Did You Really Just Ask Me That?

Inspired by my success in changing cable and internet providers and feeling liberated from fear (fear of my cable company? See the last post.), I got brave and called around to shop for a better deal on car insurance. I know this sounds ridiculous.  It is something that grace-filled people do all the time…shop for what they need, at the best price without being encumbered by fear and guilt.  I just hated the idea of the inevitable conversation where you have to fire your old insurance company.  Not only do I not like conflict, I go to great lengths to avoid it.  When you’ve spent your entire life trying to cover up who you are, conflict is your worst nightmare…it might actually expose you as the failure and fraud you think you are.

Back to car insurance…so flying high on the cable episode, I spent four and a half hours on the phone calling three different companies and comparing quotes.  It really takes a lot of time when you own six vehicles, but the six vehicles are a whole blog series on their own.  At the end of the process I made a decision that would save us $65 per month, almost $800 per year.  I was so excited I was almost giddy.

The next morning I called my current car insurance company to let them know I needed to cancel my policy.  The conversation went something like this:

Me:    Good morning.  Yes, you can help me.  I need to cancel my current car insurance. 

Car Insurance Lady:         Well we are so sorry to hear that you are leaving us.  May I ask why?

Me:    Well, I called around and was able to find the exact same coverage for almost $800 per year less. (It took me an hour of prayer and rehearsal to get that sentence out on the phone without hyperventilating).

Car Insurance Lady:         Wow, are you sure the coverages are the same because I know that our rates are pretty competitive?

Me:    Yes, my coverages are exactly the same.

Car Insurance Lady:         Well, did you speak to someone here to make sure you are getting our best rate?

[Eyeballs popping out of my head, steam coming out of my ears, blood pressure rising]

Me:    Are you actually telling me that I have been a good customer for five years and I have to call you and ask to get your best rate?  Why wouldn’t you be giving me your best rate to begin with?  Why would anyone have to call and ask not to be overcharged?  Who would sign up to be ripped off???? 

This conversation happened a while ago and I am still steamed.  However, the more I’ve thought about it the more I’ve asked myself, do I only give the people in my life my best when it is profitable for me?  Do I force them to come to me and ask for my best?  What level of “service” do I provide when it actually costs me something to serve other people?  What does that do to the people I love?

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3 thoughts on “Did You Really Just Ask Me That?

  1. Love reading this! And your inner dialogue is so familiar. So glad you started a blog – and so happy to meet you with Melissa last week!

    • Thank you so much for visiting my humble “home”. It was such a pleasure to meet you and your amazing father and mother as well. I thought about it later and wondered if you might occasionally feel like you have stalkers. Let’s face it when you meet people for the first time and they begin talking to you like they live right next door has to feel a little awkward. Thank you for being so gracious! #happydance

  2. lizajanie says:

    I had this exact same experience negotiating rates for a new PR database for my organization two years ago. When I finalized the deal, the current company that serviced our account asked why I didn’t come to them for a comparable quote. Mind you, this service cost more $10K per year. The question so infuriated me (for the same reasons you mention above) that I came up with an entirely new approach for quote solicitation this year. Instead of me trying to determine what was best and who was providing the most cost-effective quote, I pit the three companies against one another in an atmosphere of transparency and brutal honesty. It actually became FUN watching each of the sales reps attempt their customary tactics which, in this environment, no longer worked. Instead of the fear and dread of making a wrong decision, the process enabled me to say what I needed, provide a deadline for a response and then watch them sweat it out. The results? A fantastic product at a bottom-line price with little involvement on my part. The strange thing is that, at the beginning of the process, it was actually scary. I was somewhat intimidated by the boldness and transparency necessary to pull off such a plan. But in the end I felt empowered, in control of the process and assured that I had been a good steward of that which was entrusted to me. Isn’t it strange that, initially, this would feel scary and uncomfortable? Why do we associate “nice and kind” with “don’t rock the boat” and “doormat?” Praise God you saw the truth and acted on it, Kim. So liberating. GREAT post!! I pray it will inspire others to do likewise.

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