On Monday, after a long day of work and roughly a week’s worth of late nights, I came home and eased myself down on the floor with Blackbird. This was my way of hanging out with daughter while expending little to no energy. She seemed to like it, so I felt OK that I was not providing much in the way of physical activity. While I was languishing on the floor, someone knocked on our front door. I answered and was met by a representative of Alarm Monitoring Protection (AMP). He had a clipboard, an ID badge, and seemed a bit winded. It was around 6:30pm, so that makes sense. I’m sure it had been a long day.
We were both tired. But unlike him, I wasn’t trying to pay people to lie to their neighbors.
After asking some questions about whether there were a lot of homeowners in the area, he asked me if I’d be interested in displaying an AMP sign in my lawn. He explained that this would help their sales team, because people are more willing to buy what they’ve seen before. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that AMP would “help us with a need in the home” as compensation for our help. This would be our help making AMP look like it had some customers to give people the impression that they are an established provider in our area. All of this made sense from a sales and marketing perspective. At first glance, it’s a pretty clever tactic. However, there are two key flaws:
1) Your big sales technique is to introduce your brand as “the alarm company that pays neighbors to lie to each other”? Really? Really. Who in their right mind would use a security service provider whose first community contact involves incentives to foster outright deception within that community? Not just “we are lying” but “we can lie together“. And I think that’s an apt way to phrase it, too.
2) You are asking me to lie to my neighbors. I like my neighbors. Fuck you. Go away.
Now, one could respond to my disbelief and distaste by suggesting that their compensation would be free installation of their alarm service, which would then make the sign a signifier of an actual customer and not a deception. The thing is: he never offered that. He used a slippery phrase that didn’t promise alarm service. Of course, because I said ‘no thanks’, he responded with “So, security’s not a priority for you?” which one could take as an implication that he wanted to give me service. But, again, he never said that. Also, there’s a difference between getting paid to do something and paying to do it.
Because I was so beat, I just brushed him off and closed the door. I’d like to think that I would’ve pressed him further on the deception issue had I not just wanted to lie back down. But I guess we’ll never know. I encourage others to do so, however. I’m curious to hear their response.
The whole thing just seemed like a miscalculation, or perhaps a pitch aimed at more desperate homeowners who smell much-needed free money. I don’t know. I also don’t know what AMP thinks it’s doing. But it sure as hell won’t ever be doing it at my house.