Friday, February 04, 2005

I joined....

the kid's futures program at www.kidsfutures.ca. Basically it's a rewards program, you clip UPC's from selected products and mail them in 4 times a year and the money you earn is directed towards an RESP for your kid(s). The cool thing is you can build a community and have friends and family contribute towards your child(ren)'s education. The kids futures program is partnered with a lot of big name products like Tide, Bounce, Bandaid, East Side Marios and so on. They are also partnered with some online retailers and of course they offer a credit card with 2% of your purchases being directed into your child(ren)'s education.

So tonight as I'm getting dinner ready the phones rings. Mike answers and it's a call for me. I ask him who it is and he doesn't know, a quick check on the call display tells me it's likely a telemarketer. Still I pick up and say hello. A female voice says hello and starts to talk to me. About what you ask? I wasn't sure myself in the beginning. You see she had an incredibly thick accent. My brain was working overtime trying to decipher what in the world she was talking about and still keep up with the conversation because she was barely pausing to breathe. I managed to catch the words kid's futures, credit card and Citi Bank and kind of pieced it together from there. So I politely break in and told her I wasn't interested. Her response, "why not?". Now I'm only 80% sure that she's offering me a new citi bank kid's futures mastercard, but really she could have asked me to donate a kidney. So I play it safe and say again, "I'm not interested right now." This begins yet another barrage of indecipherable information. I wait for another pause in her speech and cut in with "I'm not interested." She asks if she can call me back at a later time, well at least I think that's what she wanted to do. It's quite possible we made plans to get back in touch at the end of the month. I guess I'll find out for sure in three weeks or so.

After I hung up the phone one thought kept swirling around in my head. How in the world did she manage to get hired for that job? I'm not trying to be smart, rude or insulting. I appreciate that people need gainful employment and that businesses need employees, but her job is to relay information to the consumer in hopes that the consumer will buy into whatever product or service is being offered. There was no chance of that happening today, not with me anyway, because I couldn't understand what she was talking about. And she had a lot to say.

I'm not going to make a comment about her nationality, for all I know she could very well be a Canadian born citizen. My Grandfather was born and bred right here in Canada, never stepped one foot outside of North America, but until the day he died you would have bet money that he just stepped off a flight from Poland. A lot of people he came in contact with had a hard time understanding him (which just amused him to no end). The point is Grandpa wasn't on the phone trying to get people to sign up for a new credit card. This was also not the first phone call I'd received from a telemarketer or a charity when I could not understand what was being said. I know I find it frusterating to not understand, I'm sure they find it frusterating not being understood. I have to wonder how much lost revenue it represents because I'm sure it's a factor.

Would it be horrible to offer speech classes? This isn't so much about the accent as it is about the way she was talking. It was like she was trying to set a new land speed record. I'm sure it would have been easier to comprehend if she had been speaking at a normal rate. I think it would be a helpful tool for telemarketing companies to offer their employees some speech coaching. Maybe throw in a little phone ettiquette while they're at it. What do I know, maybe they do offer that. Isn't that a frightening thought.

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