"Sure." I hold up the NiCad battery I need to replace so people can talk to me. "How much would it be for a new one of these?"
"Oh, easily $15.00." He finds one and demonstrates either that he can predict the future, or that the price of phone batteries is a fairly common question. As he hands me the new one, he asks, "How old is that?"
"Two or three years at least."
"So, probably a 900?"
"That's my guess."
"Well, you really should upgrade to a 2.4. We've got one here on sale for..."
"Thanks, but I'm not in the market for a new land line. This might just be a stop gap."
"Except that by the time you buy two of these batteries, you've already paid more than you would for a whole new phone."
"I guess that's something I'll have to live with."
"...and it's really easy for the police to pick up your signal with a 900. You really should upgrade."
"I hadn't really thought to discuss my illicit activities on my cordless, but I'll be sure to keep that in mind."
"Do you have an answering machine in your setup?"
"So you have to pay voicemail charges each month? That's just like throwing money in the toilet."
"Please let me reiterate. I need a battery. I'm not interested in a phone right now, and if you keep trying to sell me one, I'm sure I can find another place that will be happy to sell me just a $15.00 battery."
"Ok, well, I'm David. If you change your mind, I'l be over here."
"Thanks, Dave. If I need your help, I'll be sure to come running."
The worst part? He talked like Uncle Sam. I kid you not.