Goodbye!

I have later concluded that the most plausible reason for this puzzling behaviour (which ultimately cost the company a sale) is that if I had signed up there and then on the phone, it would have counted towards his sales goal. Whereas, had I called back on my own later, the sale couldn’t have been traced to him.

The young volunteer yesterday is more difficult to explain. I’m certain she’s not paid for the people she can persuade to sign up. But maybe different teams of volunteers are having a competition, and the team that signs up people for the most money gets showered in glory at the local Unicef meeting?

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