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?
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?
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?
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?