Selling Snake Oil

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks due to several reasons, the biggest of which, has been  my work schedule.The other reason? I lost faith in humanity. Over the past weeks, I have never in my life encountered so many dishonest, shady people. Is the truth so hard to tell that no one can tell it any more? 

Look, I may be a naive, gullible person who was raised by a devout Christian family where values were taught and expected. Lying and even omitting the truth were punishable offenses. My father would preach from the pulpit,from the Book of Exodus, reciting “Thou shalt NOT bear false witness”. He explained the commandment was meant for us to follow in all of our dealings, not just when it was suitable for us, or worked to our advantage.

He would tell us of the New Testament story of Peter,who denied knowing Jesus….not once, not twice, but three times. Peter was a Disciple of Christ ; a devout church going man and there he stood…LYING.  Imagine that.   The Bible is actually full of people who outright lied, so I don’t know why I am so shocked that people continue today……..

The truth. The truth is really simple to speak, tell, announce and declare, but people have become so accustomed to not telling it themselves, that it has become an expectation of others, that doesn’t  doesn’t bother us anymore. It’s okay. You lie to me, I lie to you, we sort out the particulars and call it  a day. We no longer hold one another accountable for the truth. 

The person that sent me in this spiral of anger was……..a telephone salesman. This man called me up and explained to me that my business needed to switch from a small business set up to a medium business setup. He explained in great detail that the phone bill would decrease from 900 dollars a month to 700, simply by upgrading to the medium size business package. We talked, he emailed, I read his material and it seemed like a better plan. Hey, who wouldn’t want to save 200 dollars a month and get a whole slew of new stuff? I was not changing carriers, I was not doing anything but upgrading my phone service. Simple.

A few days went by. I picked up the phone to make a call, realizing there was no dial tone. Hmmm. I tried all lines. Nothing. Hmmm. My fax machine stopped, my internet went down….Suddenly my whole building was without anything that operated off of the phone company’s grid.  I called the 1800 number from my cell……I explained to the nice lady on the other end of the phone how I needed a repair man to come out…….She asked for my phone number that was having the problem…..I gave it to her….then she said….

“Maa’m, you cancelled your service with us three days ago, and now you are with another carrier. You have been our valued customer for 22 years, I am sorry we have lost you. We have a wonderful “win back program” that is you will come back to us, we will bundle your….”

I interrupted her demanding to know what she meant about having left…I never left this carrier..I never committed to anyone, I simply upgraded the plan I had with the same carrier……I explained and explained and explained……only to be told…

“Maa’m, you are no longer with us, you are with another carrier, but we would be delighted to win you back…..let me transfer you to our sales team……”

SALES TEAM???????? I need the phones to work, I need the internet to be up, not talk to a salesman!  Would you believe that there was nothing they could do to help me? There is no magical switch they could throw and turn our systems back on….I had been “scammed and ported” by another phone company. For me to be un-ported, the FCC requires a waiting period…..blah blah blah………..In short, I would not have phone services until the scam company released my phone numbers…thats what they call “porting”….. 

I tried to find this mystery salesman that had sold me the “” upgraded package”. When I did, more lies and more lie. Seems the upgrade he was selling was not a hard wire phone line but a VoIP which will not work for my facility….fire alarms, security alarms, generators etc. all feed off of hard wire phone lines…..not some jimmy-rigged modem. He explained further that he was with the same carrier as I had before but was an independent franchise………….. WHAT does that MEAN????????????????

Look, in my thoughts, if you say you work for Harry’s Phones, you work for Harry’s Phones. Not some spin-off, chopped up, watered down version ,but the real deal. When I put 65 cent in the soda machine and press Diet Coke, I expect Diet Coke, not another Coke product. See what I mean??????

Days have passed and guess what? I am still on this VoIP thing that may work, may not work, sometimes works……ERRRRRRRRR. I will be back with the REAL phone company on Monday…..but my goodness…this scam has taken it’s toll on so many people. Family members that had called my business heard that annoying recording we all hear when a phone has been disconnected….

“The number you have dialed…1…3…5..6…9. has been disconnected. Please hang up and try again.”

Doctors called my cell ranting about how they needed to “”speak to a nurse and the phones are not working””. Relatives were concerned, leads were lost…….and there I sat…..unsure of who to blame.

Have we become so hard up in our business lives that we just run about scamming people for the sake of making the mighty dollar, unconcerned about the impact of shady dealings? Do we not care??????  

People lie. From the White House to the little yellow house down the road. People just lie. I find it highly annoying, frustrating and almost have gone postal all because of ……a phone salesman……or was he a man just simply selling snake oil?






13 thoughts on “Selling Snake Oil

  1. Wow, what a story. I have a few situations right now of the “I cannot believe you did that” variety… but people do, and they often get away with it. To do this to your facility which has such crucial needs, with so many dependent on the phone service. awful…


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