There’s a fine line between lots of things:
You get the point.
Here’s another that you might benefit from. There should be a thin line between what you believe and what you don’t when it comes to someone selling you anything, from an idea to a car.
For instance, should you pay the dealer prep? Now, don’t get upset if you’re a car salesperson. I’m just not convinced I should pay it. It’s not a scam — just good old-fashioned negotiating, right? Come on, it’s not like we don’t get stereotyped!
The more overt scams are really easy to pick apart — for most of us — but they’re alive and well because of us dumb humans and our sense of gullibility.
The Nigerian princess doesn’t have $36.5 million, of which she is willing to part with 25 percent for your help moving the money into your account. Most of us know that. Amazing enough, not all of us know that.
What about the more subtle cons, lies and other untruths that people hand you? For instance, after a hail storm, there’s the guy who shows up at the door that evening saying he’s in the roofing business but doesn’t have any business cards or, worse, has the generic ones that have a business name and a cell number. Or, or even worse, he has an index card with his phone number written in Crayon. Is that the guy you hire? (The answer is not “no” — not yet anyway.)
Fly-by-night, low-grade scams are everywhere — not so much for the big score, but for a few hundred dollars here and there.
Get in the habit of forming an opinion that you won’t form an opinion until the “seller” does or says something that gives you the evidence of “yes” or “no.”
Yep, skepticism is the great equalizer against the con or the shady sale. Silence is awkward when talking to a stranger. I say live on the edge and create that awkward moment, forcing the reaction on the part of the other guy.
I’m not saying everyone pitching something is crooked. You don’t own anything without a salesperson selling it, right? (But I still don’t understand the “dealer prep” charge.) What I am saying is you shouldn’t agree with something just to be polite.
If you don’t understand something, stop, enjoy the awkward silent moment, then scrunch up your eyebrows and say: “Could you explain that again?” Or better, use the dreaded word: “Why?”
A good salesperson has the facts to back it up.
Door-to-door sales is where you practice this new-found skepticism. That does not include the Girl Scouts. Just buy the cookies. You don’t want problems from angry mothers repelling in your window after failing to make the quota on Thin Mints.
Solicitors are the ones offering to sell furniture cleaner that really vaporizes your furniture polish. For that guy, practice the first rule of criminal investigations: Cool sunglasses. After that, practice the second rule of criminal investigations, which is to remain skeptical about what you’re being sold until you believe it to be true. That will most likely weed out the amateurs and leave you with a new-found appreciation for the awkward moment and the word “why.”
Here’s a scenario you can rehearse to get yourself prepared:
Now, someone explain why we have to pay the dealer prep!