Sneaky Salespeople

A couple things happened to me last week that I want to complain about.

First, I was at CompUSA shopping for a computer+monitor+printer. The salesman offers me a special deal for the three things. I ask him about what is included - software, etc.

Finally, I ask if there’s anything else I would need to have a complete set-up suitable for family use.

He tells me I might want an extended warranty. I say “ok, is there anything else I might need?” He says “no.”

Well, I come back about an hour later, having decided to buy this system, and I tell the salesman so. He asks if I want an extended warranty, and I say “no.”

Then he asks “Do you want a printer cable?”

Of course I freak out - what the (& is this (&? I thought I was getting a complete system, and it turns out this system is missing a critical component. Now, it’s only $30 or $40, but why couldn’t he have been up front with me?

Next complaint: I follow the real estate ads in my town, not because I’m shopping for a house, but because we bought one about 6 months ago, and I like to follow the market.

Well, I see an ad for a house that I know, because it’s been on the market for a while. The ad says that the house is on a dead-end street. Here’s a diagram:

Major Street
_____Dead End ____________________________________

i.e. the house is on the corner of a major street and a dead-end.

Now, I realize that salespeople are supposed to put the best spin on things they can, but come on!!! People are gonna go to look at that house, and feel deceived and annoyed. So you’re not doing anyone any favors.

Regarding house sales, I saw an interesting one. There was a real estate ad for a house that was being built (finishing touches being put on at that point), so the ad’s picture was an artist’s drawing of the building as it would look when complete. The picture showed a broad house, very impressive in looks. My husband drove me past the actual house, not far from where we live. The artist’s rendition actually showed the side of the house; the house was on a narrow, deep lot and took up most of the lot - this is common in our area as more modest-sized homes are regularly being torn down and having huge homes put up in their place on the same lot. To actually see the house from that exact perspective, not only would you have to be standing by the side of the house, but the house next door would have to be torn down since they were very close to each other.

Obviously this wasn’t something deeply deceptive, since you would immediately see the reality of the situation once you drove up, but we laughed at this obvious attempt to trick more people into taking a look at the house. In that area, a house that wide would indicate a bigger lot, which isn’t very common.

Hubby had the same problem at Best Buy yesterday. He got one of those splitter things that lets you use two different computers with the same monitor, keyboard and mouse. He said, “This has all the cables, right?”

Salesman said, “Yes, absolutely.”

Hubby, niave and trusting soul that he is, took it home, saw that there were in fact, no cables included, went back to BB (a half-hour drive, BTW), and found that they didn’t even carry the cables he needs.


How about this one.

I’m sitting in the lab (about an hour ago) and I’m working on an Elisa. This guy walks in, dragging his luggage. (Secure Facility, but he’s wearing a visitor’s badge. Gee thanks security for letting any guy in a BSL-4 lab complex with luggage.)

Hi I’m <damned if I paid attention> something something rep <someplace> microscopes and microscope supplies.

Me: <We’re getting a new microscope? Kick ass!> Umm? <Keep in mind I’m trying to do a shit load of micropipetting and avoiding nasty things involving a spill>

Him: <continues on>

Me: <looking at my work so I don’t pipette 4M H2SO4 on myself.>

Him: <Hands my a price quote sheet (its bound and has a plastic cover on it, kinda snazzy for a photocopy), gives me a hopefull look then leaves>

Me: (to coworker) What the hell was that? Isn’t this why we have security?

I have no idea why printer cables aren’t included with printers: several times I’ve purchased printers for someone at work, only to have to return to the store later when I remember that cables are sold separately. I didn’t think they were $30 and up, though – usually, they’re less than $15. Was this a weird cable?

At any rate, I’d chalk it up to salesperson incompetence. The folks that know computers usually are working as systems managers somewhere, not hawking wares at megastores. Once in awhile I get a sales rep at one of those places who actually knows what he’s talking about; it’s a delightful surprise when it happens.

Actually I prefer that they leave out the cable, because cables last forever, so it’s cheaper just to recycle the one you have. However, I too have fallen victim to the old cable-not-included trick. I propose a large red label reading “WARNING: CABLE NOT INCLUDED!”

I had a similar situation happen at a local Circuit City. I bought a bundled computer system for my Mom – CPU, Monitor, Printer – yet no printer cable was included even though both the items the cable connected WERE. And of course, the clerk ‘helpfully’ trots off to get us a cable, and comes back with the $30 gold-plated contact, platinum-shielded, milspec model, rather than just a regular one, which does indeed cost about $15. I ‘helpfully’ sent him back to get the standard model.

