Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Enticing Fools with Readily "Free" Complimentary Gifts

I got a call yesterday from a caller who didn't even know who she was calling. It went like this :-
Caller : "Hello, 013-2040XXX".
Me : "Yes, this is 013-2040XXX"
Caller : "Oh Cik, maaflah mengganggu, saya Dayang dari XYZ Marketing, boleh saya tahu dengan siapa saya bercakap?" (Oh Sir, sorry for disturbing you, I'm Dayang from XYZ Marketing, may I know with whom am I speaking with?)
Me : "Aip, macam mana you call tapi tak tahu siapa you panggil?" (Funny, how is that you're calling someone you don't even know whom?)
Caller : "Oh, your number is in our database and we just make calls randomly."
Me : "Oh I see. I'm Jasni. So how can I help you?"
Caller : "Begini Cik, kami ini adalah sebuah syarikat pemasaran yang baru memperkenalkan beberapa produk baru dalam pasaran. Kami inginlah menjemput Cik ke pejabat kami untuk satu sesi pengenalan untuk selama 45 minit sahaja. Cik tak perlu risau, Cik cuma datang, dengar presentation kami, kalau Cik berminat untuk melibatkan diri dalam memasarkan produk kami itu, Cik boleh sertai, kalau tak, Cik boleh sahaja berikan maklumbalas terhadap produk kami itu. Untuk masa Encik, kami akan memberikan tiket penerbangan dalam negeri untuk dua orang." (It's like this Sir, we are a marketing company who had just introduced a number of new products into the market. We would like to invite you over to our office for an introductory session for just 45 minutes. You don't have to worry, you just come, listen to our presentation, and if you're interested to participate in the marketing of our products, you can join us, if not, you can always give us your feedbacks on our products. And for your time, we will give you domestic flight tickets for two.)
Me : "Malaslah nak dengar presentation-presentation ni,last-last kena beli tu beli ni." (Aaah, I really don't fancy attending all these presentation sessions, we would end up being forced to buy this, to buy that.)
Caller : "Tak Cik, kami tak paksa orang. Percayalah. Paling tidakpun Cik dapat flight tickets percuma. Cik tak rugi apa-apa." (No Sir, we don't force anyone. Trust me. At least you'll get free filght tickets. You have nothing to lose.)
Me : "Emmm, betul tak paksa-paksa orang. Duduk dengar 45 minit I dapat 2 tiket free?" (Emmm, are you really sure that you won't pester me to do anything. All I need to do is listen to your presentation for 45 minutes and I'll get 2 free tickets?)
Caller : "Ya betul. Tak tipu punya. Cik datang ajelah. Cik boleh datang esok?" (No, this is not a trick. Just come over. Can you come tomorrow?)
Me : "Mmmm, pukul berapa you nak I datang?" (Mmmm, at what time you want me to be there?)
Caller : "Cik habis kerja pukul berapa?" (At what time do you finish work?)
Me : "5 suku" (Quarter after 5)
Caller : "Pukul 6 boleh sampai sini?" (Can you be here at around 6?)
Me : "Where exactly is your office?"
Caller : "Kami kat Wisma Central, sebelah KLCC" (We're at Wisma Central, besides KLCC)
Me : "Mmmm, dekat aje tu, make it 5.30 ajelah. 45 minutes aje kan?" (Mmmm, it's quite near, make it at 5.30 then. It's only for 45 minutes right?)
Caller : "Ya, 45 minit. Confirm ye Cik" (Yes, it's only for 45 minutes. You're confirming right.)
Me : "Ye lah, see you tomorrow" (Okay, I'll see you tomorrow)
Caller : "Okay, esok saya call lagi remind Cik ye" (Okay, I'll call you tomorrow to remind.)
Me : "Okay."
Caller : "Bye"
Me : "Bye"

So there goes the dialogue, no element of any obligations, purely on free will, but on top of all, there's a reward for just sparing 45 minutes of our time with them. Juat as what said by the caller, "what's there to lose?". Nothing at all.

So today, as she had said yesterday, she called me again to remind of our appointment this evening. In fact, she called twice. Once in the morning and second, just before 5. When she called at 5, it was raining outside so I told her that I might not be able to make it. But she said, "Datanglah Cik. Office kami depan stesyen LRT aje, keluar stesyen, lintas jalan, sampai. Datang tau. Lambat sikit pun tak apa. Pukul 6 boleh sampai? (Please come Sir. Our office is just in front of the LRT station, when you get out of the station, just cross the road, and you'll be here. You have to be here, okay. Never mind if you're bit late. Can you be here at 6?) "Okay, okaylah, I'll be there", me giving in.

So right after office, while it was still raining, (luckily not that heavy), I dashed out the ofice, crossed the street, got into the LRT, reached the KLCC station, dashed out to the street, crossed it and there I was at the office at 5.45.

Introduced myself at the counter. The receptionist gave me a form to fill and after a few minutes my host came over and took me upstairs for he presentation session.

She asked why I was there, was it simply for the free tickets or do I want to know more of their marketing plan. Well, I guess by now you must already know why I was there right, it's for the free tickets! But of course, I can't be telling her that. So I said, "Well, I'm here to listen to your presentation for 45 minutes and by the end of the presentation, I'm collecting my free flight tickets."

"Oh, yes, you'll get your free tickets but are you opened for ideas that could top up your income. Additional income that you can use for holidays etc etc. When was the last time you had your holiday?", she asked.

"Well, we just came back from Bangkok last month. And we have vacations at least once every year.", I responded.

