Wednesday, March 14, 2018

High Pressure Sales

I hate buying cars.  Actually, hate is not a strong enough word for what I feel. I LOATH buying cars.  It is no surprise to my wife and friends that I am a germaphobe.  However, I would gladly stick my hands in stagnant sewer water and fish around for a missing Tootsie Roll than deal with a car salesman.

This is not based on fear or nerves.  I have good enough credit that financing a vehicle is not a problem.  I make enough money that I don't worry about the payments.

I just real hate the hard sell.

I am a believer that if something is good, it will sell itself.  At one time I sold auto services for the now defunct Montgomery Wards.  We were to push tires, and everything that went with them.  I hated selling junk just to make a quota or to get a bonus.  We were offered bonuses for different tires every month or so. Sometimes these were for great tires, with long life and good tread ratings.  Other times they were for crappy tires that they just wanted to get rid of.   It pained me to sell someone tires that were not as good as others simply for a bonus.  I did not do well on those months.

More and more I am seeing the hard sell in the prepper / survival websites.  Each week or month is new ominous threat coming from somewhere.

These are sites dedicated to preppers.  Help us with actual stories, techniques, ideas or alternatives to what we are already doing.  We are preppers, we found your site, you don't need to pull us in with tabloid like headlines.

One of the current threats is from above.   The first Chinese "space station" Tiangong-1 is falling into the atmosphere.  The actual date of it burning up and what is left hitting the ground is at this time up for speculation.  Most think between March 29 and April 9th.   One headline touts that it is OUT OF CONTROL AND WILL HIT WITHIN DAYS!!  Well, yeah.  It is no longer a controlled entry, but its not racing towards earth like the killer asteroid in Armageddon.  It is falling into the atmosphere and loosing speed.  Some have even started speculating where it will come down in the US.   As the for DAYS part, unless it is an imminent warning, couldn't days mean about anytime between now and a month from now?

The truth is it will fall.  The truth is also that you have a chance everyday of being hit by space debris.  Meteors, old satellites, parts of rockets that are not reusable.  The international space station fills space capsules up with trash and other waste, the releases them to burn up in the atmosphere.  Standard procedure.  The 8-tonne Russian Zenit second stage rocket from the December launch of Angosat-1 reentered over Peru.

One of the issues I have with the hard sell tactics is that they give no solutions. They are merely there to get eyes on the page so that we will also see the story about the coming economic collapse conveniently placed right under the advertisement selling gold.

There are so many real issues we could prepare for, why cater only to fear? If a piece of Chinese space junk is going to hit my house, what can I do? Maybe check my home owners policy? With each of these our focus is challenged. They pull us away from what could be seen as mundane threats and focus us on the outlandish. This is similar to the coverage given to airline accidents. People worry much more about flying than they do about car travel.

Fear can be a good thing. Fear real of possibilities is a good thing. It is good to be concerned about the condition of your tires. It perfectly understandable to be fearful of the car traveling beside you operated by a person talking on a phone in one had, holding a cigarette in the other and apparently driving with the lower half of her body ( I'm not being sexist, this is something I saw yesterday). It is not good to be so entrenched with fear that you won't drive because there is a chance the freeway bridge will get hit by a river barge and send you in to the river far below (it happened on I-40 in Oklahoma). One is a direct threat to you and others on the road, the other is a rare situation that while terrible for those involved, is not likely to happen routinely.

Focus on the day to day. What threats have a real possibility? What threats are possible but less likely? What threats are unlikely, but still need a plan? What threats are there that you just can't do anything about?

We live in a time that terrorism is around every corner. The TSA makes traveling in the air a chore, and public gatherings are starting to look like martial law has been declared. In actuality, our chance of being effected by terrorism is quite low (especially if you live in a place like Joplin, MO). The Washington Post in 2015 had this article about how you are more likely to be killed by falling furniture than by a terrorist

In the news now we are hearing about gun control.  This is a topic that gets people going.  Assault weapons with bump stocks and high capacity mags being wielded by deranged 18 year olds!  But it ignores other more dangerous issues.  In 2016, 2,627 kids between the ages of 15 to 19 died in motor vehicle accidents. In the same age group, 942 killed themselves with a firearm but 856 killed themselves by suffocation. Fire arm deaths in this age group were un unpleasant 1,611.  So if we add suicides (most pro 2nd amendment people don't want to include those) and homicides using fire arms we come up with 2553.  Still less than motor vehicle accidents.  Should we keep our guns away from unsupervised kids?  Yes!  But we have no issue with them driving or riding in a 2 ton death machine made of glass and metal.  

Out of all the age groups in 2016, the biggest killer was heart disease. 635,260 people died of heart disease.  Yet we still sell cigarettes at every gas station, Walmart, grocery store and on an on.  We don't outlaw smoking and we don't force people to eat right, and we don't make sure everyone exercises. Total unintentional deaths were 161,374.  You are far more likely to kill yourself with smoking, eating bad and not exercising than to be accidentally killed.

The numbers show what we really need to prepare for.  Our own health, storms, earthquakes in some areas, wild fires, droughts, these are all real imminent threats.   There is nothing wrong with preparing for a coronal mass ejection, nuclear war, EMP attack or the Yellowstone caldera blowing.  As long as we don't loose focus of the end result.  Taking care of ourselves and our families when times get rough.  

There is a saying amongst hikers and backpackers.  "Watch the ounces, and the pounds will take care of themselves".  If you are ready for the storms, droughts, fires and floods, You'll be most of the way to being ready for the rest. 

There is no need for the hard sell, just the sell basics and it will sell itself.  Taking care of ourselves and our family maybe mundane, but we all want it.  

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