Ahh, I think I’ve figured out the SAT analogy for the new millennium.

new car : floormats :: new computer system : __________

That sounds about right. When I was “negotiating” the price of the last car I bought, the salesman and I were stuck on a $150 dollar difference. I told him I was paying cash, and I had exactly $12,000 (or whatever) and that’s all I was going to pay. He said he could finance the $150 (Good grief! :rolleyes: ) and I said absolutely not. He finally said “Fine! But I’m not giving you the floormats!” Well whoop-de-shit! Like I can’t find a set of floormats for less than $150.

About 6 months later I got a notice in the mail that all floormats for that make were being recalled. SNORT!

My seediest salesman experience was when I applied for a job through the paper that didn’t really have a description, but when I discussed it briefly with the person who answered the phone I had the impression that it had something to do with selling mass produced art to hotels, offices, etc. I get there with several other people (who all were asking each other “um, do you have any idea what this job is?”) , get hired and come back the next day to work with a guy who’s going to show me the ropes. He drives to a warehouse, loads his trunk up with cheezy Successories, Anne Geddes and Ansel Adams prints in cheap frames and proceeds to take me around to business parks and offices where he tries to weasel his way past receptionists by saying he’s “a contractor who has leftover art from a job that they can have at great prices, no? Well maybe your boss might be? No? Are you sure? Why don’t you just ask him? No no…no need to call security.” I made him take me back to the warehouse after lunch with a “thanks but no thanks.” What a lowlife job!

Why would they recall floormats???

I was wondering the exact same thing.

If you step on them hard enough they explode into flames?

My Honda had a recall on the floor mats, supposedly they could slip from their original position and interfere with the pedals. I could bring my car in to get a “floormat retention device” installed, my guess, a screw driven into the floorboards.

Of course, my mats never moved so much as a half inch from where I put them down, so I don’t know what the big deal is.

I once had a car with a floormat on the driver’s side that developed a kink in the material. One day it wedged itself over the gas pedal. Very exciting.

I managed to stomp on the mat till it cleared the pedal. When I got home I chucked the thing into the nearest garabage can.

I doubt it was a “weird” cable. Many large retailers will only stock standard cables. I used to work for a major office supply retailer. At one time the 6-foot printer cables sold for about $10 to $15. When the IEEE-1284 cables came out they went for about $30 and eventually we phased out the non-IEEE cables, selling only the $30 cables. This was about 3 or 4 years ago, and it’s been over a year since I worked there, so maybe things have changed since then.

I am assuming these are parallel cables you are referring to. Many printers nowadays also support USB (whose cables are also about $30 IIRC).

LOL! Did the ad say “rock and roll atmosphere” or something like that? That is too funny. I went to the same job interview. I ran when the guy showed me his “inventory” which was conveniently located in the trunk of his car!

According to Robert A. Heinlein, whenever a question starts with “Why don’t they…”, the answer is always “Money.”

In the case of printer cables, however, there’s an additional justification - and once I bring it up, I suspect you’ll agree that it makes more sense for them to be sold separately.

The computer/printer manufacturer is not omniscient and therefore has no way to know how far apart your computer and your printer are going to be situated.

I mean, really. Would you prefer it if they included a 6-foot cable with every printer (raising the price accordingly to cover it), and you needed a 10-foot cable? By buying them separately, each consumer can get the cable that they need, instead of paying even more for a longer one than they need or getting stuck with one that’s too short and having to buy another one anyway.

That said, I agree that the salesperson should be upfront about the cable situation.

I bought my 8’ printer cable at WalMart for $5. Works great.

They also don’t know if you want a parallel cable or a USB cable. I purchased a USB cable for my printer because I already had a scanner hooked up in the parallel port.

(I got my printer at [large retail chain], and the sales guy was up front about it, and also got the cheapest cable for me.)

The sad part is, weasly salespeople make me wary of all salespeople. I went to buy a tire the other day and I was on full alert on getting ripped off (I don’t think I was - as if I’d know if I were!). Mechanics, computer salespeople, car dealerships, insurance… it’s sad. And of course, even when I think they’re good, I can’t help but think that successful crooks have honest faces - maybe he’s just that good and I’m just a sucker. :frowning:



And yes, the floormat recall was because they supposedly bunched up under the brake or something.