Thursday, April 5, 2012

What Are They Called? Oh Yeah, The "I Want Your Credit Card Info" Calls

Or at least that is what I'm starting to call them.  Those marketing calls are getting smarter to catch your attention. I am an accounting manager that works as a tax accounting manager for a small/ medium size company that my father left after he passed away.  Therefore, when I got a call to my office from the International Women's Leadership Association (which, by the way, is an official and legal association that I have much respect for), I immediately answered with a smile. However, after the lady asked me about myself and I gave her simple information about my career and working life, she wanted my credit card number (for different services the lady said that the association would give).  When I told her I needed to think about it, and if she could leave a number I could call back (naturally, as the accounting brain in me would analyze every detail of the payment/s and service/s), she began to offer lower payments with other options, until finally SHE HUNG UP ON ME.  Hahahahahaaa!!! Usually one hangs up on marketing calls, however, in this call, the lady could not handle my questionings, or my answers for her own questions.  This is very unusual, and I would like to share the conversation with you:

My co-worker answered the call, and then transferred it to my desk.
Me (M): "Good morning."
Female Caller (C): "Good morning Laura. How are you this morning?"
M: "Fine thank you, how are you?"
C: "I am doing very well, and thank you for asking." (she sounded a bit surprised, it looks like not many people ask about how she's doing). "I'm calling from the International Women's Leadership Association. I would like to speak to you about you being featured in our association.

She then proceeded to give me a brief, but a long brief, explanation of what the association does, and what it involves.  She mainly told me that important women who where leaders in their communities were powerful, successful, and very well known. I already know a little about the real International Women's Leadership Association. But she was reading from somewhere, or at least that is what it sounded like over the phone. Now usually I just hang up on these telemarketers, however, I recently read this quote from my daily calendar from Richard Carlson, Ph.D. (in psycology), and he has a New York Best Seller book:

Having read this, I thought about putting communication in effect, and began to listen.  I had no interest in having a better, more loving relationship with this lady.

C: "Would you answer some questions please?"
M: "Sure, no problem." (I have nothing to hide -- except my credit card info).
C: "Please be aware that we may be recording this conversation. Is this alright?"
M: "Ok." (The recording part was strange, however, I still did not have anything to hide -- except, of course, for my credit card info).
C: "What is your first name?"
M: "Laura." (Didn't she just say 'good morning Laura' to me? Oh, that's right, she's recording!).
C: "What is your last name?"

I gave her my last name, and she also asked for my middle initial if any.  What was my address (I obviously used my office address, this was about business, right?)?  Phone number? Then she proceeded with a few professional questions; What is your position at the company? How long have you been at this position?  What would you say is your most successful event in life? What would be the hardest thing you ever had to overcome in your life? (by the way, cancer was that one, along with seeing my dad go through cancer; the lady gave a sorrowful 'Oh...' on the other side of the phone). What would you say made your success in your career? Who do you most admire?  Woe... many questions, many answers, and suddenly she said:

C: "Well, you have been approved to be a part of the International Women's Leadership Association, and with this you will be featured in our newsletter." (Didn't she just say that I was being featured in the association? Now I'm approved to be featured in the newsletter? Ok, she's not making much sense... I was taking notes during this conversation, this is why I am able to recreate it in writing; she also sounded like she was READING -- total telemarketer). "You will also have access to our marketing events in New York City, and you will have access to our many services in the association. Now Laura, there are different packages that we offer.  The first is a $698 one time payment package, and the second is a $289 package with a $35 a month payment.  The $698 one time payment package, might seem big at the time, but it is a one time payment only and it includes many advantages: gift certificates to your favorite restaurants, special hotel and travel discounts, all for a value of $6000, but you only pay a one time $698 payment. So if you think about it the $698 package would be the best deal to get!

She paused, and I never said anything so she continued:

C: "The second payment package..."

She kept going, and I kept thinking, 'So I have to pay to be featured and they do not tell me directly? I don't understand why they are not just straight forward.  If they are really targeting successful business leaders, why would they not understand that this is not the way to get their attention? They are not being sincere with me... and I wonder how many more people they are trying to dupe also. I'm listening, but I do not think she is listening back at me. So much for having an effective communication.'
Now, as I said before, I usually just hang up when telemarketers just start rambling about prices, etc., but this lady just let me know that this was the International Women's Leadership Association. I was not going to let her go that easily (either).

