Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teaching patience in an "on demand" world

Learning patience is something that I am still trying to master after 32 years.  As a parent, I now have to set an example for my children and teach them the value of patience.  In a world of instant access to information on the internet, on demand programming on television, and Facebook instead of face-time as a means of communication, it seems that patience is something valued less and less as time goes on and technology evolves.

Additionally, I see a new generation of children growing up with a sense of entitlement to have what they want, when they want it, and to have it on their terms.  As a culture, we have hoisted spoiled brats like Paris Hilton and friends to celebrity status.  We celebrate girls acting like divas and encourage this from a young age by giving them Bratz Dolls as presents.  Should we really be surprised that we have a growing number of entitled, sassy young women?  Have the virtues of patience, kindness and poise become extinct? 

As a parent, I feel that it is more important, and more difficult than ever to teach these values to children.  I will not tolerate a diva in the house, and the value of hard work will be taught daily.  I know that I will face challenges, and that I won't handle every situation perfectly, but I hope that when my children grow into young adults they are viewed as kind, polite and poised individuals. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nothing is for Free...

There is a price that you pay for everything, and I learned the hard way that the cost of a free carpet cleaning is losing two hours of your life to a high pressure sales pitch for Kirby Vaccuums.

A young man came to my door and signed me up for a drawing for $1000. This drawing was an attempt to get their name out to the community. A few days later, I was called and told that I won a free carpet cleaning. I'll admit, I thought that it was an odd marketing strategy, but I didn't see the harm in letting someone spruce up my carpeting.  If they wanted to sell me something, I could always say no.

I was told that they would be providing me with a free cleaning, and that there would be no obligation to buy anything. They were doing this to get their name out and hope that I would keep them in mind for the future and perhaps recommend them to my friends and family.
The young man arrived at my door promptly at his scheduled time. He explained that there was no charge for the cleaning, and requested the names and phone numbers of 10 friends who may be interested in a cleaning as well. He would be able to get paid for his trip to my house if he got the leads from me. At this point, I didn't see the harm in helping him spread the word on his carpet cleaning business. The problem was that it wasn't a carpet cleaning business but a Kirby Vaccuum sales office.

He was very polite, and showed me his product, a Kirby Vaccuum. I was very impressed by what the Kirby could do, but I was not in the market to purchase a $2400+ vaccuum cleaner. He did offer me some discounts (bringing the cost down to $1395), and some financing options. I explained that I was not going to purchase a vaccuum no matter what.

Realizing that he was not going to get me to purchase a machine, he put his boss on the phone to try to close the deal, and I promptly shut him down as well. My free carpet cleaning had turned into a high pressure sales pitch lasting nearly two hours!

I was irritated that they got into my house under false pretenses. The next day I found out that one of my friends had been called by DC and Co. and told that I had gotten them a gift certificate for a free carpet cleaning. This was a a bold faced lie and they were using my name to gain the trust of others. I immediately called the company and expressed my feelings and was told by their representative that they would pull my referrals and discontinue the calls. Another mother was called later in the evening.

Luckily, I got through to all of my friends to warn them about the company. While the young man who visited me was very nice, and a good salesman, he is working for a very crooked company. Just remember that nothing is free!!!