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I hate buying really expensive things. 

I think the reason I hate it so much is because I always feel unprepared and uneducated about what I want to purchase. When I don't know a lot about a certain thing, I either spend way too much time investigating on my own, or I reach out to someone who has more knowledge than me about the item. 

Unfortunately, most of the time the most educated person about a big ticket item happens to be that dreaded sales person.

(that chest hair)

See, I have this natural instinct to believe that everyone at their core is a "good person". But it has always been the sales person that has brought me close to abandoning that belief. They attempt to come off as your best friend, as the source of unbiased knowledge, as a security blanket in the land of dangerous purchases. When really, most of them are out to manipulate you or pressure you into purchasing from them so they get a huge commission. I'm not saying ALL sales people are like this, in fact my brother from another mother is actually a model sales guy, but most are cow poopies.

Especially... the car salesman

Isabella and I are hunting to buy a new car. Something that will be big enough to grow with our family, big enough to haul stuff, but small enough to not be the douche in the H2. You know who I'm talking about...

(yeah yeah, it's an H3, I know...)

The first one that caught our eye was the Ford Edge. We're already happy Ford owners from the Focus purchase last year and thought we'd keep it in the family. We're slowly finding out that the Seattle area Ford sales people are not much like the friendly Waukesha sales people we encountered. 

Sales guy number one would not shut up about they are the "lowest price in the area" and told me there was no need to look around. How everyone else would look at other dealerships but would always come back to them. Then he proceeded to talk crap about a different specific dealer. How they were shady and tried to be sneaky about pricing. After all this talk about giving us the best deal in the area... all he offered us was what they posted on their web site. Look... either tell me straight that the internet price is all I'm going to get, or shut your yap about you "not caring about car prices".

So we went to "the bad dealer" because I had to see for myself. Guess what... they weren't that bad. In fact, the way they handled their customers was about the same only they didn't talk so much crap. They almost got us to purchase a car, until the big boss man pooped on the deal the sales guy was going to give us (we had a Chicago bonding moment)... so we walked out. 

The moral of the story is...

What I've learned is that the sales people play a very specific game and that there is a very specific counter-game you can play to throw them off guard. Car sales people HATE when you are confident, in control, but completely indifferent. Show enough interest to get them begging, but keep enough distance to want to chase you. Get up and walk towards the door a couple times and watch them squirm. Tell them when and what to write down or what paper work to stop or start filling out. Stop them dead in their tracks during their pressure tactics and call them out on it. I think this will become a new hobby for me. 

At least it would if I didn't feel like punching each one in their nose... that might get me in a bit of trouble.

I still find it amazing how connected this world has become. The size of this planet is growing smaller and smaller as the restrictions around communication lessen. I think back to my childhood and all of the ridiculous things we used to do for the sake of communication. 

I remember how many times we had to rush home to make sure that my parents were home to receive a call. We used to have to schedule phone calls on a calendar days in advance. The phrase "I'll call you when I'm on my way" was never muttered because it didn't make sense. 
If you missed a call it could be the end of the world because you probably had no idea where the call was coming from or how to return their number. It's not like you could glance at the caller id, or play back a message on your answering machine - those things just didn't exist.

The number of communication channels used to be 2. 
You had your phone and you had a hand written letter. The former you had to actually be present to even know it happened, and the latter resulted in a 2 day waiting period to get your communication. 
The number of communication channels now is almost infinite. Limited only by the software that we choose to use to do said communication. You can communicate to specific people through email, talk to loved ones through Skype, talk to the world in 140 characters or less, or post stupid pictures of your kids or your pregnant belly with rage-inducing acronyms like DH, SO, LO, etc on Facebook.

Are your "friends" really your friends?

How many followers do you have? How many friends on Facebook? How many people read your Tumblr or subscribe to your blog?
I don't have very many followers or friends because before I follow anyone I like to ask myself:

(hello... my name is twitter follow #178... and I would like to share with you...)

What would you do if any one of these people showed up at your door?

"Knock Knock" - Um... hi? Hi, I'm Twitter follower #178... I was just in the neighborhood and thought we could hang out cause we're friends. 
I would take a gander that 95% of you reading this blog (which is probably 7/8 people... the actual number, not the fraction... well it's a fraction too, but you get what I'm saying), would look at that person as though they were crazy and you'd tell your kids to go to their rooms and lock the door while you explain to this person that they're a stranger and it's a little weird that they showed up.

But why? Why is that weird? I thought you were "friends".
I think about those who I consider my friends online... I think about @dpringle and @religionbites who I know I need to meet in person someday in life... I think about @Love_Is_A_Place who if she ever moved to the west coast would have a friendly family to have dinner with in person immediately... I think about @Sew_Lin, @HouseofJules, @showmyface, and so many others who (all 239 of them) could show up at my door and, aside from the shock and awe, be immediately welcomed in. Because they wouldn't be strangers. (yes, even @NathanFillion, @ThatKevinSmith, and @neiltyson)

Next time you think about posting something personal online, next time you tweet your pooping preferences, next time you talk about some ailment... ask yourself if it's meant for your "friends" or your friends. Beyond that, are we just feeding our own narcissism?