So after she finished with this first part of her scheme, she said:

C: "So Laura, tell me, which one sounds more appealing to you?"
M: "I'm not sure, these are the only options?" (I was not going to let her go without completing the conversation, with my side being totally sincere).
C: "Well if you think about it..." (and she continued to ramble on about which option would be the best -- in her opinion -- then finally said,) "So what credit card are we going to use today for this? And you do want the $698 deal, right? It's totally worth it!
M: I need to think about it before I -- (and she cut me off, of course).
C: The second package is for $289, and keep in mind that there is a $35 monthly payment. This is a more economical option with features..." (bla-bla, bla-bla, bla-blá, ms. pu-uushy kept on reading) "So what credit card do you want to use for this Laura?"
M: "I need to think about it, go home, and speak to my husband about it before making a decision." (I was surprised that I was not cut off this time).
C: "Well there is a package of $253 with $59 monthly payments, this does not include..." (wow, another package just came up? How convenient!) "So what credit card will you be using Laura?"
M:  "Is there a number I can call you back? It would be good to call you back once I talk it over with my husband, and I make a decision after thinking about it."

Then she paused, sighed very annoyingly (how rude, she was the one duping me, right?), and said:

C: "Listen Laura, this sounds like we are going around in circles, it would be so much easier to get this over with. Don't you think? So how about that credit card number."
I slowly and clearly said:
M: "Yes, I agree, we are going in circles. I don't like going around in circles. I like being straight forward so that these circles are avoided. They get you no where. You told me I am being featured in this association, and then that I was approved to be featured in the newsletter. You keep asking me for a credit card number, and I keep telling you that I have to think about it. I will ask you again for your number in order to call you back after I have made a decision before giving you a credit card number."

And finally she sighed annoyingly again, then *click!* she hung up.

I started laughing!! It was just so darn funny... very ironic the way people assume you will just give them a credit card number over the phone. Hahahahahah!
This leads me to think that someone is using the International Women's Leadership Association to get credit card information. I wonder how many other organizations have been victims of people trying to get other people's information?
I hope this does not continue to happen, however, on the other hand, this will be easily stopped by the big companies.  Very obvious that this person was not with the actual association she said she was with.  I know that an association like that will not treat people this way, keep asking for a credit card number, instead of giving people time to decide what to do. Regular companies give you a number to call back. And continue the communication for better business purposes. If I was not interested in the association, I would not have told her I needed time to make a decision, I would have simply told her I was not interested.  Anyways, there are so many, what's the word I could use, "wrong things" about the conversation that led me to think in the end that this person calling was not from the International Women's Leadership Association.
Instead of getting mad, I just had fun with it, with a good mood! :)

Feel free to leave me your thoughts and comments. I appreciate them!

Have a wonderful and positive day! You are the one that makes it positive. Go for it! :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Getting Inspiration

Crocheting and many crafts had never interested me during my childhood.  My paternal grandmother knows how to knit and she used to knit so fast and make sweaters, and all of the neat things that she used to sell when my father was growing up.  When I was growing up, she just made these cute things for us and the rest of the family. Growing up, I asked her to show me how to knit.  I wanted to do what her fast knitting fingers would do and make all that she made! However, I was not as talented.  As soon as I began to knit, I thought it was boring. I was a child who needed to be outdoors, and sing, and dance, and figure out solutions to problems. Ergo, the fast knitting fingers was what I wanted, but I did not have. Grandma would tell me, "You need to keep practicing everyday and you will get better and faster that way."  This is very true, however, even though I had patience as a child, I could not bare the boredom.
My sister, on the other hand, knew how to sew and do cross embroidery, etc. She knows how to knit and she knitted me this awesome purse for my birthday a few years ago (in 2008 to be exact).
The colors, the detail, and she even lined the inside with a black cotton shirt I used to wear in college (that did not fit me anymore, of course). My sister is holding the bag in this picture.  She is smaller than I am in size (just about an inch shorter than me, so we are almost the same height). I had given her a bag with old but nice shirts that didn't fit me anymore.  Whatever she didn't want, I was going to give away.  She new about this black sleeveless shirt, and she knew how much I liked it (so comfy!).  She lined the inside of the purse with it, and even gave it a pocket! The purse has a zipper too.  Awesome purse!!

One of my cousins gave my nephew (born Dec., 2011) this beautiful green baby blanket, where she knitted the blanket and crocheted the border.
 I kept thinking what a wonderful gesture, he will have this for the rest of his life, and say, "My aunt made this for me."
I also kept thinking, that the aunt he would be referring to would not be me... So what could I make for him with a lot of love that he could always have?

