In order to satisfy some important educational objective in my freshman year of college, I took a course titled “Art Appreciation”. It was not a good fit for me, as beauty was not in the medium on a classic piece of art painstakingly cobbled together by one of the masters, rather a goggle eye just removed from a Big Piney root wad or a nice buck that drifted a little too close to my deer rifle de jour on a frosty fall morning. Madonna never caught my eye quite like a cute high school classmate as we loaded up for a movie date under the disapproving eye of her mother. The Masters and I do not agree on the definition of art. Probably never will.
Now we live in a world of perspectives, a fifty cent word for “spin”. I suppose we have politics to blame for never really knowing where the truth is these days, but the spin game is played daily. Consider the following masters of spin.
First up, we have realtors. Now to my realtor friends out there, do not be offended by this unmasking of the tricks of your trade. After all, the final decision needs to be made by the buyer and not based on one of the crazy distorted photos that are so prevalent today. There is wizardry in making a shoe box kitchen, with a hot plate for a stove, look like Emeril Lagasse’s kitchen. Realtors are becoming even more creative with the use of drones where a sink hole looks like a manicured lawn and the sunset shades a house that Herman Munster once rejected. They can make ditches go away and the word “rustic” conjure up thoughts of a lakeside cabin and biscuits just coming out of the oven. They are masters at staging a home, to hide the occasional flaw, with expensive furniture as well as providing direction to bring freshly baked cookies out of the oven as the clients drive up. “Quaint” is another word that suggests beauty and comfort…..in what might have been a chicken coop. No offense intended guys, but you are masters of illusion.
Next we have car salesmen. You might be looking at a 10 year old rust bucket, with the exhaust pipe wired to the bumper, but if you show interest, the salesman can assure you the car is a fine “local commuter” or errand car for around town. They will tell you they offer a “limited” 30 day warranty, point out the glass is all good and a seat cover or two will keep your butt off the springs. By the way, they are also very handy with the camera and hype. A little “surface rust” or “one owner” are handy fill ins for a car that may not make it off the lot under it’s own power. The bottom line is that if you show interest, they know how to maximize your interest. A good salesman only needs your perception to close the deal.
Finally, let’s talk optometrist offices. This week I had a lens surreptitiously fall out of my glasses. After realizing that I was not having a stroke, and finding the lens, I popped into my optometrists office to replace the offending screw. The conversations around me where hilarious. Folks who can’t see very well were attempting to pick out frames for new glasses. Never do this alone, especially if you can barely see the wall the frames are displayed on. People wear strange frames, some colorful, some God awful in shape and size, and some that defy any degree of normalcy, at least to the casual observer. It matters not. If you pick out a pair of chartreuse frames with Turkey vultures on the ear-piece and alligator skin nose pieces, the clerk will tell you how good they look on you. When your glasses arrive at a meeting about ten minutes ahead of you, the wearer, you have a glasses salesperson to thank. Again, never do this alone.
Today, we live as never before in a world of spin. Remember this advice. If you are listening to a person that was elected to his or her position, if you are buying something based on perception as opposed to utility, be careful. I try to choose dealing with folks like my physicians, people who tell it like it is, with warmth and honesty. We have been exceedingly fortunate to have several real estate agents who were ruthlessly honest and we generally buy new vehicles, based on research and expert opinion from sources other than sales staff. The last pair of glasses that I buy will be under the approving eye of Sharon, knowing full well she will not let me get out of there with a pair of clown specs perched on my nose. Today, more than ever before, the truth is elusive.
Have a good weekend.