Friday, January 22, 2010

What Should I Have Done?

You know that feeling you get when you WISH you had the right words in a given situation, but they don't come to you until after the fact? Right about the time when whoever or whatever has "gotten your goat" is long gone, possibly even smirking at your expense? Well Miss Not-So-Quick-On-Her-Toes here gets this feeling a little too often--and not just when I'm trying to reason with my teenagers! Maybe that's one reason I enjoy writing. I can take as long as I want to formulate the best response, the most argument-stopping dialogue if I have a moment or two to sift through the piles of such stuff stored (not so neatly) in my head.

Though being tongue-tied is a regular occurrence for me, getting upset enough for confrontation is rare. But listen to this.

Wednesday night, a little before 9:00 P.M. I got a call from a soliciter who wanted to talk to my 15-year-old son. "No way," I'm thinking, so I asked him what it was regarding. He said he wanted to pay him $75 to test out video games on Saturday. Now granted, I was a little on the peaved side to be getting a call like this in the evening when I want the rest of the day to myself and when I automatically assume any calls I get will be from people I actually want to talk to. So I may not have been my most patient self, but considering the fact that I'd rather have Christopher do actual work if he's going to get paid for something, and the fact that I'd have little or no say over what video games he was testing out, and the fact that he doesn't need a reason to play more video games, I gave a polite but resounding "no thank you." There was a pause at the other end of the phone, and I could tell the guy was thinking--"What right do you have to make that decision."

A few minutes later I got a call from my friend, who'd given him our name but told him not to call so late. Apparently he had called her back and asked if there was a way to get around me because I had "shut him down." She told him very politely that he should not bother us anymore because it was obvious that it wasn't something we were interested in and that my son was a minor and his parents would ultimately make that decision. We chatted for a few minutes and sort of laughed about his persistence and his sneakiness by calling my friend. I thought that would be the end of it.

The next night at 6:00 P.M., dinner hour, we got a phone call, and this time my son picked up. I could tell the call was for him, which was unusual since his friends always call him on his cell phone. Immediately I thought it might be the same person who'd called the night before but then dismissed the idea. I mean who's that brazen? I listened with half my attention while I continued to make dinner, but I could tell almost immediately it was the same person, and my son was really getting excited about what he was hearing. Finally after a few moments I looked over at my son and gave him this knowing-mother-look thing that if he weren't such a great kid he probably would've wanted to roll his eyes at.

"You're not going," I said sweetly, though my blood was about as boiling as the water for the rice I was preparing. At this point it probably wouldn't have mattered if the guy was completely legitimate and quadrupeling his offer. I was too angry. The NERVE!

"What?" he mouthed, confused.

"I talked with this person last night and specifically told him we wouldn't be interested, and I'm appalled he would call back and try to get around me."

I thought Christopher would've let the conversation take its normal course and then politely hang up with a non-committal response, but he surprised me by telling the guy what I said. I found out later that the man stumbled out a response that he thought Christopher was old enough to drive and could therefore come on his own.

Can you believe that?

So did I overreact? Or is that guy a creep and his "deal" a little too good to be true? What do you think? I'm dying to know.


  1. If anything, you UNDERREACTED. Creep doesn't begin to explain this guy, although I can't currently come up with a better word for him right now. I can't believe he did that. And seriously, if I were you, I would get his number from your friend and give him a piece of your mind--then you will have time to write down what you want to say! Mwahahahaha! Creep.

  2. Total jerk! You did the right thing. I hope you had a long talk with Chris about why that guy is dangerous and why what he did was out of line. Is it against the law to target minors with this sort of scham? You gotta wonder.....I would contact your friend and warn her if she wants to remain your friend to NEVER refer you to a telemarketer again! :O)

  3. The solicitor was absolutely wrong to not drop the recruiting of your son and go against your 9 PM decision. Parents always have the right, if not the duty, obligation and responsibility for making decisons for their minor children. As the kids grow older and wiser, you include them in the decion-making process. That's YOUR job as a teacher! And, isn't it satisfying to find out your son actually supported your decision without making a big deal out of it. How unusual is that? A teenager agreeing with their parent? You must be doing something right!

    Having worked with a major gaming industry client (Namco-Bandai), I know that game testers are absolutely part of the normal game production cycle and "testers" are usually teenage boys as they compose the majority their typical "target market". Having said that, I find it highly unusual for a gaming company to employ such recruiting tactics as asking for friend's of whoever for [cold calling] leads. Typically they would place an ad on Craigslist and be swamped with hundreds of candidates. I just don't buy the "tester" story.

    If I were you, I would be very watchful for "other" things going on for the next couple weeks. Perhaps the recruiter was legitimate...perhaps not? Perhaps he is a front man for a burglar ring? Yes, that's a far-fetched or crazy paranoid idea, but that kind of strategy has worked well for burglars. You recruit kids, put them in an environment where trust is being built. You ask a bunch of general questions that kids have no clue are designed to ellicit certain unrelated and personal information. Before long, the burglar will know schedules, security and valuables inventory. Then you get "hit" for thousands of dollars of your personal property: vehicles, jewelry, weapons, etc. All this information for the for less than a $500 investment paying some kids minimum wage for a couple hours.

    All one needs to do is validate the recruiters legitmatcy in order to, in that scenario, ease your peace of mind. Check this recruiter out!

    Hope this helps,

  4. Sounds like a creep! I think you did the right thing.

  5. Thanks everyone.
    Phil, you've sufficiently freaked me out! ;) I was inclined to think there was something not quite right about the whole situation, but my imagination (and experience) didn't take me that far. Thanks for the warning.
    As for my friend--I think she was just as much a victim of this guy as I was. She thought she was giving us a great opportunity. At first we shrugged him off as an over-aggressive sales person whose sales pitch didn't quite ring true. She was the first person I called when the creep called back, and she was disgusted with him too. We both learned in the end.
    It was most frustrating that I didn't have a way to get ahold of him or his company because he called from an "unknown number."