This past new years eve, my husband and I went to NYC to visit an aunt of his (his Godmother). She lives in CT, very close to the city (well, close for people in TX, and maybe other states that drive longer distances). One night, while we were watching television, she would crochet what looked like something a bit smaller than a blanket, but not quite a throw either. I knew that crocheting was done with one hook, but I had no idea how it worked. So I sat my 34 year old behind next to her, and asked her to show me. She was doing a stitch called single crochet: the basic stitch in crocheting. And she was making an afghan.

When we came back home, I went to a local Walmart and bought a crochet kit, complete with a picture guide and with a few different sized hooks. I bought a yarn, and began to learn how to crochet on January 4th, 2012. Here I was, at 34 learning how to crochet. A craft I always thought was boring! Then I found out this whole community online that teaches with free online videos (much better than the black and white pictures I had learned with), and many online sites with info. Since I cannot stand making something that will not be useful, I began practicing different stitches by making granny squares, and coasters, and dishcloths, before I made my husband his beanie and scarf. (Video bellow is of the scarf, not a tutorial, and in English; my husband is sporting the scarf and beanie, and the bad picture of myself is the night I finished the beanie).


Suddenly, this craft I never thought I would do,  I am doing! And I'm making things! Useful things! It's a great passion and a de-stresser. As I work as an accounting manager, and do a few different taxes for a couple of companies, crocheting has taught me to just think about the craft project I am doing, and forget about all the other problems. It really has taught me as an adult, how peaceful it is.
My husband now tells me that we don't have to buy presents anymore! That he has me to make presents for everyone else now. HA! Cost effective. :)
Here are some loafers I made for my nephew:

And so today, I am now at project number 19. I will post another blog with most of my projects soon. With pictures! And please comment, let me know if you would like any of the free patterns. If you are on ravlery, my username is Laly7. Look me up!

Just as I got inspired to to something different, I hope this will help other people find the inspiration to start something new. Go out there and find something new, even if you don't know what else you want to do: may it be beginning to learn a new language, starting to draw or paint, playing squash, preparing to go on a trip, learning to sew, or carpentry, or starting a new business. Come on, get inspired! You never know, you might get surprised that you are really good at something you never thought you would be.

Have a wonderful and positive day! You are the one that makes it positive. Go for it! :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Day, New Blogger

A new blogger here.  As most new bloggers surely relate, I'm not sure exactly how to begin, but I am just going to try and have fun in the mean time. :)
The idea of starting a blog began a few years ago, when I began to think about my everyday life, the world around me, and the world in itself (what it was going through), and cancer. By now, I have heard from almost everyone that I have met they have either known someone with cancer or has had cancer - either survived it or took it to their death.
A few years ago, I had stage one cervical cancer and even though I do relate to having this horrible disease, I cannot relate to having gone through radiation or chemo therapy. At the time, I was 31 years old, without children yet, and I was very fortunate to have a doctor who cared and knew what therapy to give me.  She said, "It's at stage I and you haven't had children yet.  Therefore we will not do chemo or radiation, we will try the hormone therapy."
She was an angel sent from heaven. I had seen my own father go through chemo and radiation once before my diagnosis, survived it, and then he went through this a second time before his death last year (but this we will leave to tell in another story). After seeing my dad go through one round of chemo and radiation, it was a huge relief to hear the words from my doctor when she said no chemo or radiation. This therapy is very energy draining, and makes you suffer.  It makes the people and loved ones around you suffer as well, since we cannot do anything to help the pain.  The feeling of being helpless to someone you love is like when you have to climb a mountain to succeed and being paralyzed stops you. Not to mention the suffering the patient endures.
When the doctor tells you you have this disease, your world collapses: you do not know if this is your last chance to be painfree and living life.
I luckily had a second chance, and decided I will make the best of it, no matter what.  I am not sure why God let me live still, however, I have to follow Him and figure out what my path with Him is. If I can help others in some emotional way, inspire them, even in the last second of life; or help the kids of my neighborhood find the owners of the lost dog; or help my family go through rough times; or help, help, help somehow...
That's the only way we can live life: being positive, and going up from where you were: there is always hope!
This is how I began thinking about blogging... I finally got to it, and I hope to inspire, make people laugh, and give hope to others out there, in anything you might be going through, or if you just want to sit and read about something other than what you went through in your day.
Have a wonderful and positive day! You are the one that makes it positive. Go for it! :)