I can't think of anyone I know, who enjoys being pressured by a salesman. It must work, though, because the techniques are pervasive. There's the classic example of a car salesman, of course. We ran into another this week and I'm still shaking after the last round this morning. I really don't deal well with this.
We've been thinking about doing some remodelling, mostly to replace the carpet with hardwood floors, to accomodate the resident asthmatics, and because I like wood better than carpet — and our carpet is already dirty and worn after three years! I regularly get phone solicitations from builders who are "in your neighborhood, doing estimates right now." I've taken some phone numbers and gotten some flyers from them, but haven't taken much action until last week.
Last week, we went to a flooring store and started looking at the hardwood samples, and getting things set up for an estimate. That's still ongoing. In the mean time, one of the phone salesmen called me, so I set up an appointment. This was at about 9AM and by noon, there was a representative in my home.
It took him a little while to find my place, though. He called me at least three times trying to find a parking place on the property (there aren't any, because of some construction.) Then he couldn't find my home. My address ends in an even number — he calls and tells me that he can see the odd numbered units, one higher and one lower than mine. Hmmm... do you think that I might be across the street? I had to go out and find him, which wasn't a good introduction.
Don was personable at first, and was complimentary about some of the things around the house. He also tried the "don't I know you?" routine. Not likely, son.
As I said, the main project is replacing the carpeting, but I've been toying with the idea of remodeling the kitchen — the current setup is from 1973 and really needs some work. So the first thing he latches on to, of course, is the kitchen remodel, despite my repeating that if the kitchen doesn't get done, I'm fine, but the floors must be done. His one justification for this is the idea that if we do the floors first, then the kitchen work may damage them. True, but that can be mitigated pretty well, unless his crew plans on dropping everything that they're carrying into the house.
This was already making me uncomfortable, but I decided to play along. He made some good suggestions about what we could do with the kitchen area, so that was nice.
Then things turn not-so-nice. Out comes the calculator. Beep-beep-be-beep. $39K for the kitchen ("it should be $49K but I'm being nice...".) Waaaaay out of what I wanted to spend. He may be right, and that's what new kitchens cost, but he also dismissed the idea of getting other estimates. That's a real danger sign! "Why would you want to do that?" is his question. Well, because it's a really good idea? He's having none of that. We go back and forth, several times, but it seems like I'm not being heard. He treats my "thank you, I'm not making a decision today" as some kind of negotiating tactic. He recalculates things. He throws in the flooring for $15K, which is a bit below cost (well, not really, because I ran the costs on an online construction estimator and came up with about that number.) He offers to encapsulate the cottage-cheese (asbstos) ceilings. Then that offer comes off the table. Then it's back, but only the kitchen. Free painting. Not free painting. New lighting in an area that I didn't want changed.
Aaarrrrggggghhhhhh! All through this, I keep repeating, "I'm not making a decision today, thank you." Then we go off into financing (since the amount is high for my budget.) I don't want to finance and will drop the kitchen project because of that. More pounding on the calculator. "Only $50 dollars more a month!" he says. "Thank you, but I don't want to go into more debt than I already am." More back-and-forth on this topic.
I finally get him headed for the door. In part, because I pointed out that my SO (who lives here) wasn't present and needs to be involved. "When will she be available?" (Umm, never?) We call his scheduler to have him call us in the evening (after 6:30) to set up another appointment. Out the door he goes and I try to calm down.
That afternoon, my SO is home while I'm taking the boys to piano lessons. I haven't told her much about this, since I was upset and we didn't have time to talk on the phone. Of course, the scheduler calls at 4:30, trying to set up an appointment for the same day! More pressure to get it done now! She tells him "we'll call you when we're ready" and got him off the phone. When I got home, we talked and decided that "when" was probably going to be "never" with these people. Certainly if they pushed any more, that's what it would be.
Which takes us to this morning. The phone rings (the wrong one, despite my giving them the corrected number.) It's the scheduler/inside sales guy Mike, calling despite the don't-call-us. So I tell him that because of the pressure we weren't going with his company. "But Don said you were really excited" (yeah, excited like I'm going to have a stroke — ever see someone with the beginnings of an anxiety attack?) I point out that Mike had talked to my SO and been given the don't-call-us. Since he chose to ignore our wishes, he wasn't going to get the business. I then said "thank you" (not meaning it) and hung up. I'm not giving them any more opportunities.
It's sad, though, because I've got another contractor coming for an estimate this morning. He's going to be working under a cloud, just because of what his competitor did. I'm already getting tense over this, and it isn't fun. All I want is for someone to listen to me, and to give me a written estimate (did I mention that Don didn't write anything down?) I want three of these, so that I can feel secure that I've looked broadly enough. And, I want to be able to evaluate them without a salesman present. Is that too much to ask for?
Update: The second contractor is here — 15 minutes early! Not a good sign, as far as I'm concerned.