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I am an easy mark. My wife seems to think that I have little or no sales resistance. Children will come to my front door selling things and I will buy from them.
I give loose change to strangers, and I believe most sob stories.
I was quietly wasting time at my computer, when my phone rang.
"Hi. is this Bill Eagle?" Asked a woman's voice.
"It is," I replied.
"Hi, I'm (the lady gave me a name) you might remember my husband. He was in your Army unit."
I responded. "Of course I remember him. He was a great soldier. It was a pleasure serving with him."
"He's in Iraq; it's his second tour."
I answered: "So is my son."
We spent some time discussing where they were. Her husband was north of Baghdad and my son was south.
Finally, the lady got down to business.
"I am in a contest. I am hoping to win a trip to Aruba. I need to give 4 more talks on nutrition. Would you be willing to listen to me? I'm not trying to sell you anything, (yeah sure) but I think you will find what I have to share very interesting."
I know that I should have been sophisticated enough to see a direct marketing sales pitch when it was given, but I let it slip.
"Do you have some time free?"
We settled on a day.
I told my wife about the telephone call, and what transpired. She was quick to point out that the lady was trying to sell us something.
I agreed with her, and told her that I would probably buy whatever it was that she was selling. "After all," said I. "The ladies husband used to be one of my soldiers, and he is in Iraq." (Is this good logic or what?)
A few days latter, my wife and I sat down with the lady at a restaurant. She gave us a great talk on nutrition. She discussed antioxidants and free radicals.
"Free radicals cause awful things to happen to your body. They cause you to age and give you cancer…"
I sure didn't want any of those radicals free in my body. She showed me pictures of oxygen atoms and how free radicals could wreak havoc with people, (that's scary stuff).
She then explained how antioxidants can protect us all from free radicals. She said that the best way to get antioxidants was from eating lots of fruit.
"Yeah, you won't get constipated if you eat lots of fruit," I gushed.
My wife groaned.
The lady continued: "Some fruits that are very high in antioxidants are Mangosteen, Goji Berry, Noni fruit, Sea Buckthorn, Acai, Ginseng, Acerola…" she rattled off a number of exotic names.
"Sometimes it's very hard to get the right kinds of fruit, and that's why you really need to try our antioxidant formula," said the lady.
She offered both my wife and I a small glass of a deep purple like substance. "It is very important that you take this as a liquid in order to get the full benefit."
I tasted it and tried not to make a face.
My wife made gagging sounds.
"Good huh?" Smiled the lady…
"It seems to have sort of an after taste," said my tactful wife.
"That's the ground grape seed. Grape seed is the nutrient rich part of the grape and contains amazing antioxidant properties."
"How much?" asked I.
"Oh I have so much more to show you…" smiled the lady
"How much?" I pulled out my check book.
"Oh no!" Said the lady. "I don't want any money from you. We will call you later."
I asked again "How much does it cost?"
"A month supply is $99. I would also like to enroll you as an agent for the company. This way you will be able buy at a discount. You also will be able to earn money whenever you introduce a new person to good health."
The lady paused and then continued. "If you can get people to sell our product then you will earn an additional commission."
"Oh!" I remarked "It's a pyramid scheme."
"Oh no!" Said a shocked lady. "I have been assured that this isn't a pyramid scheme."
"Okay, I'll buy a months supply." (My wife gave me a nasty look).
"I will call you later," smiled the lady.
I explained to my wife that I was doing this because she was the wife of one of my soldiers, "…and, who knows, maybe this stuff might actually work."
The lady called the following week. She discussed my order, and mentioned that I would have some minor shipping fees and a small one-time charge to set up my account. She assured me that because of my decision I would be able to enjoy a long happy life with ample antioxidants and good health.
A few days later UPS was at my door with a package filled with antioxidants.
I looked at my credit card bill. The minor shipping charges and minor set up fees boosted my discount order from $99 to $179.77.
I thought it might be wise for me not to show the bill to my wife.
I poured a glass of the wonderful nectar.
It tasted gross.
"Claudia, have you tried this stuff?"
My wife declined.
She did offer to try and doctor up my dose with Orange juice. The end result was that instead downing three ounces of bad taste, I got to drink eight.
I am an easy mark. My wife will tell you that I just can't resist a sales pitch.
By the way, I just got a telephone call from a friend of a friend who seems to think that I could do real well if I invested in a toll bridge.
What do you think?