I'm not sure if I should feel guilty about it.
See, what happened was this.
A colleague (and friend) of mine was ordering a cell phone. She's not very good at English, so she often enlists my help in browsing websites and making phone calls.
I agreed, and we found a plan she liked that offers a free phone (including shipping) and a waived $36 activation fee. We were almost done with ordering it online (she didn't want any of the extra add-ons), when we ran into a box for "discount code".
Now, we know that this particular provider offers a special discount for our institution, and of course we wanted to redeem that.
So I decide to call them up, and ask if there's a special code that I can input. The salesperson on the other line told me that the institutional discount can only be redeemed after an order has been placed, so he couldn't give me a code, but he could give me the number to call to request the discount afterwards.
All right, sounds good.
Except he doesn't give me the number right away, but invited us to place our order through him.
Um, okay, why not, I figured. He probably got a commission on each sale, and if we can order the same (or a better) package, then what's there to lose except a little time?
So I go through, and tell him the plan and phone that we wanted. He confirms that the prices were the same, and the phone was still free.
He just had to offer every single add-on (that we'd already been through online), and I had to turn him down on each one.
Finally, I get to the activation fee. It's waived online, and I ask if it's also waived with him. He sounds confused, and says that he doesn't see this option. I told him, as nicely as I could, that we were very interested in waiving the activation fee, and if he can't get that for us, then I'll just go ahead and order everything online.
Here's where things got really weird.
I was expecting him to let me go, but instead, he started to argue with me.
No, he highly recommends ordering the phone through him, because he can personally place the order, and make sure that the phone arrives on time. If the order were placed online, it would not get immediate attention, and a mistake could be made. The phone delivery might get delayed, or not arrive at all!
Umm, let's just say that throughout this entire heartfelt speech, I was mentally calling BS on every single thing he said.
I was *positive* that he was getting a sales commission now.
But what about the activation fee, I ask again.
His reply? Not to worry! He'll give me the phone number to call for the discount, and when I'm calling, I can also ask to have the activation fee be waived. And speaking of the discount, I would need an order number to redeem it, and he can give that to me if he places my order.
Uh-huh, like the online website won't give me a confirmation number and e-mail with the same exact information.
I press him again about the activation fee. Is it guaranteed to be waived if I call the number he gives?
He waffles on the answer, something along the lines of, "If you can't get it waived, you can cancel the order without charge, and re-order it online". He obviously has no idea, and no way was I going through *that* trouble.
Finally, I gently tell him that I'll place the order online, so could he please stop holding the phone number hostage already.
He reluctantly relents, and sounds very, very peeved at me.
At this point, I've probably spent 20 to 30 minutes on the phone with this man. And I knew within the first 2 minutes that he couldn't help me with my original question (discount code).
And still, I was willing to order through him and have him earn a commission if he could get me the same deal as online. He couldn't, and he had the gall to spew BS at me, and be mad at me when I didn't bite?
Afterwards, I find out that the waived activation fee was only offered for ONLINE orders. Probably so that they don't have to pay salespeople like him to take orders.
All this trouble to save my friend $36.
I never trusted salespeople to begin with, and this certainly didn't help matters. I didn't *want* to cost him a commission, or even his job, but DAMN was that ANNOYING!
In other news, I lent this same friend $300 today, because I am apparently Ms. Moneybags. I do trust her to pay me back, but the amount is making me feel a little uncomfortable. She says she can return it by the end of the month, but I'll ask if she can return it before November 1st, since I don't know if my direct deposit will switch in time, and I want to be able to make rent without having to transfer money out of ING.
I ticked off a salesperson yesterday, go me!
I'm not sure if I should feel guilty about it.