This week I was reminded of some gangster movies I had watched as a child. Every gangster movie I could remember had the same phrase, “I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.” This refers to the tyrannical persuasive power of gangsters to get people to do what they want them to do. The offer does not have the option to refuse. It carries with it the implication of “do it or die.”
What brought all this to my mind was that I ran across something on the Internet I thought I would enjoy. It was some book on a subject I had interest in and it was offered free n I only had to pay shipping and handling. I figured it was a good deal as the shipping and handling only came to $2.97.
I quickly went through the process of ordering the book ,giving all the pertinent information needed for the company to mail it to me. I came to the credit card part of the application. It seems so very simple.
Within a few clicks, I had completed everything necessary to have the book sent to my home address. I felt rather good about the no-hassle transaction. Every transaction should be this simple.
I then thought about my father who told me very emphatically, “Son, there ain’t nothing free. Nobody gives you a free lunch.” I couldn’t wait to get the book and flaunt it in front of my father proudly claiming that yes, there are a few things in life that are definitely free.
Nestling in my smugness, I happened to catch a paragraph of small print at the bottom of my computer screen. I hadn’t seen this before so I casually read it. What I read drained every ounce of blood from my body and formed a bloody pool in my shoes.
In essence, it stated that by receiving this free book I had signed up for a service that would “only” cost me $42.97 each and every month and for my convenience it would be deducted from my credit card I had just used.
I don’t know about anybody else; but there is no service I want or need that costs $42.97 each month. A notice informed me that after a trial period of 10 days if I was not satisfied with the service, I could call this toll-free number and cancel at any time. I still could not figure out what the monthly service was that was being offered.
Immediately I’d dialed that toll-free number and much to my surprise got through to a live person. How many times do you dial a toll-free number and only get some automated service you have to punch in number after number and get absolutely nowhere? I considered myself fortunate because I got a live person on the first call.
“My name is Gladys, thank you so much for signing up for this wonderful service. I know you will enjoy it. How may I help you today?”
At first, I was taken back a little by the friendliness of the voice on the other end of the telephone. But undaunted, I pressed forward with my claim.
“I just would like to cancel the service I just signed up for,” I sternly requested.
“What was it about the service that you didn’t like?” she queried. “I just don’t want the service,” I maintained. “But, sir, everybody who tries our service is quite happy and pleased with it.” “You have one customer that I know of who is not happy with the service,” I continued. “I don’t know of any customer that’s not happy with our service,” she protested confidently. “I’m not happy with the service,” I informed her. Then she tried to make me an offer I just could not refuse. “Sir, I will be more than happy to extend the trial period of this service absolutely free. Then, if you’re not happy with the service, I would be glad to cancel it at that time.”
I suppose she thought she had me with that offer. After all n free is free and an extended period of free seems to be irresistible. I don’t mind the “free,” it is after the “free” that bothers me.
At this point, I was more than a little exasperated. Trying to remember that I was, after all, a gentleman, I retorted as politely as possible, “Gladys, what part of ‘cancel my service’ don’t you understand?”
Reluctantly, Gladys agreed to cancel my monthly service. To this day, I have no idea what that monthly service was all about, but this I do know n I’m not going to get it for $42.97 per month.
Why are all the things you don’t need so easy to get and the things you do need and actually do want are almost impossible to get?
Every sales pitch I’ve ever heard always carries with it some “offer you just can’t refuse.” With enough common sense and persistence, any offer can be resisted.
The Bible makes an offer that should never be resisted. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV). Here is one offer that nobody should refuse.
James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living with his wife, Martha, in Ocala, Florida and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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