A telemarketer story
The caller ID on my phone told me someone named Scam Likely was calling. Scam Likely calls twice a day, sometimes more. But we haven’t spoken in years due to a falling out over a scheming Nigerian Prince. I should ignore Scam Likely, but I miss that fraudulent fucker.
“Hello,” I said.
“Hello, my name is Nina,” a woman said.
“Nina, there must be a mistake,” I interrupted. “I want to speak to Scam Likely.”
“Scam Likely. We’re old friends. Well, old enemies, if you want to know the truth. Personally, I blame the Nigerian Prince. Everything was fine between me and Scam Likely before that royal pain in the ass started talking about his inheritance.”
“Sir, I represent local investors,” Nina said. “Are you interested in selling your home?”
“I’d be a lot more interested in an auto warranty for a vehicle I don’t own.”
“I don’t understand, sir.”
“Sorry, it’s an inside joke between me and Scam Likely. You were saying something about investors, right?”
“Yes, I represent local investors—”
“That’s great! I’ve got some can’t-miss ideas I’d love to pitch you. Are you ready? First, idea: a ride share app, but instead of treating our drivers like serfs in some Neal Stephenson techno-dystopia, we pay them a living wage, plus health, and dental!”
Nina didn’t respond. Better move on to my next pitch, I thought, and maybe cool it on the radical living wage shit. After all, Nina sounded like a hardcore businesswoman.
“OK, second pitch. We buy Twitter and charge trolls one dollar for every Twitter user they reach. Then when everyone else tries to leave Twitter, we ransom their personal data to the highest bidder. Thoughts?”
“Sir, my investors are interested in real estate—”
“Got it! Now, you’re speaking my language. Real estate. Buy land because they aren’t making more of it, am I right?”
“Are you interested in selling your home?” Nina asked. Then, to prove she was legit, Nina read me my home address.
“Am I interested? Nina, let me tell you, I’m highly motivated to sell.”
“That’s great. Now, I just have a few questions.”
“Actually, I have only one question, Nina.”
“How much do your investors propose to pay for my house?”
“We have a very generous formula, and we will arrive at a price that makes you happy.”
“That sounds like mumbo-jumbo,” I said. “Everyone knows happiness is expectations, minus reality. So, I’m going to tell you my expectation, and then you tell me if that’s realistic, and we’ll just see about my happiness. Deal?”
“I want a billion dollars,” I said.
“A billion dollars?”
“Sorry, I misspoke. I’m not great with numbers. I meant, one trillion dollars.”
“One trillion dollars. You can’t be serious.”
“I’m totally serious. I’d be happy to sell for one trillion dollars, not a penny less.”
“Sir, home values in your areas are around one million dollars.”
“That’s true, but I’m valuing our home as a technology company.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Frankly, neither do I. But for some reason, if I call it a tech company it’s worth more.”
“But it’s a home.”
“A home with a compelling origin story,” I said. “That story literally takes place inside the home’s garage. And as everyone knows, all the great tech companies began in garages.”
“Are you actually interested in selling your home, or do you just want to waste my time?”
Damn it. Nina was playing hard ball. Worse, she was on to me. Aside from a Nest thermostat that works alone and the Bezos machines that torment me, our home isn’t what you’d call a “smart” home. In fact, it’s a dumb mid-century modern with an open floor-plan that’s great for entertaining and an inviting kidney-shaped pool in the backyard. There are three bedrooms and two baths, and even though we had put on a new roof, upgraded the HVAC, and installed a new garage door at enormous cost to our sanity, I knew there was no way I could justify a one trillion dollar valuation. It was time to come clean.
“Nina, here’s the deal. I’m interested in both, sort of.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Well, I answered the phone with the intent to waste your time. It wasn’t personal. I thought you were Scam Likely, and I love to mess with Scam Likely. But then you made a serious business proposal, and I too am in business to do business.”
“Let’s cut the chase,” I said. “If your investors are offering an unreasonably high price for our home, I’d be interested in talking about selling.”
“And what do you consider a reasonable price?” Nina asked.
“A reasonable price is market value, or maybe five percent above market value. But like I said, I’m only interested in an unreasonably high price. If we’re talking three or four times market value, we’re in the ballpark.”
“So, you’re thinking around four million dollars?”
“That general ballpark, yeah.”
“Sir, I think you’re the one trying to scam me.”
Thanks for reading Situation Normal! If you’re new here, please subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work 👇
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK!
I love hearing from readers after every story! If you have something nice to say, please feel free to drop a comment bellow👇
Or, if you’re the type of person who needs a prompt, consider the following questions:
Have you ever bought anything from a telemarketer? If so, what did you buy?
Do you find it weird that your phone can tell you that an incoming call is likely from a scammer, but we can’t seem to harness that technology to put an end to scammers?
If you were going to start a telemarketing operation, what products or services would you sell?
Do you mess with telemarketers / scammers? If so, tell us about a time when you really got under their skin.
Do you want to buy our house for an unreasonable price?
SPREAD THE WORD!
Sharing Situation Normal is the #1 way to support my work & it means more than you could possibly know. Please forward this email to a friend, post this story on social media, or hit the share button 👇