Shortly after our daughter was born we received an invitation to dinner and a seminar on baby safety. Since we were graduate students at the time and hardly ever went to restaurants, and the safety of our baby was a new concern, thus we gladly accepted. While the free dinner and the safety aspects of the evening were emphasized in the invitation, information about the sponsor of the seminar-- Babee Tenda, a company which at that time sold its products only through those seminars, was scarce.
The seminar was held at a local restaurant; after a perfunctory dinner we sat down to listen to the seminar. This turned out to be a demonstration, more of a sale pitch, promoting a multi-purpose product named Babee Tenda. This invention was uniquely designed to fulfil all the needs of the growing baby all the while keeping him/her safe. No wonder that at the end of the evening we signed up to buy the miracle product.
The Babee Tenda product was expensive, and as graduate students we really couldn’t afford it, so why did we commit ourselves to buy it?
The answer is simple: we were young, inexperienced and away from our family back in Israel –in short, an easy prey for an aggressive marketing ploy, which is what that seemingly innocuous experience actually was.
Sitting through the"seminar,”I became icreasingly uneasy, at the time I didn’t have a way to interpret it because I had never experienced such a talk before. Later on when my husband and I shared what we felt it transpired that we both attributed that unease to the fact that we had been unprepared to guarantee the safety of our baby and felt guilty about it. Thus as the safety of our precious baby was our outmost consideration, and we had been negligent in securing it, suddenly money was no object.
We later realized that this unfamiliar feeling of growing unease was actually stress which we felt as a result of the pressure from the sale representative. The whole atmosphere was one of urgency, we were never left alone to compare our impressions and there was no time for us to discuss our decision.
Somehow not allowing us to make our mind together all the while pushing us to decide then and there distanced us from one another and ultimately weakened us. In that microcosm each one of us thought that the other really wanted the product and did not wish to be the one jeopardizing our baby’s safety.
After we signed the papers we finally went home; it was a huge relief as though we were set free. When we got home we shared the experience with our friends who stayed with our baby. They were older, wiser and had much more experience, but still we were not prepared for their reaction, they looked at each other and burst out laughing. They told us that they got all their baby furniture for a fraction of the price, and all that equipment met safety regulations. "Maybe Baby Tenda is the best in the market" they said "but you guys drive a used Ford, surely your baby doesn’t need a new Cadillac.”
The following day we cancelled the purchase, we were relieved to see how easy it was, this too was a new experience for us.
From that day on the name Babee Tenda became in our family a keyword for intimidating marketing techniques. And one more thing, we never attended free dinner seminars and other promotions.