Wanna Credit Card, Sir?

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
Megha wrote a post about the Amway problem yesterday, and it reminded me of something similar that happens a lot back home in India. Since I haven't posted anything here in a long time, and I thought readers of this blog might be interested in reading the contents of my comment there, I decided to recycle it (more or less) on this blog -

Unlike a number of other unfortunate souls, I've not been bitten by the Amway pest that much. I guess I did meet some chap in a Barnes and Noble, once, who was trying to interest me in something. But I wasn't paying much attention, and he - unlike what I've heard of others of his breed - wasn't much of a conversationalist.

But then I have an uncle who dabbled in this Amway thing once too. So I've seen the super-fantastic-toothpaste and the extra-strong-cleaning-solution that can clean the paint off your walls.

In India, though, specially if you are in a plastic-happy city like Bangalore or Chennai, it's probably more common to get accosted by ICICI and Citibank Credit Card agents. The first few months when this started, everytime I exited an ATM or walked out of the office campus, a guy wearing an almost crisp white shirt with tie, and navy blue trousers (alright, sometimes they were brown), would accost me. Here's a sample of the conversation that would follow -

Agent: Sir, can I take a moment of your time?
Me: Hmm?
Agent: Sir, I'd like to interest you in this free credit card from ICICI. You have to pay nothing, sir. And this card is accepted in 2593 stores, restaurants and theatres across chennai. Plus you get discounts and special offers every few months. So would you like to apply for a card now, sir?
Me: No.
Agent: It'll only take two minutes sir. I have the form ready right here. So what's your name, sir? (pen poised over the form, to complete the application most efficiently)
Me: I don't need another credit card.
Agent: It's free sir. So, what is your name, sir?
Me: I don't care if it's free. I already have a credit card.
Agent: But everyone has multiple credit cards nowadays, sir! And this is a Gold card. And it's free! Your name, sir?
Me: I don't care what other people do, I don't need another card.
Agent: We are giving you a Visa card sir. And ICICI has the most ATMs all over India. You can even withdraw cash using the credit card. (He tells me this after watching me walk out of an ICICI ATM).
Me: I already have an ICICI Debit card!
Agent: This is a Credit Card, sir.
Me: I already have a credit card, I don't need another one! And I don't have the time to argue about this anymore. I'm leaving.
Agent: It's very good, sir. It'll only take two minutes. Please sir!

and so on.

Now, when I'm back in India -

Agent: Sir, I'd like to interest you in this free credit card from ICICI. You have to pay nothing, sir. And this card -
Me: Thanks, but I already have an ICICI Gold credit card that is accepted all over the country inc;uding 3428 locations all over Chennai, and another 12863 locations in Bombay, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Agent: Is it a Visa card, sir?
Me: Yes.
Agent: You can get one more, sir. MasterCard this time. And you can have your photograph on it.


Atleast these Amway/Quixtar chaps aren't so whiny... Or are they?


Rohit said...

Saar; do you want the Platinum card.You can have the Gold Card, the Diamond Card and the platinum Card for the price of one.

I get these calls everyday :@

loverBoy said...

Hey Rajesh, when I logged on to your site and saw that there is no 'Bye Mom, Bye Dad' header for the first post on the page, I was excited that you have come up with CC XX! But, you disappoint!


Anyways, I liked this post too...typical RJA!!

Rajesh J Advani said...

Rohit: Same here! (Well, at least while I was in India) And that too on the cellphone! It gets pretty irritating. You struggle to fish the phone out of your pocket, and you are rewarded with an unknown number and a sales pitch. Grrr.
Nice line by the way :) Would I get my photograph on all of them? :D

loverBoy: Ah! A CC fan :) Thanks for the words!
I'd been getting complaints like - "I can't remember the last time you posted something other than a conversation" - so I thought I'd try a little variety :) And anyway, He tends to be a little busy these days :)

But CC XX (I reaaally need to switch away from Roman numerals I'm thinking...) is ready in draft form and I will be posting it in a couple of days :) So do come back!

dumbs said...

"Amway/Quixtar chaps aren't so whiny... Or are they?"

oh they r RJA.

i was once invited to a party, i went there only to find that it was a meeting or a conference of their kind!