"Where else have you been?", asked her more. "Mmmm, well, we've been places, Jakarta, KK, Kuching to name a few.", I said.

"You must have spent quite a sum for your holidays in Bangkok. How much did you spend?" she asked protrudedly. "Well, we did spend, but it was not that much actually. Why, you want to go there?" I asked.

"No, just asking. I don't think I can afford to get there. It must be expensive there right?" she asked again.

"Well, not really. Don't go to luxury hotels, pick the medium ones, after all we're there to see places, not staying just at the hotel. At most we would only be spending the nights in the hotel, during day time we'll be out hopping from one place to the other.

The conversation continues on a casual basis for perhaps the first 15 minutes. After that we started talking about the various marketing models available in town. She asked whether I know anything about direct selling stuff. Of course I know, I told her. I have joined Cosway and recently Uptrend. Well, joining these schemes not for the money really but just to satisfy my own curiosity on the workability of both schemes.

"Have you been making lots of money from the schemes?", she asked. "He, he, not a single sen!", I said sheepishly. "Nothing wrong with the schemes, but I just did not do my part of the bargain. I did not look for downlines. I simply joined and left it there, just like that." I said in trying to explain why I "failed" in the schemes.

"What is your problem? Is it dfficult to find downlines?" she asked further. "Well, I think this kind of business doesn't fit everyone. I for one is really not suited for this. To invite someone over for some "business" is simply the most difficult thing for me to do.", I said.

"There you are, this type of business structure is doomed to fail because looking for downlines is really a pain in the arse! And that's why our marketing plan fits you perfectly. With us, you just make a certain initial "investment", from time to time buy the products for your own consumption but leave everything else to us. We will look for your downline. All you do is collect your cheque every month, amount depending on how much your "investment" is." she said convincingly.

She proceeded with the explanation on the structure of the marketing plan, really attractive I would say but then she's talking about big money! Minimum "investment" is some RM 25,000 with a guaranteed income of about RM 5,000 a month. Meaning the pay back period is just about 5 months. After 5 months, it's pure income all the way till eternity.

Wow, what a splendid marketing plan. But where am I going fork out RM 25,000. Looking at me I guess she might have known that I might not be able to participate in such a "big" way. "But don't worry, let me call up my Manager and perhaps he can work out something for you.", said the host.

Wah, a second chance. I thought there might be some sort of an easy payment scheme. How else could have they been successfull in getting ordinary folks like taxi drivers and school teachers participating in this scheme. Are everyone else have tons of money except me?

Then came the Manager. He explained about the various schemes available and after several times of reducing the "investment" price, came up with the last & best offer of the day, RM7,500 for three "lots".

A cooling 10 day period is given but in order to lock the deal, a deposit is to be given, amount subject to each discretion. RM1,000 was mentioned, much to my surprise. If I failed to pay up the balance within the 10 days period, the deposit will be forfeited.

I offered a deposit of RM100 to give me time to really think hard about this new business opportunity. They accepted and started to prepare the receipt.

While preparing the receipt, the Manager proudly gave me the "flight tickets" as promised earlier. It was not really flight tickets but merely a "voucher" stating our entitlement for a ONE WAY domestic flight ticket for two. Reading the terms and conditions, the voucher stated that booking for the flight must be made three months in advance and the voucher excludes airport taxes and other related charges. I asked what are these "other related charges". "Are these in reference to fuel surcharges and admin fee normally charged by Air Asia?", I asked. The Manager said, "Yes".

To my horror and shock, I suddenly felt being fooled at the very first instance. "What! You're giving me free tickets that I can get them for free as well from Air Asia! Just what are you giving me? You're giving me nothing! This voucher is absolutely nothing!", I retorted.

All sorts of things came to mind at that very instance. They wanted me to part with RM7,500 and tricking me into believing that I'm getting some special incentive just for being there but it is all nothing but just a trick, a trick, a trick, a trick.

I snatched back my RM 100, and said "Sorry, I'm not going to be part of this nonsense. Good Night."

So that was how I spent my precious two hours today, RM100 almost gone, RM7,400 to go within the next 10 days and given a worthless paper disguised as a special gift (of which was thrown back to them!).

The host and the manager just kept quiet and let me go unhindered. I guess they do not want to create a scene as there were other potential "fools" to be tricked as well in the hall at that time.

I might be the "fool" here for destroying my chance of making continuos money from such a "small" investment but how can I trust them if from the very beginning they are playing tricks on me.

I have been getting free seats from Air Asia several times. All I need to do is to book online and pay the relevant fees, without the need to be "intimidated" though done rather graciously and professionally. (Why I said "intimidated", well they said that even taxi drivers can join, what more you. We're talking about pride here, you know (if there is any, that is))

Well guys, there are sharks out there. Just be careful. Don't be so gullible to decide on an investment of a lifetime all within 45 minutes (or dragged 2 hours). If the scheme is really good enough, we should have been given the opportunity to ponder, calculate, assess and then decide.

One thing for sure, never fall trap to this free air tickets any more. It's all pure trick - a trick and nothing more than a trick.

"Hidup RPK"

Jasni AJ


JDM Bukit Rimau said...

Interesting article. A very good lesson to everyone. At least now, I know what to do if I receive that type of call. Free konon.....

But, the most interesting part of your article is " Hidup RPK".

~ RPK : another legend in making

AZRA said...

Jasni, all these buggers always have something up their sleeves. I really hate those callers yang konon nak offer macam2. Nowadays, i just say, no thank you. I am a house wife, mana ada duit nak invest. Takpe, u offerlah orang lain. And that's it.