Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Matter Of National Security

As you can imagine, I am approached by marketing salesman all the time. Sometimes I will listen to the whole spiel and let them down gently, sometimes I will actually purchase an ad if I think it will be beneficial, but most times I just tell them I have already exceeded my advertising budget for the year and simply hang up.

Last winter I received a call from a publication that was distributed to veterans. The man had a nice approach and told me that he had noticed that our park extended a military discount. He went on to say that some veterans who had actually stayed here had recommended our park. He offered me a rate that was a mere third of what the ad space was worth. He even offered deferred payment. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. I have yet to see this ad and they billed me incessantly before the agreed upon due date and added late charges. I paid for the ad, as agreed. No late charges, though.

Fool me once ........ Today the phone rang and he who happened to be inside refreshing his ever-present bubba mug of diet coke, answered. I was folding laundry and heard him say that he would let the caller talk to the person in charge. It was a man identifying himself as an active duty major with the travel department for the military. He was trying to secure reservations for some generals and admirals. Okay, I can take care of these reservations. I ask how many and he says 72. I only have 73 sites and 24 of those are not full hook-ups. But, he tells me they will only be coming in groups of two or three and staying by the week or by the month. So I ask how he intends to make these reservations if he does not know when the parties will be arriving and departing ....

Well, it seems that in order for me to have these wonderful reservations that will make me wealthy for winter, I will have to run an ad in his publication. He saw my ad in Veteran's View (glad he did, since I haven't) and that is all well and good, but for national security reasons, my ad will need to appear in his publication in order for the admirals and generals to feel safe using their credit cards here. Huh?? The ad will only cost me $325. I laughed ..... a lot. This is when he assured me that this was no scam, that he worked for the government and that he could tell by talking to me that my park was nice and reputable. So much so that he thought "the government" had priced the ad too high and that he was going to give me a break and only charge me $100.

I am thinking I must have sounded dim witted. So, let us recap here. If this man is to be believed; he is active military and my tax dollars are paying him the rate that a major makes so that he can call businesses and sell them ads. He would be a very special major, since, by simply hearing the sound of my voice he can know that admirals and generals will be safe here in my campground. That is, indeed, a special skill. At one point he told me that this is how the government makes money (through ads). I told him that I had no advertising dollars left in my budget and that due to our current economy, I was loathe to spend any money unless he could guarantee the reservations. He could not, of course. He who loves me hung up on the scam artist and even took the call when he called back to say we had been "cut off".

I redialed the number he called from and asked what the nature of the business was. It is really a publication for active military, but not a government owned one. They employ retired military personnel. I let the woman know that her sales staff, at least one of them, was misrepresenting himself. She apologized, but did not seem to be upset. I really couldn't tell, since I lack those special skills the Major had .... 

9 comments:

Pat said...

Glad you were on top of things here! I hate scammers! This sounded fishy from the get-go!

SkippyMom said...

Holy cow Kathy! That is ridiculous - to misrepresent their affiliation that way. He may have served in the military, but he dishonors it by lying.

Glad you caught it.

Brian Miller said...

ugh....used to work in sales...and this is ridiculous...i know it happens and wish they could be fined or prosecuted...

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

so pathetically sad but funny in a sick sort of way. like those guys who send emails to help poor mrs. jones (or johnson, or smith) get her money out of XX country and all i have to do is help her out and i'll be incredibly wealthy.

yeah...

squawmama said...

Can you spell crook.... wow I'd report that for sure!
Donna

houndstooth said...

Good grief! I wonder how the military would feel to know that they were being represented by this scumbag. Perhaps you ought to pass along the number!

labbie1 said...

Hmmmmm...

Meggie said...

Some days it seems the world is full of rotters! That scam has been used in Australia too, and luckily the media have warned us. We had plenty of scammers approach us when we were in Hotel life, and only once got caught. The man explained his daughter was getting married, and he needed to cater for the alcohol. Large orders were discussed and placed. Then he declared he needed some 'cheer' to shout his overseas guests, who were arriving that afternoon. Two bottles of Scotch and a dozen bottles of beer would be adequate. As a goodwill gesture, because he had 'forgotten his wallet' he would leave his watch, and two rings. Of course, he never came back and I suspect the watch and rings were worthless- we just chalked it up to experience. We never got caught again.

lovelyprism said...

That's a fabulous story! I loved the way you wrote it! I'm sure you were frustrated but it made me laugh. Thanks :-)