“Well, I paid the Honda dealer $700 today.”
“What for? I thought it was a simple oil change.”
“He told me all four tires had to be replaced.”
I told her there had been plenty of tread on those tires, admitting to my readers I’m not telling you what other words I used to characterize the car dealer’s…
A. …taking advantage of a woman tactic.
B. …con job.
I haven’t brought the car to the dealer since. We did stop by before we bought the Jeep. We were considering buying a new Honda Element. But the salesman’s insistence that he was doing us “a favor” for taking in our trade for almost nothing drove us away: acting if bringing a below 100,000, 4 year old, never in an accident, Honda Element in to trade was like dumping the contents of an outhouse on his front lawn. By the time I left he was pleading: “Well, how much do you want for the Element to make this deal work for you?” He had offered 3,000 more, but I had had it. Admittedly I had already been “pre-tired” of dealing with these guys due to the previous tire con job.
But if this was about con jobs by car salesmen, or repair shops, or the rip off the woman tactic: I am not naive’. I have known of these things for years.
There’s more to this story….
Year after year I have noticed used tire shops popping up all over the place. Gee, wonder where they get those used tires? Maybe many from dealers who do con jobs on naive customers? Many of these are really good tires. I have my own select shops I visit. I’ve seen this same dynamic; more and more used tire stores, all over the whole east coast as I have toured over the years.
My work involves a lot of driving, and even hideously priced tires for a tour bus sometimes, so I have to be part of the system. I can’t “not” buy tires.
Ironically my favorite used tire guy and I have had many chats. He tells me that politicians are trying to regulate him out of business, a common refrain. Wonder if he has even checked to see if this legislation has been pushed by big corporations, like Walmart to offer one possibility, who sell tires and want to sell more? Big corporations who have lots of politicians as pets?
Now, once again, if this were only about tires and auto sales, eh, not that much to write about. But I have noticed an increase in con jobs over the years, especially as we, supposedly, “elect” pols infected by the supposed “free” trade and no regulation mania. To repeat the mantra these folks use in damn near every other situation: nothing is “free.” And, I’m sorry: nothing “regulates” itself.
”Hiring” pols via the ballot who hate government pretty much guarantees poor governance: even corrupt governance. One of the biggest national cons involves the concept that “hiring” pols via the ballot who claim to hate government will make things better. If someone claims government is always the problem, why would you expect them to make it better? As an employer, would you hire someone after an interview where they insist your business is always up to no good and will always fail?
No, they’re be more likely to steal from you, sell things out your back door to their friends, and recommend you hire anyone willing to take an ax to what they’ve already admitted they have no respect for.
That kind of attitude infects all of society. Con jobs multiply like rabbits on Viagra.
Years ago automakers were forced to put seatbelts into cars, before that collapsible steering wheel columns. My middle name is Walter. I was named after my Uncle Walter who was one of the victims whose case was used in lawsuits that forced automakers to comply. The column went right through him and he lived for hours, until they cut him out.
These days we “hire” politicians who would have thought, if they lived back then, that we’re better off having cars that might impale their drivers than allowing government to insist products be made more safe.
It’s worse than that: corporations have learned to sidestep such “bothersome” regulations by complying poorly while ginning up hatred of regulations. Example: who wants to breathe gasoline fumes? So the gov insists portable gas tank makers come up with a design for vent proof caps. They comply by providing an intentionally inferior design, while bitch, bitch, bitching about dang guv-vern-ment in-ter-fear-ance. The new caps leak, spill and, because of all this, still vent fumes. The consumer assumes it’s all due to that %$#@ over regulation, while pols and pundits with corporate money in their coffers use this to pump up further anti-reg hysteria.
You’ve just been conned twice, by politicians and corporations, walking hand in hand in private, while putting on a show for public consumption. Problem not solved, and the public thinks it’s over regulation that caused the problem to begin with.
Bait and switch.
Yes, there is bad regulation: bad by both intent and design, like demanding the post office prepay benefits more than 70 years in advance… before those employees are even born.
Needless to say war sometimes involves some of the worst cons.
Since I have been able to observe, think about what I observe, and then come to my own conclusions, I have understood there are con jobs one should avoid. Not every mechanic is honest. The kid at your register may be trying to distract you from the one who is shoplifting. Those Nigerian E-mails really aren’t going to get you rich, but could get you a hell of a lot poorer. Pretty much guaranteed responding to anything on the net, even in life, that demands money “or else,” or easy money, is a con.
I think, now that we live in a far more anti-regulatory society, that while the small guy may be trying to pick your pocket he should be of less concern than the joint politician-corporate con game. The guy convincing you good tires need to be replaced is not just small potatoes in a con game dominated culture, but marble size potatoes.
Why do I get the feeling that mega corporate America and too many pols are walking hand in hand: confidence men and shills. And why do I get the feeling they increasingly view us as mere marks and suckers?
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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