A plain packaged health warning
Growing up we educate our children about ‘stranger danger’. We tell little girls and boys, beware the man with the sweetie and for the most part, children heed our warnings. I also learnt quite young that I needed to be wary of car salesmen as I got older. Apparently used car salesmen were worse than new car salesmen – well so I thought for they were mentioned more frequently in everyday conversation. The real estate agent was another where I needed to have my A-game. That was the trifecta. Strangers, car salesmen and real estate agents. Limited exposure to these people was going to protect me from evil.
My mother failed me.
There is a fourth just as deadly character. It generally comes in plain packaging. Unlike the car salesman, this guy doesn’t usually drip gold. In fact he’s often quite drab. He’s got the plain shirt and pants thing happening – not quite descript enough to approximate Billy Connolly’s beige people – but nothing too out there. So he’s a little hard to spot from a crowd but don’t worry you’ll be able to detect him by his distinctive call. For he calls often. Worse than a piranha after a month on a tofu and lemon curd diet, this guy grabs hold of your ankle and doesn’t let up. I speak of the software salesman.
Given I’ve been through several software tenders recently, I feel able to give you advice on how to spot this particular menace. Here’s my tips:
- He does not understand the subtleties of the English language. Actually, he doesn’t understand English. Period. This evil carnivore who has had one too many soya bean sandwiches doesn’t absorb words like ‘I’ll call you when I’ve made a decision.’
- He is particularly hungry towards the end of the financial year. My bad… why oh why didn’t I start my software shopping in July?
- Any decently evil software salesman worth his salt has to throw in a few disparaging remarks about his competitors.
- Lastly, he learnt math from the car salesman. Divide all his numbers by 4 and you may have something approximating a decent price.