Monday, October 16, 2006

On Vendors

A while back, I spent a lazy friday afternoon noodling around on various training vendors’ websites at the request of my boss, looking for some web design courses for myself and a coworker to update our java and flash skills for an impending website redesign. I checked a few sites and bookmarked a link or two. By that next week another project had come up to a boil, and the web redesign that had sparked the search for cheap web-based training had been postponed anyway, so I shifted the whole thing to my someday/maybe queue and moved on.

Three weeks (and a 10-day vacation in China) later, I get a call from a perky sales rep from some company called, oh… let’s say “Train-O-Rama Enterprises.” The weird thing is, she knows my name and number, and the portions of the website I surfed. (and no, I did NOT fill out a contact me form). All I can figure is she tracked me through the library website as I was shopping from my work domain. Anyway, the point is she’s trying to hard-sell me on a product that I barely remember looking at.

I try to shrug her off for over five minutes, but she is simply not getting the hint. She’s already left 3 messages on my machine, so I know she’s not going to go away on her own. And honestly, I was too bloody jetlagged for it to occur to me to show the same level of courtesy to her that she was showing to me and simply hang up on her. I sigh resignedly, agree to have a web demo of their “brilliant” Java training curriculum, she schedules me for a time when the trainer can call me (WHY can’t I walk through this myself with a 24-hour trial login, I wonder, if they’re going through their traffic stats with a fine-toothed comb in order to make cold calls?) Over the ensuing 2 weeks between that conversation and the demo, I get one phone call and two reminder emails.

The punch line: The demo was scheduled for 1:00 today, my time. As I type this it is now 1:48. No call. No email. No trainer. And…no sale (not that there was much risk of that anyway). They’ve had their 15 minutes grace and then some. And if a vendor can’t figure out what time it is in the central time zone to make a pre-scheduled SALES CALL, should we really assume they’ll be any more competent with our invoices? So, now I’m going to just go get a mocha from the coffee bar, and then sit back and crank through some paperwork—and let the phone roll to voicemail. :-)