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Ghost of Sam Post

August 2008 - Posts

  • The Continuing Saga of Rot

    In the continuing mess of “oh when will this house ever sell?” I decided to make the house more salable by fixing that which needed to be fixed. These past few days my labors centered around fixing the areas of the outside invaded by wood rot. Fortunately, the siding is simple wood paneling. Over the years the water causes the bottom of the wood to rot, and this must be replaced from time to time. Basically, I cut about a foot off the bottom portion of the wood siding and replaced it with new paneling. A quick coat of paint and we’re done. I was also fortunate to discover that the wood underneath the outside plywood was still intact – no rot – so I didn’t have to replace any of that. Of course, if I was dealing with a realtor who knew how to communicate, I might have elected to not do any of this work. The house is being sold “as is”, meaning that the buyer will accept whatever is there. But, I was never given a copy of the contract – or the addendum – so I went ahead and fixed what I thought I ought to fix because I have self-respect and I wouldn’t want to “stick” anyone with a substandard building. I may have done more than I should have, but I’ll sleep better knowing that I did what was right. I guess this attitude comes from being in business for many years; I’ve come to know that if you treat someone well, they will come back again. If you treat someone shabbily, they will never return. You would have burned a bridge. My thoughts on the matter have always been: Do right by me and I’ll tell everyone I know; do wrong by me and I’ll tell twice as many people. I believe that if a person does a good job, if he was fair with you, if he gave you a good product or service, if he kept you informed – with explanation, then he has done “right” by you. He deserves to be pointed out as a great vendor and word of mouth advertising by satisfied people should keep him in business. Conversely, if a businessman has not done any of the above services for the client, but has instead caused the client to feel disconnected in some way, then I say that this vendor should be shown for the misdeeds that he has perpetrated. This so that other people will not be “screwed”.

    Tipping is a similar situation. When we “tip” a service person, we are tacitly saying that they pleased us with their service. Maybe they went the extra step, did more than they were required to do, or pointed out a two-for-one sale that we didn’t see. These people deserve our thanks. But, how many times have we gone into a restaurant and gotten bad food, or been ignored, or had to endure a lousy attitude from some service person? Do these people also deserve a tip? I think not. Tipping is extra money that we pay for extra good service. If there is no extra service (even a genuine smile may qualify) then why should there be extra pay? I’ve heard that waitpeople (isn’t that a stupid word?) get paid so poorly that they depend upon tips to round out their pay so that they can make a living. Sounds good – for them. But, if you’ve received bad service, there is no reason to reward such people. Service people are in a position to earn a lot more money if they produce. This is very fair, those who produce more should get more; those who produce less should get less. If you tip bad service, that is what you will be supporting and that’s what everyone will get.

    Years ago, when I was raising a family, I decided that I would purchase some records of classical music so that my children would be exposed to it. There was a commercial on the TV at the time advertising all the great composers, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. In the background there were small clips of each composer, just a few seconds of each so that you could hear a sampling of what you were about to order. I ordered the records thinking that I had done something good. A few weeks later the records arrived and I hurriedly unpacked my purchase and headed for the stereo (that’s a thing that plays those large black discs with the small hole in the middle). What I heard was the same music that I heard on the commercial, just a few seconds of each artist; there wasn’t a complete musical piece on any of the records. Yes, they sent me what they were playing on the ad. I got screwed and as a result, I will never buy anything by mail. Same deal with magazines. You subscribe to a magazine that you enjoy so that you will get it every month. Okay. But supposing that you want to cancel it at a later time? Or, you buy something like a magazine that you haven’t seen before and, after seeing the first issue, you decide that you don’t want it. You have to go through Hell to cancel the subscription. Used to be in the old days that if you didn’t pay for something, you didn’t get it. Today, they keep sending the items and they keeping billing you. You lose all the way around. You have a product that you don’t want and you have to pay for it too. Lesson learned, never buy anything that you can’t walk into a store and pick it up yourself.

    My question, and I bet it’s yours too, is how are these companies able to get away with these business tactics? You would think that there would be laws to protect consumers from these unscrupulous companies. We have so many stupid laws for so many ridiculous things that it is logical to think that somewhere along the way some lawmaker would present a law that would actually help the public. I guess all lawmakers should be required to buy those same records that I bought years ago. Then we would see some progress. So says Sam Post.

