Do Not Pay to Get Pitched

03/03/2011 By Shawn Burns

Last night someone called me from the Hilton Honors Rewards Program. I am a member, though I haven’t been one for very long. I have yet to accumulate the amount of points I’d need in order to be comped a hotel stay on one of our thrice-yearly Disneyland trips. But I like the brand, so unlike my usual response to telemarketer calls in the evening, I let my new friend tell me about his offer.

Hilton, as it turns out, has a property on the Las Vegas strip. Woohoo! And? They were offering me, a valued Hilton Honors program member, the opportunity to stay at this property (a new one? an old one? I actually don’t remember….it was the offered one, so that’s what was important) for three days and two nights, all for the low-low cost of $199 plus tax. And all I would have to do to get this great deal is listen to a two hour presentation about the property and its vacation sales program.

“Ah,” I says to myself, “that’s what he wants.”

He was affable, friendly, and very excited about the chance to help me enjoy a short vacation in Las Vegas. I admit it was infectious. And before becoming a blogger and interacting with marketers and PR reps on a regular basis, I might have been inclined to take him up on it. After all, basically what he was telling me was that I could get a discount on a vacation in Vegas. Who doesn’t want a discount? And at the cost of two hours of my time it sure seemed like it could have been worth it. Who doesn’t want to go to Vegas?

Vegas baby!! Yeah!! Woo!! Let’s go party!

However, becoming a little more savvy about marketing has given me the following principle that arms me against the temptation of things like the Vegas!! Woohoo!! Discount!! excitement that an offer like this is supposed to engender in customers: DO NOT PAY TO GET PITCHED.

Do not pay to get pitched. Do not pay to get pitched. Do not pay to get pitched.

I told my new friend that, despite how great this offer sounded, and how exciting a trip to Vegas would be, I do not pay to get pitched. He was asking me to pay $199 plus tax for the opportunity to be sold a timeshare. The answer, I’m sorry, is no.

My new friend was a total pro, however, and he continued, undeterred. “You know what, Mr. Burns? I can respect that position. Let me check with my supervisor and see what I can do for you.” He came back a few seconds later with another offer: Three days and two nights for, not $199, but $99. Half off! Woohoo!! What a great discount. What a great offer! So I took it, yes?

No. Of course I didn’t take it.


I told him again that I don’t pay to get pitched. His offer sounded great and he was being very accommodating. But I was still going to be in the hole for the trip, and Hilton was going to be the beneficiary of that expense. No, no thank you. I do not pay to get pitched.

Another side conversation with a supervisor and my friend was back. Again, completely respectful, though conveniently ignoring the principle I’d established, he increased the offer: Three days and two nights for $99, a $100 Hilton credit to be used at any Hilton family hotel, a $50 card to be used for any purchases at the Vegas property during my stay, and $15 in casino chips. Surely now I was actually getting more than I was paying. Surely, now, I was no longer paying to be pitched. Surely, now, I could give over my credit card number. Surely.

No. Of course not. I have no plans to go to Vegas in the near future, so to take him up on his offer (and a really great offer for someone already making that trip) I was still going to be paying to get to Vegas. DO NOT PAY TO GET PITCHED. That’s hundreds of dollars in travel costs that I would be laying out because Hilton really wanted me to see their Vegas property and possibly buy a timeshare in it. Even with the $50 hotel credit and $15 in chips, I was still going to be paying money to be pitched.

I said no again. At this point I could hear the supervisor in the background feeding my new friend his lines, and I could tell that it just wasn’t making sense to him. Why wouldn’t this guy just take the great deal already?

Because I have a principle. What is my principle? DO NOT PAY TO GET PITCHED. I tried to explain, to my new friend, the principle by analogy. “Imagine you wanted to make me an offer over the phone. So you send me a letter and you say you want to make me an offer, but before you can do that you need me to pay to have a new phone line installed. I think I would say no.” Wouldn’t you say no? I DO NOT PAY TO GET PITCHED.

That is a principle I have in my life now, thanks to blogging.

But, I really do want to go to Vegas now that I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Vegas Baby!! Vegas is so awesome!!!!!!!!

I hope he calls back.