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Making Assumptions Costs A Lot Of Gas

, , , , , | Working | March 18, 2021

There is a group of us older folks that have the old Toronto area code on our cell phones. This area code has not been available now for a considerable amount of time and having one almost immediately puts you into the “likely owns a home” demographic.

As a result, many aggressive sales companies autodial these numbers in attempts to sell services; they are handled by call centres with live people.

I get these calls about two to three times a week.

Me: “Hello?”

Employee #1: “Good morning, sir! I would like to offer you a great opportunity to have your whole house ducts cleaned, for an unbelievable price of only—”

Me: “That’s fantastic! But I need to know, what is your service area? Because I’m not downtown anymore.”

Employee #1: “We service all of Ontario, and will send one of our trucks out as soon as my manager gets all your details. You are in Ontario, correct?”

Me: “Yes, sir! Please put me through to your manager; I’d love to book a duct cleaning.”

I am put on hold and a new person starts asking me questions: how big is your home, how many bedrooms, how many square feet, how old is the furnace, etc. I exaggerate the size of my house because I know that they are drooling at the bit to upcharge me from their hook price that is unbelievably cheap.

Finally, they ask for my “neighborhood,” which is an odd question when they don’t know what city I am in. So, I reply:

Me: “[Neighborhood] by the hospital. “

Manager: “Excellent, sir… and street number and name?”

I give the street number and name, and I hear typing in the background.

Manager: “That isn’t coming up on my computer, sir. What is the postal code?”

I give him my postal code in Kapuskasing, Ontario, about a nine-hour drive from Toronto.

Manager: “Okay, that’s coming up… ah… That can’t be right.”

I am put on hold again, and a third person picks up the phone.

Employee #2: “Good morning! I’m here to book your duct cleaning time. We work between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. I see that you have a 2,600-square-foot house and it will take us about an hour and a half to properly clean everything. We can have a truck at your house by… 5:00 pm… Wait… Something isn’t right. Let’s see if I make you the first stop of the day… If you’re the first stop, the earliest is 5:00 pm. What the… Sir, do you even live in Ontario?”

I give him my postal code again. Yes, I live in Ontario.

Employee #2: “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not sending two guys and a truck driving for nine hours one way to clean your ducts, let alone paying for their hotel and then losing another day for them to come back. Get someone else to do it.”

And he hung up. The next day, I got the same call centre and we did this all again.

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