Time for a hypothetical, one in which hopefully none of the names I made up match anything real.
Suppose, for a second, that you’re in the market for a new truck. It needs to be something powerful enough that it can haul trailers and cargo without flinching since you’ll likely be using it for work. It also needs to be comfortable enough so that you can take the family on that road trip this summer. And whatever you get had better last a while; you lack the time, the money, and the patience to deal with a “garage queen”.
Well, one day you’re watching television when you see an ad come on for Merkin Motors’ newest incarnation of their Minotaur pickup. The ad starts off with a Minotaur doing an automotive slalom course while pulling a semi truck whose auto transport trailer is loaded with other Minotaurs. Once the vehicle in question pulls up to a loading bay, the talking head appearing in the ad begins explaining the vehicle’s features. As part of it, you realize that the interior is the same square footage as an entire one of those two-person hipster cars you see on the road. This thing looks like it could play “chicken” with a main battle tank and win.
So now you’re interested. Time to go gather some information, right? After all, you want to make an informed purchase decision.
Step one, perhaps, would be to investigate the Merkin Motors website to get the specifications, price, available options, and other such pertinent information. Step two might be to speak with actual Minotaur owners to see how well they like their vehicles. Step three could be appealing to supposedly neutral industry sources, like Product Reviews Monthly’s annual vehicle guide, to see how well the Minotaur stacks up against the competition. If you’re still keen on the Minotaur, then step four would likely be to go down to the nearest Merkin dealership for a test drive and a long chat with a sales clerk.
If I was to propose that your one and only step should be “go ask someone at the Meadow Motors dealership what they think about the Minotaur”, you might think me daft. Yes, a smart consumer should take the time to see what else is out there. But the Meadow dealership isn’t going to make any money by telling you to go buy from the competition. They may well know something about the Minotaur that you don’t, but they could also be under orders from corporate to clear out those Tourister pick-ups that have been sitting on the lot since Whenever.
Now suppose that instead of selecting a truck, you were selecting a political candidate, religious denomination, diet plan, or something of the sort. You, the consumer, should still make it a point to educate yourself by examining both sides of the matter. Look for official reference materials. Compare them to neutral materials. Speak with others. Et cetra.
Problem is, far too many people don’t go so far. If it’s something they are inclined towards, a single positive resource is as far as they’ll go. If it’s something they’re inclined against, in contrast, then a single negative resource may be all they’ll do.
Why, I ask, do people spend more time deciding on a new vehicle than deciding on something far more important?
Folks, this goes back to earlier remarks about how we need to get more than just one side of an issue. Due diligence can be its own reward.
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