Case study

A short time after I had my dedicated business line installed, I began to be plagued by all sorts of companies trying to sell me things I didn't want. Some of the businesses go to enormous lengths to disguise that they're trying to sell you anything. One day a lady phoned asking me whether or not I took credit cards. When I told her I didn't, she asked why. Trying not to show my increasing irritation, I told her we only took cash or cheques and enquired what it was she wanted me to do for her. As I suspected, she was trying to sell me the latest credit card processing gismo. I had to listen to a painful reading from her pre-prepared script, which outlined all the reasons why I should invest in such a thing, but she never once asked me whether or not my business had a bank account.

Trying to stop her was like trying to eradicate a nasty dose of ground elder - virtually impossible. When I finally managed to tell her that I did not want whatever it was that she was selling, she replied by slamming the phone down.

Interruptions like these are commonplace when running your own business. Get used to it, people will call you all the time trying to sell you something.

Until that lady's call, I had never had someone ask me whether we took credit cards. Two days later the phone rang again. 'Hello, do you take credit cards?'

Cautiously and resisting the urge to bite her head off, I told her we didn't. 'Oh not to worry. Do you take cheques?'

Still convinced this was another selling tactic, I told her rather abruptly that we did. 'Great,' she replied. 'I need a lot of work done in my garden and everyone I've phoned so far is insisting on cash only.'

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