What I Learned In Sales, Pt. 2: Surprising Money Things People Say

As my time in sales comes to a close (hopefully forever!), I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned here. Last week I wrote about how getting to know the Joneses will keep you from wanting to keep up with them.

Today I’m pulling a few examples from my daily interactions with customers that have shown me: It’s surprising how being smart with your money seems to put you in the minority.

Day in and day out, this is what I hear, see, and say. I really have learned a lot from talking to people, and applying common sense. The thing about working at a cell phone store is that it attracts a really wide demographic of customers, and so I feel like I’ve gotten a wide cross section of people to talk to. Sometimes what they say and how they think is really surprising to me.


People want to buy more even when they owe.
Cust: I’m angry that just because I’m behind on my bill I can’t upgrade to a new phone!
Me: Gosh, I’m sorry… I guess the thinking is that if you can afford to buy a new phone, you should pay the bill for services already rendered…

People think that old debts just go away on their own.
Cust: I can’t believe that just because I owe y’all money from an account I closed years ago, I can’t add new lines of service.
Me: I’m sorry… I guess the thinking is that if you still owe us money from last time, you should pay that before you start owing us again.

People think that if they don’t like the product or service they received, they shouldn’t have to pay for it, even once it’s been consumed/used/damaged.
Cust: I owe another carrier money but their service sucks so I’m not going to pay it.
Me: Yikes! That might negatively affect your credit score.
Cust: They can kiss my *expletive*.
Me: Ooooookayyyyy

They think a little bit of loyalty should go a long way.
Cust: I’ve been loyal to this company for over a year! I can’t believe I can’t get a new phone/service/whatever for free!
Me: (What I’m thinking) Sir, many of our customers have been with us for over 20 years and even they still have to pay for the things they buy. (What I say, hoping to force them to realize how foolish this is) Oh geez! I wish I could! If it were up to me, everything would be free for everybody!

Parents are afraid of their kids.
Cust: I’ve been driving all over the city looking for this. If I don’t come home with ___ phone in ___ exact color and size, my child is going to kill me!
Me: Umm, what.

People pay a lot for convenience.
Cust: I lost my phone and I need a new phone right this second. (It’s 8pm.)
Me: Well, the good news is that you have insurance. If you call them before 10pm, you’ll have a new phone delivered to you by 10am tomorrow morning. It only costs $99.
Cust: I can’t wait that long! I’ll just buy a new phone now. I don’t care that it’ll cost $650 +tax!

People want to do whatever “everyone else” is doing.
Me: Which color phone do you like?
Cust: Well, what does everyone else get? What do you have?
Me: Well I have the black one, but you’re the one that’s going to use it for two years, not me.
Cust: Well if you have the black, that’s what I’ll get, too.

And so I’ll leave you with these examples. I could go on and on. I know we’re all generally like-minded here in the PFblog community in that we try to be smart about our money, but sometimes the best way to learn is to get an outside perspective from those different from ourselves.

What are some of the most surprising money things you’ve heard people say?

17 thoughts on “What I Learned In Sales, Pt. 2: Surprising Money Things People Say

  1. Oh my goodness, Chela, that was hilarious! πŸ˜€

    I’ve never worked in retail, but my son has. He would tell me stories all the time about the things people would do or say. For instance, he worked in the camera section of Best Buy, and customers would ask for his opinion. He’d tell them that camera “A” took pictures that were rather low quality and blurry, but camera “B” took awesomely high quality and clear pictures. A large majority would pick camera “A” anyway because it was shiny and red. πŸ˜›

    I love this series, Chela! I’m enjoying it so much. Human nature is such a fascinating subject and you’re making it so much fun! πŸ™‚


    • It’s incredible how people do that, isn’t it? Glad you’re liking the series. I’ve learned so much here, it’s tough to condense it down, but it’s been a good exercise for me.


    • Gosh, but I feel like credit doesn’t have to be the enemy, but a lot of people certainly abuse it. I’m working my way out of debt but am hoping to never go down that road again!


    • Isn’t it weird? But I feel like once they’re at that point, it’s almost beyond fixing… I don’t even know what to say to people like that! I try to make a snarky response hahaha in hopes that it’ll zing them and they’ll go home and think about it, but honestly I doubt it helps.


  2. Ugh, this makes me cringe!!! Sheep to the slaughter, you know? The kid one especially drives me nuts. So many people forget who’s supposed to be in charge!


  3. This is so true, and pretty hilarious πŸ™‚ People wanting to buy more even when they owe really baffles me but I figure some people must truly enjoy spending money.


    • Not being able to buy a phone with a pending balance on the account is kind of a new policy and people get SO ANGRY. They shout, “but I’m going to pay the bill next Friday, when I get paid!” and I’m like… So about that money in your hand…?


  4. The quotes are hysterical and sad at the same time! I always hate to hear parents say they are afraid of their children. Who’s the boss??? Indulging your children only leads to spoil children who have no concept of living within their means because they have never heard the word no before.


    • Tell me about it. Don’t even get me started on “the need” to buy 3 year olds iPads, 7 year olds the latest smart phone and teenagers phone after phone when they break. I don’t even know what to say to people like that…


  5. I’m in the customer service field also as a HR Manager in the military and it is amazing how customers act and people on the job in an office setting. I have learned never to allow other peoples bad behavior evoke my emotions or change who I am. Happy Holidays.


    • I mean, I try to learn from everyone I meet, and sometimes having a wider perspective of the financial mistakes some people make helps me stay focused with my own resolve.


  6. Pingback: What I Learned in Sales Pt. 3: It’s Hard to Not Lose Yourself | SmashOdyssey

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