28 Apr

Another Sales Rep Story

Maybe one day I’ll get over it, this wariness I have for salesmen. I was walking through the shopping mall the other day when this young lady selling ‘designer make up as low as £4.99’ approached me with a big smile saying

“I love your wrap, how do you do this?”

What?

“Your head wrap. I’ve always wanted to learn how to tie one just like this but I can’t”

I felt embarrassed for her, not because she couldn’t tie her headgear but because she was so obviously using that as her friendly opening line to sell me make up. Now I suspected that she was the gele tying, head-girl of head wraps, one of those who even arrives early to assist the entire wedding party to tie theirs but she was forced into acting mode so she could get a commission on her sale. I think my response would have been kinder if I did not feel like I was being sold to. I feel as though I am being taken advantage of when sales people come up to me with a rehearsed pitch, it sounds so…false.

The One About The Time Share Man

This one happened in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Dear hubby excels when it comes to booking holidays, he gets us the best deals and leaves nothing out. He even pre-plans our days to make sure we see the best sights while having fun. He builds in time to simply chill out so that our holiday is not a rat race trying to see all the sights. So when he booked our holiday to Peurto Vallarta, he booked us a cab from the airport to our hotel. Everything went well. We arrived at the airport and more or less walked into the waiting arms of “our representative”, Lupe. She was very efficient and guided us to the desk where she confirmed our hotel, etc. She arranged horseback riding, whale watching and a free couples’ massage for hubby and I. It was all gooood! Lupe told us the cab would be waiting outside for us and she’ll be picking us the next day for our massages. We were taken aback as this was not in our plan- but it was free right? She ‘warned’ us that there’ll be touts waiting to grab us,  some would even have our names on placards, we were to ignore them and ‘jus keep walking, jus keep walking’.

When we arrived at our resort, the service was grand, to say the least. The children were immediately given cold drinks and snacks and we were taken care of in a fine way.

And then the conversation with our hotel rep began;

“Tomorrow morning we’ll be taking you all on a tour and you’ll get a free couples’ massage!”

Confused stares.” We actually already have an appointment for massages tomorrow.”

Menacing look. “Did you get approached at the airport”. It was more of a statement than a question.

Unsure of whether to answer or not. “Err…why do you ask?”

Did they?

At this point hubby and I knew we had fallen or were about to fall  into the hands of the Mexican mafia! It seems everyone in Mexico existed to sell timeshares. But they dialed the wrong number this time!

“Sort of.. Yes, is there a problem?”

They are touts! Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it. TAKE CARE??? What exactly does take care mean?

We figured out that Lupe was not our rep especially as hubby’s booking said nothing about a rep. Our hotel rep told us not to go on Lupe’s tour as they had one of their own in the morning, plus we will also get free massages. We assured her we’d think about it.

It all started to get very exciting, this clamouring to give us free massages. You see I am very well versed with sales people and know there will be no parting with my money, even if you killed me.

We got a call from Lupe that evening begging us not to cancel, she knew the drill and was aware that our hotel would try to talk us out. She told us that the journey to the hotel alone was her whole day’s pay and that she got her commission if we simply showed up for the tour and our massages. We didn’t believe her but were happy to go along, so we did.

After a lavish breakfast at the Hilton Beach Resort (which deserves a post all by itself), we were introduced to Arianna- a petite woman in her 60s with a look that said I- must-be-hip (mama oni gba). Arianna was dressed to the nines with make-up to go, she introduced herself to our boys as their Mexican grandma. Arianna told us to look into her eyes, which we did and she said she had 12 children. She said we would see the love for children in her eyes. I bet the looking into the eye bit was when we were supposed to get hypnotized.

Arianna explained she had only been with The Hilton for a few weeks so she’ll pass us over to wait for it…Bob.

Bob was American and looked like he was in love with himself. His Hawaiian shirt shouted volumes and his tanned complexion along with the designer sunglasses told us he loved being outdoors. His hair was slicked back like a mafia man. Bob told us he had lived in Mexico for 15 years. He didn’t tell us to look into his eyes but instead focused on our kids and how nice it would be to provide a wonderful life for them. Talked a lot about building fond memories and how it’s so easy to do so these days. He asked about our tour of the resorts and our thoughts on it, to which we replied sure, we’ll be staying here next time. Finally the time came for him to begin his timeshare sales pitch which in reality began the minute he set his eyes on us.

He blabbed on about the Hilton Group being the most recognized, etc, etc. Then moved on to the ‘numbers’. We allowed him to go on, agreeing with everything he said and oohing and aahing at the pictures and the numbers.

Finally he asked, drink in hand “Gold, silver or Bronze, which one will you go for?”

“None”

“Pardon me?” He spluttered.

“No, we are not interested at this time”.

“Can I ask why?”

“We didn’t plan to buy a timeshare.”

“But at this price, it will be suicide not to. Your friends will benefit, your family will too. Think about your children”.

“I know, we agree with all you’ve said Bob but we don’t make spur of the moment financial decisions”.

“Okay then, I’ll give you some time to think about it”. He got up and wandered off.

Cool, sleek Bob who had not broken a sweat all day now began to sweat. He got on his phone a few yards away while hubby and I stifled laughters.

Then he came back, clearly he had been encouraged as he seemed to have a new lease on life.

I like you guys. You are good people and are such a beautiful family. I’ll use my employee discount and give you a reduced rate. There is a cancellation period, no questions asked. We can transfer you from your resort to ours today to complete your stay here, at no charge. A suite in this resort for a ridiculous price what could be better? You can have 6 holidays a year at any Hilton in the world and at no additional cost.

