Scripted service. Yesterday I went to lunch at Applebees (I go there to hide--no one else I know ever goes there) and later I had to rent a car for a day because my truck blew a hose that had to come from California. The waitress at Applebees and the girl at the rental place recited scripts at me, "Good afternoon, sir. My name is Caitlin-Joanne and I'll be you server this afternoon. Would like to try one of our delicious new all-you-can-eat selections from our Summer/Fall 2008 supplementary items menu?" And it doesn't stop. I get the script every time she comes to refill my ice tea.
The girl at Enterprise also had a sheaf of scripts to recite at me, trying to sell me up to full no-questions-asked coverage that doubles the cost of the rental and wouldn't I like to try one of their weekend getaway specials in a full size SUV or a Lincoln Town Car. "No, thanks. Do you have a Geo or Fiesta or something? I need it for a day, people!" I finally put 23 miles on a Jeep Liberty (the smallest car they had left?) and I think I would have been better off taking a cab (except for the waiting--you can easily wait an hour for a cab around here--they're no faster than the cops). Enterprise girl was actually quite sweet, though, when she drove me over to the shop after I turned the rental in. That location averages 18 rentals a day and some movie company had blown into town and rented 42 cars. She'd spent the entire day on the phone trying to get extra cars from other locations and ferrying people around and she was absolutely exhausted. Too exhausted to recite sales and PR crap at me. So we just chatted about when are they going to do something to relieve the congestion at Jefferson and Osuna, that's gotta be the worst intersection in town, etc., etc.
Are there people who respond favorably to this plastic sing-song robot crap? If there are people who respond to telemarketing, I guess it's possible. That's one of the scarier concepts of our time. Most of us complain bitterly about telemarketers and everyone I know has signed up for the national no call list, but . . . If it didn't work, they wouldn't do it. Who in the world are the people who are making it worth while for telemarketers to persist? Scary, isn't it?