SmartOxymoron said...

Gah! Not another post on the Amway Anomaly or the Credit Creeps! Whats with everyone? Is there a Credit card plague sweeping the world?
If there is, remember to sleep atleast 4 feet above ground level and to take the phone off the hook ;)

Rajesh J Advani said...

Dumbs: Ah, they are, are they? :)
And a party that was really a conference? Ouch.

Is there a Credit card plague sweeping the world?

Of course there is! Haven't you heard? :)

Shania Twain sang about it a while ago :)

We live in a greedy little world
that teaches every little boy and girl
To earn as much as they can possibly
then turn around and spend it foolishly

We've created us a credit card mess
We spend the money we don't possess
Our religion is to go and blow it all
So it's shoppin' every Sunday at the mall

Nice solution, btw :)

GratisGab said...

A conference! ROTFL!

Rajesh J Advani said...

GratisGab: Yes, definitely funny :)

Btw, I was watching "Whose Line Is It Anyway" last night, and there was this part of the show where they try act out the "World's worst person -" in a given situation.

Well, yesterday, they were supposed to come up with the "World's worst person to be stuck on a lifeboat with" and Wayne stepped forward and said -

"Let me tell you about Amway"


Sagnik Nandy said...

for someone who writes like you it's a pity that you don't write more often :(

Me... said...

Came across ur Blog. It's just awesome. Read thro' the "Celestial Conversations" - cute. The "Just another Love Story" is probably the best short story I've read in a long time... Woah. You just won urself a Life-term fan.


P.S: Just wondering - R u still single. No I'm perfectly "Straight" - just wondering thatz all.

Kiran Mayee said...

I did get plagued by both Amway, Tupperware and now credit cards. Neighbourhood ladies invite to their house, and then starts the sales campaign. Once, one of classmates got angry cos I didnt attend the so called party at her house for some network product. And she didnt speak to me for days. Even now, she is not on speaking terms.

I am getting n number of calls, with people asking " mam, do you have a credit card? " and pity is that its all coming from the same number.

Today morning I got a call from a person saying that since I took a card from him, I should help his friend also by taking another card. Another type of sales.

Anonymous said...

A small request; I've just posted a short story and would like to know what you makew of it? Suggestions are always welcome; and sorry for being such a blog-gigolo ;)

If i'm not mistaken, I heard somebody telling me that there was going to be a blizzard of posts. Well, it seems like the weathermen aren't the only ones who get it wrong :P


badgirl said...

Nice blog ur stories are lovely.. today i felt that my quest for good reading stuff has added one more blog so keep posting

Suhail said...

Rajesh can you put your emailID on yr profile ? Or mail me at kazionline{AT}gmail{DAWT}com.

Gotta mail u.

You know me.... said...

I totall agree with Me... "You just won urself a Life-term fan".

You had won this fan long time ago when i read "Just Another Love Story"..... Its amazing! Don't have the words to appreciate...

Rajesh J Advani said...

Sagnik: Thanks for the words :) But posting as frequently as you do is not easy for us mere mortals :)

Me...: Thanks! Wow, for 'Life-term fan' :) Do come back to read more :)

Kiran Mayee: You seem to be plagued by the problem quite a bit, I see. I guess comparatively I've had it a lot better! All the best!

Rohit: If you're the Rohit I think you are, I did go and read your story. Commented too :) And no, advertising shouldn't be given that kind of name :) I'd probably be the most shameless samples of that kind, then :)
About the weatherman - I think he should not be blamed. Sometimes he thinks water thrown out of someone's window, is rain :)

Sunanda: Thanks a lot for the kind words. Will definitely keep posting, and will really try to increase the frequency. So do come back!

Suhail: Mailed you :) And the lack of email-id is because of the paranoia about spam.

You Know Me...: You've got me curious :) Who could you be? *scratching chin*
I do believe, sometimes though, that JALS is probably the only decent piece of fiction I've ever written. I feel I'm something like a one-hit wonder. Except that the word "wonder" is a bit of an exaggeration of course :)

Pradeep said...

ICICI's Moto is to "Get a customer dead or alive".
Its pain in the a$$.
And if u call ICICI telebanking i am sure that you will laugh at their theme song.
I am sick of ICICI services.