The Hard Sell

Cincinnati Bell is aggressively pushing its FiOptics service, which promises to give cable a run for its money. To pay for stringing all that fiber up and down our street, they sent out Dave (not his real name, but I’ll call him that, since Dave’s not here, man). Dave shows up Monday evening and proceeds to talk Nita’s ear off. His sales pitch involves talking really, really fast. It also involves copious amounts of badmouthing the neighbors. Nita is not happy. It’s 90 degrees at 7 PM. She’s sunburned. AJ is out of town, which is giving her the empty nest blues. Yours truly is at class. And the power’s been out for about an hour at this point. When Dave won’t shut up or take no for an answer, Nita goes blonde, giggles, and says, “Oh, my husband handles these things.” “Going blonde” is option 1. Option 2 involves the Louisville Slugger in the closet near the front door.

Night 2. Dave shows up, during dinner no less. It’s my turn to listen to Dave’s pitch. Dave runs down the rate (which is impressive) and the features. I’ll be honest. I never really paid attention to Time Warner’s speed. I boot my computer, and stuff loads fast. That’s all I care about. That, and I have Palladia on HD and HBO. On demand. In the meantime, Dave is acting as though I’ve already said yes. I simply answer him with “Yeah. Uh-huh. Sure. OK.” Dave talks at a mile a minute and just needs my information to get started. OK. I’ll bite. What information?

Email. Social Security number.


Email I could care less about. Gmail, Yahoo, all have spam filters. It’s nothing I can’t handle. My social?


My employer has that. My creditors and bank have that. My doctor has that. The government generated that. Dave? Sure, Dave. May I have one of your credit card numbers, the security code on the back, the expiration date, and, while you’re at it, your mother’s maiden name?

So I ask Dave about the specs. He assures me that I am not getting this performance out of my cable hookup. “By the way, sir, if you don’t mind my asking. What do you do for a living?”

“I am a web developer who doubles as a network administrator.”

“Oh. So you already know. Right?”

“Let me ask the authority.”


“My son. The gamer.

“Oh! He’s a gamer? He’ll love it!”

“Then you won’t mind if I ask him about it.”

I go and consult with AJ, who, in fact, setup our new router not more than an hour before Dave interrupted dinner. I rattle off the specs. AJ is not impressed. I go back to tell Dave we’re taking a pass.


Dave’s hard sell has ceased to amuse me. “We’re done here.”

“Why? Help me out.”

“I said we’re done, Dave. Good night.” I close the door. As I do, I hear Dave yell. “God!

Well, that certainly changed my mind.



2 thoughts on “The Hard Sell

  1. I have Verizon FiOS, which I expect is the same thing, and I love it. On the other hand, I would have thrown out that salesman, too. Sales guys never seem to understand, if you’re selling a good product to an intelligent prospect, just lay it out for him, show him what you got. The harder they push, the more I wonder what it is they’re not telling me and are hoping I won’t ask.

  2. I do not like Cincinnati Bell. We had some problems with them when my husband was sick and before he passed away in 2001. Now that my parents have had to go into a nursing home, I had their phone service disconnected at their old house and paid the final bill. But they won’t set a phone up for them in their room at the nursing home. They’ve hung up on me twice when I tried to get this done. I’m done with them (but I would like my mom and dad to have a land-line because using my old cell phone isn’t working for them).

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