    Posted Aug 11 2008, 06:41 PM by Sam Post with 4 comment(s)
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  • Bureaucratic Buffalo Chips

    As most of you (that is, both of you) know, we are trying to sell our house and move to another location. The process of selling a house was always fraught with Donkey Dust but nowadays it is even worse. I can understand that there is a sequence of events that must happen, but it is so blown out of proportion that an honest person is completely lost. You see, no one in this “game” is honest. No one says what they mean and no one speaks directly to the person who they mean to hear the message. Communication is all but non-existent. Instead, there is a chain of people between buyer and seller that pervert the message. Do you remember the child’s game called “telephone”? This is where each person whispers the message into the ear of the next person and finally the message gets to the last person. But, because of all the people in between the first and last persons, the message becomes all distorted. Well, that’s what it’s like trying to sell a house. Of course, there are those individuals that can’t speak clearly and they need an interpreter. I’m not talking about foreigners here. Then a middleman may be the only way to get things done, but, if there are two relatively intelligent people who are trying to transact a deal, then the middlemen are a hindrance.

    Then there are the institutions that are involved in any Real Estate transaction. They include banks, insurance companies, inspectors, appraisers, bug investigators, etc. From what I’ve seen in the past few months, all of these entities act like they are doing the customer a favor just to talk to them. I get the impression that they do not want the customer. Everyone is treated like a criminal who must prove beyond any doubt (reasonable or not) that they will fulfill their obligation – and give their first born as collateral. Mmmm, maybe that part is not a bad thing. It used to be that a company would welcome a prospective customer, work along with him/her and help iron out the details. It was called “service”, something that is entirely lacking these days. Decades ago we were a manufacturing nation, we produced all the things needed for living, and we had pride in ourselves as a people and as a nation. Then we were told that we are changing to a service nation, in which the emphasis was on taking care of the customer – it never took hold – there was never any real “service”. Then we were told that we are in the information age. What a crock; information was always available if the person took the time to seek it. So now we have no manufacturing, no service, and useless information (what good is information if a person doesn’t use it?). I say we now are in the Slug age. This is where most people just sit around like slugs on a log.

    Now I know what Diogenes felt like. Okay, for those who are looking at the screen funny, Diogenes was a character from long ago who’s quest was to find an honest man. I guess even in the days of the ancient Greeks people were just as dishonest as they are today. It is very frustrating to act honestly and with alacrity and then find yourself so far ahead of the other people (slugs) involved in the transaction. An honest person does in minutes what a bureaucrat does in months. What’s the point in dragging something on for months? All it does is piss off everyone and the deal may go sour because of it. It is frightening to think that some of these bureaucrats may be ambulance drivers, or surgeons. How would you feel if you were in need of medical services and you had to depend on bureaucrats? Actually, that is the case because very, very few people care about others’ comfort or lives. Why do they call them “emergency rooms” when a person in dire need has to spend hours sitting, waiting to be seen? How many people die needlessly in emergency rooms because of endless paperwork and other bureaucratic nonsense?

    There are endless examples of stupidity in our society. All that is necessary to cure this stupidity is to just stop doing what we are doing and to act honestly with each other. But then all government workers would be out of a job. I think this cure is too lofty for our society; we are heading in the wrong direction. We are getting more dishonest all the time. I’ll bet that Diogenes is still searching for an honest man.

    One of my favorite examples of stupidity is the “paper reduction act”. This is the process by which they use ten pieces of paper to tell you that they are saving one piece of paper. Are they kidding? Do they really think that people are stupid enough to believe them? Probably not, bureaucrats of any stripe don’t care enough about people to consider the effects that are put upon the population. That’s probably why the bureaucrats keep screwing up things; they never look down to see who they are stepping on.

    Since we in a declining society, the “end” can’t be too far off. I don’t know how we will destroy ourselves, but it is inevitable. My guess is that we will continue to ruin our own society, thus turning this country into a type of third world toilet, while the other nations of the world take over the task of manufacturing, etc. America will be given away little by little while other nations become strong doing what we used to do when we started this country. What of the people of America? Well, by the time the balance of power shifts to other nations, the American people will have been dumbed down to the point of not even noticing what is happening to them. Hell, most people in our country don’t see it happening now! So says Sam Post.

    Posted Aug 07 2008, 06:29 PM by Sam Post with no comments
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