Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)
TITLE: BIG CITY MOVE
By Emily Blakely
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“Hello, my name is Robert Greer, and I sell a very high-quality cookware. I would like to give you a demonstration. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, but I would like to have the opportunity to show it to you. What do you say?”
Neither of them having “assets” to speak of, they decided to see the cookware. An appointment was set.
As scheduled, the young salesman appeared at their apartment. Cookware unloaded, the demonstration began. “This 12-piece set of stainless steel cookware is new technology,” he began, as the glint of stainless caught their eyes. “It’s called waterless cooking but requires a minimal amount of water, cooking by steam with a perfect lid seal. Notice the smooth pan interior, no screws visible to catch food particles and harbor bacteria!”
Their look said, Oo-oo, good stuff.
The pitch continued, “This stainless is Volsgrath, surgical steel. Best available.” To demonstrate its durability, he stood on a pot, jumped up and down leaving not a mark or dent. Impressive.
As each piece was shown, Robert emphasized its versatility for healthy cooking.
“What does the set cost?” Marcia inquired.
“The price is only $389, but you don’t have to pay it all now, you can make payments. Plus, included is this set of china.” He displays a lovely china piece, white with a rose pattern.
“That is included, same price? Cookware and china?” Wide-eyed Amy asked.
“Oh yes, but that’s not all. This very nice set of flatware is yours as well, and notice the rose pattern matches the china. All this is yours for only $389, and you can make payments. You just have to pay 10% down tonight and sign this contract. It’s a great investment.”
The salesman began to pack up his wares, leaving the girls alone to decide whether to buy or not. Both agreed that all the items would be useful, especially when they start their own homes, which they hoped would not be too far in the future.
Contracts signed, Amy and Marcia felt pride in making their first major decisions. $389 was a lot on their minimum wage incomes, but the payments seemed affordable.
They were eager to share their decisions with their parents, but a phone call later that very same evening tarnished the glow for them. From her brother’s advice, Amy had bought a life insurance policy from the reputable company he had used. The agent, Mr. Lewis, called to discuss insurance matters with Amy, and took time to offer some fatherly advice. “This city is much different from the small town you came from, and I want to worn you of some dangers.” First thing Mr. Lewis mentioned was street vendors selling cookware.
Amy’s throat tightened, forcing words to tell him about the contracts. He advised since they were under-age they could not be held to such contracts, and they should tell him they were not going to buy the products. Mr. Lewis explained how the interest would drive the cost much higher than the products were worth. He also told her if they had any trouble from the salesman she should let him know.
Next day Amy called Robert. No longer friendly, he erupted in anger when told they were not going through with the purchase. Amy held firm through his intimidating words.
3:00 a.m. days later, the phone rang. Robert railed at Amy with threats and cursings. Amy clicked the receiver down, then searched for Mr. Lewis’ number and dialed.
“Mr. Lewis, I’m sorry to bother you at this hour, but...” Amy sobbed, “Robert just called with threats.”
“Amy, that is harassment. He won’t get by with this, you leave it to me.”
Robert gave no more threats, and thanks to Mr. Lewis, both contracts were voided. This first hard lesson of life left Amy and Marcia feeling humble but less gullible, and grateful for such a good friend as Mr. Lewis and their guardian angels.
Author’s note: A true story, though names have been changed; mine in particular.
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