DASM at CenturyLink: Door-to-door sales in a digital era, then things really go downhill

As a consultant, I’m a collector of DASM moments. Today’s DASM moment is brought to you by CenturyLink.

For those of us who work at home, one of the single biggest annoyances is the unannounced drop-in visitor. And the biggest of the biggest annoyances is the drop-in visitor trying to sell something. And the worst of these might be “Mitch” from the hated-telephone-monopolist-turned-broadband-provider now known as CenturyLink.

But first some background …

A year or so ago, as noted elsewhere on Econ Minute, Google Fiber made some noise about coming to our city.

That caused the cable company, Comcast/Xfinity/Whatever, to boost broadband speeds while simultaneously engaging in customer service tactics that only angered current and former customers.

Not to be outdone, CenturyLink boosted its broadband speeds and sent an army of door-to-door salespeople, like “Mitch,” to get people to sign-up for CenturyLink’s service.

One afternoon, Mitch shows up at my door to pitch CenturyLink’s latest offering. I told him I was busy and to just leave the literature.

Nope. Mitch wouldn’t just leave the literature.

He kept talking and talking and talking.

And talking and talking.

I finally asked how much it would cost to match the same package I’ve got now.

Mitch spouted off a number that sounded pretty close to what I pay now, so I told Mitch to wait outside while I got my current bill.

Five minutes later, I come back and Mitch is sitting in my kitchen with his sign-up sheet filled out.

WTF? Who invited you inside my kitchen, Mitch?

Mitch talked fast … Real fast … He was drawing pictures of fiber loops showing how my neighbors are killing by broadband, the that would never happen with CenturyLink.

“Cheaper … better … how many boxes do you need?”

At the same time, my wife is Googling around and sending me text after text saying, that Mitch is full of … well, let’s just say he was talking real fast.

As I questioned him about pricing, he pulled out this fancy multicolored sheet with options and dollar amounts.

I went to take a picture of his sheet so we could work from the same page. So I can say, “Yeah, I want Disney, but not ESPN, what’s that price?” (Plus, he’s sitting in my kitchen.)

That’s when Mitch changed.

His hand shot across the super secret magical price sheet and said, “I can’t let you take a picture of that.”

[Well excuse me …]

That’s when I said, “Then I think we’re done and you need to leave.”

And he did. Just like that.

Thirty minutes of speed talking, fiber loop pictures, packages and pricing, pricing and packages, and *POOF* Mitch was gone as soon as his secret pricing sheet was seen.

I would love to see what was on that magic pricing sheet. Instead, all I have is a picture of Mitch’s forearm. A hairy forearm.

And that hairy forearm is my memento of DASM at CenturyLink: They’d rather lose a sale than provide a customer with transparent pricing information.