Tuesday, October 20, 2009


This post was a runner-up for Post of the Week.
Thanks, Hilary!

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So there I was...

Minding my own business... Actually, to be totally honest, I was minding everybody else's business because I was reading Facebook, but I digress.

Then the phone rang.

I instantly recognized the area code and prefix as being from my alma matter, USD. We know from our caller ID that they've tried calling several times lately, and I figured I better answer the phone or they'll just keep calling. I fully expected it to be a fund-raising phone call, so I hid my wallet, put up my mental defenses, and practiced saying, "no, no thanks, not today, no, and what-part-of-no-did-you-not-understand." Then I answered the phone.

Man, the business school at USD must be doing really well... especially with that telemarketing class they're offering.

They got some young junior with a very friendly, soft, and sweet voice to call me up and flirt with me for a while. She asked why I chose to go to USD and what I liked most about going to USD. She talked about her favorite parts about going to USD. She told me about going to the Navy Birthday Ball with one of the NROTC midshipmen. She asked me about life in the Navy and what my favorite port calls have been. We talked for several minutes without even a mention of money.

I chastised myself, "Self, you were totally wrong to assume that just because USD was calling it was because they wanted money. You should be ashamed of yourself! They have clearly started a NEW program to help re-establish connections with alumni. Granted, the underlying motive in refostering the relationship and making me reminisce about my time at USD is so that they can get me to donate later, but in the meantime, it's nice to talk to a USD student and remember what life was like in college."

Just about then I let my guard down. I was enjoying talking about life at USD. The sweet young lady on the other end of the phone line must have sensed the change in my tone of voice. I shifted from my guarded no-you-can't-have-my-money tone of voice to my wasn't-being-a-college-student-awesome nostalgic voice, and she knew she had me.

Then WHAMMO! She sensed the opportunity, so she went for the jugular.

"So can USD count on your donation of $600 to support the founders' scholarship fund?"

I started coughing like I had just inhaled a tarantula. My mind quickly jolted back from nostalgia-land to the here-and-now of the present, and I quickly felt for my wallet to make sure it was still secure.

I'm sorry, what??? Did you seriously just dead-pan ask me for


[Sniff, sniff] Here I thought you weren't like all the other sweet-talking college students that call us from USD. I thought you were different. I thought we shared something special...

No, I didn't really say that. I said something more like: Ahhh, no, sorry, we just bought our plane tickets to fly home for Christmas today and I'm out of spare cash (which is true).

"Oh, okay, well how about $250 then?"

Um, no thanks.

"We can defer the payments or set up a payment plan for you."

Gee, thanks... but no thanks.

She pressed on a couple more rounds, and I finally gave in and pledged to give them SOME money (but not much).

I feel like I was just robbed by a girl scout.


Hilary said...

Wow.. that's one serious campaign. I'll bet you $600 she'll be calling back before too long. ;)

Funny story, Kevin. :)

blunoz said...

Yeah, you could totally write a case study on high-pressure sales tactics from this episode. The $600 thing was a CLASSIC case of "anchor and adjust."

Anonymous said...


Secure? said...

That's good stuff. I had several friends in college who did that job at my alma mater, Penn State. They said a decent number of people they called would just say, "let me get my wallet.." in a resigned voice.

gaelikaa said...

OMG. What blatant manipulation. I'm sorry, but after that sickener, I'd give them nothing. You're too softhearted.

Anonymous said...

The OU has been badgering me for donations since I graduated in 2005.I would if I could, but I can't, so this constant nagging only serves to make me uncomfortable.
Well done for getting a mention on Hilary;s POTW.

Gaston Studio said...

I dispise telemarketers, even when they come disguised as alumni. Congrats on POTW.

Brian Miller said...

like you swallowed a tarantula...what an apt and amazing visual. i worked in telemarketing once...sometimes i had to take two showers...congrats on the POTW!

Nancy said...

Hi, just stopping by via Hilary's blog. I loved the line about swallowing a tarantula. Man, this girl is good! I can see her as a stock broker, or working for a big bank very soon!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Stopping by from the Hilary's place. Little did we know that the place that took all our money would still want more after we were long gone. Enjoyed it and congrats on the recognition.

blunoz said...

Many thanks to Hilary for the POTW honorable mention, and thanks to each of you for stopping by and for your kind congratulations and funny comments.

Cheffie-Mom said...

I came over from Hilary's blog. Congrats on the POTW Award!! Very funny post!!