Direct sales. The mere mention conjures images A through Z. Some have visions of grandeur and everlasting prosperity, while the rest of us less ambitious mortals scurry away to the nearest grandmother's birthday. Never in the history of mankind has the long-lost friend been treated with such fear and suspicion.
So you think you know all there is to know about direct sales? That's what all those suckas nodding their heads while stifling yawns at the mamak thought too.
Picking up from January's hit So You Think You Know MSN? (which, by the way, you can access by clicking here), today's is a must-read for the gullible eager beavers. Read it through and arm yourself well...you never know if the guy beside is waiting to sell you a jar of miracle cream!
Scene 1: The Call
What you're really thinking: What the heck is he doing calling me?!
X: Hi! Long time no see! How are you?
Can we end the call now?
X: I'm fine too!
Who asked you?!
X: Hey, we should meet up some time to catch up!
Maybe sometime in the 24th century.
X: How about next Thursday? Say, 8.30pm?
You: Hmm...don't think so. I'm kinda busy next week.
Actually, I'm kinda busy this entire century.
X: How about tomorrow night, then?
You: Erm...I'll see how it goes. I'll call you.
And my phone will conveniently run out of credit tomorrow.
X: Okay! I'll be waiting for your call!
You: Sure. Bye.
The Rundown: First things first. Learn how to spot a direct sales suspect from miles away. They usually consist of friends you're not too close to, or not too fond of.
A dead giveaway is the over-professional tone of voice and supposed enthusiasm. And! They'll always have very precise times for meeting up. (Seriously, who sets exact times for meeting up before the day itself?)
The Remedy: If you're the no-nonsense type, tell him off rightaway and say that you're not interested in meeting up. Hearts will be broken. Unless if you're made of softer stuff...just postpone the meeting indefinitely. Of course, "indefinitely" usually doesn't last long...
Scene 2: The Following Night
(Phone rings while you're at a movie)
X: Hello! Are you there?
No moron, this is a voice mail.
X: So, are you free tonight?
You: Erm...not really...
X: Whatcha doing now?
You: Watching a movie.
Though I really wish I was bashing your thick skull wide open.
X: Ohh...so that means you're not free, right?
You: I guess so.
Nah, actually I can watch a movie while doing the marcarena and driving with one hand knitting socks to put over my feet which are pedicuring one another.
X: I'll call you again later, then.
You: OK. Bye.
Would it be evil for me to wish death upon you before my movie ends?
The 2nd call usually comes at a least expected and appropriate time. Often, it is an invitation for you to reject him rudely. Bear in mind, though, that this would leave you at a disadvantage if he calls again. Who could bear rejecting the same person 3 times? So be wise...which each rejection, HIS POWER GROWS STRONGER YET. Rrrrite.
Make it sound as though he caught you at a really bad time. Hushed whispers and short sentences are a good idea. If you're afraid that he'll call back at a bad time again, offer to call him instead. Of course, this requires a fair bit of phone credit - which most of us can't afford to spare on people like them.
Scene 3: After The Movie
(You call him back)
You: Yeah, so what's up?
X: Oh, you mean when I called you just now?
That was so stupid I didn't need to insult you.
X: It's no big deal. Just wanted to ask if you're free for mamak later.
Talk about no big deal.
Let's just get it over and done with.
X: Great! The place near my house then.
You: Ok. Sure.
Great. Enemy territory.
X: Bye! I'll be waiting for you.
You: Erm...you wanna invite anyone else?
X: Nah, it's okay. Just us both.
Bleargh. Couldn't you have said that in a less gay way?
You: Okay, I'll see you then. Bye.
Lord, be my shepherd.
The Rundown: Best described as the "now or never" stage. Or maybe "now or bugged forever". It's getting harder and harder for him to take no for an answer. So spare the dance and meet up - the sooner, the better. 'Cause if you drag it longer, he's gonna go seeking advice and all. And then no force humanity has ever known shall be able to stop him.
The Remedy: Spare that little bit of phone credit and arrange the meeting on your terms. Steer clear of quiet, lonely places with no television to distract you. You're gonna need all the help you can get to come out of this unharmed.
Coming Up Next...Part 2: The Meeting! Is he, or is he not?!