And we’re back. In this episode of Seinfeld, Kramer is dating a “low talker” (someone who talks extremly low, to the point where you can’t hear what they are saying at all). While out to dinner, Leslie, the low talker, gets Jerry to unknowingly agree to wear a ridiculous shirt on TV that she designed. In this scene, Jerry and Kramer are now talking about this dinner exchange (the episode quote below is longer than normal, but I wanted to keep it in all its glory):
KRAMER: You’re not going to believe what is happening with Leslie. You know, ever since you agreed to wear the puffy shirt on the Today show, she’s been getting all these orders from boutiques and department stores.
JERRY: Uh-huh. (Finally realizes what Kramer said, he looks up) Since I said what?
KRAMER: Agreed to wear the puffy shirt. (Starts unzipping the suit cover)
JERRY: What are you talking about?
KRAMER: When you said that you’d agree to wear the puffy shirt on the Today show. (Takes the ridiculous puffy shirt out of the cover)
JERRY: (Goes up to it) This?
JERRY: I agreed to wear this?!
KRAMER: Yeah, yeah.
JERRY: But, when did I do that?
KRAMER: When we went to dinner the other night.
JERRY: What are you, crazy?!
KRAMER: What were you talking about when I went to the bathroom?
JERRY: I don’t know! I couldn’t understand a word she was saying! I was just nodding!
KRAMER: There you go.
JERRY: Where I go? You mean she was asking me to wear this ridiculous shirt on national TV, and I said ‘Yes’?!
KRAMER: Yes, yes! You said it!
JERRY: But, I – I didn’t know what she was talking about. I couldn’t hear her!
KRAMER: (Takes it off the hook, and starts walking toward Jerry with it. He backs defensively backs away from it) Well, she asked you.
JERRY: I – I can’t wear this puffy shirt on TV! I mean, look at it! It looks ridiculous!
KRAMER: Well, you gotta wear it now! All those stores are stocking it based on the condition that you’re gonna wear this on the TV show! The factory in New Jersey is already making them!
JERRY: They’re making these?!
KRAMER: Yes, yes. This pirate trend that she’s come up with, Jerry, – this is gonna be the new look for the 90’s. You’re gonna be the first pirate!
JERRY: (Like a little kid) But, I don’t want to be a pirate!
The difference with today’s business world and the above quote is that instead of customers siding with Jerry and not wanting to a pirate, many business are taking up swords and donning an eye patch and in the process making huge profits by being the low talking pirates themselves. But instead of being like a pirate of old who boards your ship in broad daylight and takes all that you have, many business are sneaking in the night and taking small amounts away from you and everyone else with a $1.00 convenience fee here and a $2 ATM fee there. Low talking pirate companies have also used confusing cell phone bills and tried to slide in fees in the fine print to make an extra buck.
It seems that low talking is big business. In fact, recently it has been estimated that Americans pay anywhere from $750 to $946 a year on low talking tactics and gimmicks. Many businesses (including banks) are making bank.
The take away: If what you are after is repeat business, don’t practice low talking piracy. Trust, openness and over-delivering will optimize your customer’s experience and not leave them feeling pillaged or plundered.
This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.