Thursday, September 22, 2005

What a deal!

When we moved into our house, we bought our appliances from a scratch-and-dent place. People send brand new appliances back because they don't want a little ding in the door. For overlooking a few minor blemishes, we got an excellent bargain on some high-end appliances.

Shortly after we moved in, we got a phone call from the Rain Soft people, who wanted to come out and "test our water for free". Of course, they also hoped to sell us a Water Conditioning System, consisting of a glorified water softener and an under-sink reverse osmosis unit. Out of curiosity, we invited them to come out.

Our salesman (let's call him Kevin) showed up at the appointed hour and tested our water, which is so hard that I think it genuinely surprised even him. (I could see him preparing to act surprised, but not quite so soon.) Then he did everything in his power to sell us an overpriced, overblown Water Conditioning System. He grew indignant every time we called it a water softener, offered to finance the inflated price at a whopping 18%, threw in a year's supply of supposedly free soap, and assured us that the deal had to be done that evening.

Sensing pressure sales tactics, Scott and I abandoned Kevin in the kitchen and high-tailed it upstairs on the pretense of wanting to discuss it privately. We proceeded to do some quick online research. We found plenty of unhappy customers ranting about the Rain Soft business practices and service, and we decided not to purchase anything from them.

We headed back downstairs and set about sending Kevin on his way. After we assured him repeatedly that we definitely had no plans to buy the water conditioning system, he tried instead to sell us some comparison shopping service. He demonstrated by calling the service from his cell phone, explaining that we could do the same in a store, right in front of the salesman. He looked at the model number and asked them to quote our refrigerator. New, our refrigerator would have cost perhaps $1300 with those options. Kevin's shopping service quoted us $1100.

Kevin closed his cell phone and asked triumphantly, "So, how much did you pay for this refrigerator?"

We smiled and replied, "$550."

Deflated, Kevin finally made for the door.


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