Your children are growing up, you can’t be shuffling them from one hotel to another when they become teenagers. A suite at the Hilton will set you guys up for life, you are good people. Look, I’ll hold this offer for 30 days, you can sign here but it will not be actioned until you give us the go ahead with your payment details.

At this point I felt sorry for him and decided not to waste any more of his time. I also began to feel slightly annoyed that he was trying to take us as fools.

Look Bob, to tell you the truth, it’s a good deal. But we are not going to buy a timeshare. Ever. Not today, not ever.

Bob picked up his brochures and files and left us without a word, clearly angered by this irritating couple that led him on and refused to bite.

We spent the rest of our day on that lovely resort, it was very nice and I’ll be going back there. But not to buy a timeshare thank you very much! I’ll just keep an eye out for Bob, in case he decides to spike our drinks, everyone knows the mafia believe in revenge, big time.

Thank you for reading, do come back!

24 Apr

My Month of Enlightenment

It has been a crazy-busy month. I have always loved the month of April, I love the way it sounds. I can’t claim to like it simply because it signifies spring- although I do like spring. Actually I like any season that isn’t winter. The reason I can’t allow my love for April to rest on the laurels of springtime is because where I grew up, we had just one season- or so it seemed. There was no clear demarcation between hot and cold seasons. Some people insisted on referring to the period from May to August as summer, this was very common in boarding house and we allowed them to as it clearly made them feel good. Why stand in the way of others’ happiness? Especially amongst those who wanted to show that they had some kind of connection to countries outside of the continent of Africa. “We’re going on summer hols” was the ultimate declaration of enlightenment. Many times fought the urge to ask a sarcastic why? seeing that we had summer in Nigeria. I thought it’d make more sense to go for winter so you had the opportunity to experience a climate we would never have, no matter the extent of global warming.

I watched a very interesting documentary on the BBC called Welcome to Lagos. It was pretty enlightening for me and many others I’m sure. The first part of the mini-series follows the lives of two men- Slender and Joseph each pursuing their dreams. Slender’s is to become a recording artist, while Joseph strives to provide a good life for his family. For starters I had no idea people actually lived like that in Nigeria. I knew there was poverty, don’t get me wrong. I also knew that there where people who picked stuff from the dump. What I didn’t know was that they lived as a community, that for them was normal life. Not a bad or hard life but life for them is as normal as you see your’s or as I see mine. They do not go about moaning about how unfair life is for them. The same way some multimillionaires had their fortunes reduced from hundreds to tens of millions during the recession, and labeled the event a catastrophe, is the same way Kazim and Slender and the others viewed the misfortune of losing the dump to a fire that burned up all the rubbish. Most people I’ve spoken to agree that the documentary revealed a group of resilient, hardworking and innovative people. I learned lessons in business from the food seller who after dealing with customers that refused to pay, sat back and observed her customers, learned their ways and now no longer has that problem. A one day course in ‘Dealing with Challenging Customers, light lunch provided” will set you back anywhere from £400 to £1,000, perhaps more. Then there was Mohamed who did not go on the “Effective Customer Communication, light lunch provided” one day course, yet had the wisdom to learn 5 languages in order to be accessible to customers from all over the continent. I was well and truly enlightened, hubby will not be hearing me complain anymore, at least no more complaints about my right arm being bigger than my left from so much typing.

I had a conversation with a dear friend this week about the choice we are all given which is happiness. The people featured in the documentary chose to be happy, it was evident. Happiness is not dependent on your situation, you can choose to accept where you are and make lemonade from the lemons that life hands you, or choose to be miserable and wait for ‘the lemon thrower’ to pass by swiftly on. I choose the former, bearing in mind that it might be a very long time before ‘it’ passes!

I have found myself talking about the ups and downs of life lately. Life is full of ups and downs, there’s no avoiding either. The funny thing is that while happiness is a choice, sadness or discontentment isn’t. You have to fight to be happy, but when presented with a challenging situation, do nothing and you are guaranteed a rough life!

Thank you for stopping by 😀

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8llgvgHxHE&feature=player_embedded#!]

04 Apr

If My Mummy Was Your Mummy…

You’ll have a very good life. It’s her welcoming face. Her cheerful demeanor. The comfort that resides in her voice. When she smiles her eyes sparkle, maybe it’s the tears in them. She’s very tactile so you’ll have to get used to that. Sometimes it is to stroke your face in love, other times its just because. Mummy is very cuddly so you will get lots of cuddles. She says she’s fat and needs to lose weight. We tell her she’s filled with love and needs to remain that way. Mummy has had her share of struggles, notice how I avoided the use of the word “fair”? Mummy is the definition of one who feels hungry just before you do, or the one that feels chilly when you’re about to become cold. Mummy loves sacrificially. You will never want for anything if you are her child, she’s the one who warned me about being too close for comfort with a particular boy.  When mummy warns you about being bad, her eyes tend to grow big and her voice forceful, but somehow it exudes all the love in the world. With each challenge you’ll ever face, you can be sure she’ll feel the pain more than you. If you happen to go to school 10 hours away from home, mummy will brave the elements and bad roads to come and spend your mid-term with you. She’ll arrive with home cooked meals- I can’t tell you what she’ll cook since I don’t know your favorite meal- but she’ll cook it to perfection. She will fuss over you and worry that your skin looks dry which is why she showed up with jars of cocoa butter along with all that food. Convinced that you don’t eat properly she’ll attempt to fatten you up in the 3 or 4 days she spends with you. Her parting words will be a desperate plea for you to eat, after all you are so thin there’s nothing left to lose. Her fussing will carry on until the end of her days. It will not stop when you get married, or become a parent, or become a grandparent even. She’ll always be on “worry alert” just in case something comes up that needs worrying about and while she’s doing that, she’ll be busy praying for God’s protection over you. Meet my mummy, her name is Joy.