Practical jokes to play on pushy vendors

An IT pro's frustration with annoying vendors yields creative ploys to fend off salespeople -- with a few exceptions

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Occasionally, you get a vendor who's so cheery, so determined, and so armed with positive responses that eventually you give in and talk to them.

Ring ring.

Me: "Hello."

Cheerful vendor: "Hi, this is Mike from ABC. Can I speak to the person that handles your printing supplies!"

Me (with a sigh): "Speaking."

Cheerful vendor: "Listen, I just wanted to advise you that we have some great two-for-one pricing on all of our toner and ink cartridges this month. What printers do you use?!"

Me: "We don't. We've gone completely paperless."

Cheerful vendor: "That's fantastic. You know we have some of the best prices around on storage, which you just clearly indicated you'll be using plenty of. Can I price you out a storage array?"

Me: "Sorry, I don't have any budget left the rest of the year."

Cheerful vendor: "That's understandable this time of year, I'm looking to help you plan for next year. How much storage will you be needing?"

Seems I've snagged a fighter.

Me : "Well, our parent company has to approve all large purchases, and they are now in Tibet."

I've got him now.

Cheerful vendor: "That's perfect. My best storage consultants are in Tibet. I'll ping them later and we'll get them on a Webex."

Does this guy does not give up?

Me: "Well, we use a homegrown system we hacked together from an encrypted Linux kernel abandoned by NASA after being ported over from Aramaic."

I've really got him this time.

Cheerful vendor: "Excellent. I majored in Aramaic after I left NASA, should be a piece of cake. So ... how much toner do you need?"

Me: "I'll take six."

Vendors are human, and they deserve respect. Their jobs are not easy, especially the cold calls. And there is a fine line between vendor dodging, and vendor abuse. (Note to any vendors who may be reading this: See? We're not all unfeeling curmudgeons.)

But vendors have a certain amount of responsibility to listen to us and be polite as well. We have one specific vendor (I use the term loosely) who abused this unspoken agreement. Thanks to technology, they will never again be able to call this building and get a human on the phone. When you verbally tell a vendor more than a dozen times that we cannot give out information and to please stop calling, you expect them to listen. If they do not, the gloves will come off.

Vendors, we welcome you if you listen to us. But the incessant, mindless, thoughtless cold callers -- get out of Dodge.

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This story, "Practical jokes to play on pushy vendors," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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