Posted by: zycos | August 30, 2007

If you don’t like my first answer, don’t ask again. It ain’t gonna change!

I get so damn tired of people asking me for advice, my taking the time to give it, then they either keep asking the same thing over and over again (like the answer’s gonna change) or they do whatever the hell they’re gonna do anyway, all advice be damned.

I try to stay up on the latest technologies and user reports on different electronic gadgets, brands and models. In my circle of friends, I’m considered fairly knowledgeable about various features, both in benefits and shortcomings. And I really don’t mind imparting what I’ve learned to anyone who asks. I’ll even research an unfamiliar product to give them a better formed opinion.

The problem is certain people can’t seem to make any decision and keep asking me the same questions, as if I hold some magic answer to ease their namby-pamby, hand-wringing. I could almost understand this anal-retentive behavior when it comes to large ticket items but what really drives me up a wall is …

Well, let me relate a recent incident.

I know this guy, even consider him a friend somewhat. This, in spite of the only time hearing from him is when he wants someone to baby sit his neuroticism over breaking loose with a buck.

I happen to be the unfortunate one he calls about technology related issues or products. Now this man is perhaps either one of the most technology deficient individuals I’ve ever known or just one of the laziest. Add to that, one of the cheapest S.O.B.’s I’ve ever known.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind somebody trying to save a buck. That’s why I try to help in the first place. But when people with money run around crying poor mouth all the time, agonizing over every single dollar as if it were their last, it makes me crazy.

This particular person is a retired firefighter, a Captain from a large, well funded fire district. His monthly stipend is conservatively around $3,500. It would have been roughly double that but he was taken to the cleaners by his wife of 25 years, taking half his pension along with other considerable nest egg savings. Raw deal? Sure.

Originally I had empathy for the guy because of the hosing he got (she abruptly left him for another guy she’d known before they were married.) But after awhile the story gets old and weary.

But emotional issues aside, $42,000 a year plus social security and other investment income hardly qualifies this guy as destitute. Except maybe in his mind.

He calls me, first and foremost, because he knows I won’t charge him anything. Truth be known, I suspect that may be the only reason he calls me. It must be, because he sure never takes my advice. At least not for the first 8 or 9 times, anyway.

And that’s what drives me to distraction.

Not content with my answers to move forward, he continually keeps asking the same ones over and over again, delaying his purchase. Re-explaining my recommendations to him repeatedly takes considerable time on my part. When I finally get terse, he gets offended. I can’t help getting real with this guy ’cause my cats getting tired of being kicked after each phone call. It’s to the point where she goes into hiding every time the phone rings.

I’m not a salesman, factory rep or any other paid consultant whose job is to help steer people to or away from a certain product.

I work for myself and this represents time for which I’m not getting paid. He calls me anytime that’s convenient for him (did I tell you he’s retired?) almost as if I’m his personal help desk. Maybe I’d feel different if I had a job where I was being paid to sit and talk on the phone all day but that’s neither my situation nor would be my choice.

And as I said, I could almost understand his behavior over large ticket items but this guy bugs the living crap out of me for several weeks over which $39 printer or $89 digital camera he should buy. This is the same guy who never once consulted me or needed my opinion to buy his home or any of several new vehicle purchases. Must be hell to be so damn broke. I mean, come on!

It should go without saying, this man has never once offered to pay me anything for my services. He simply picks my brain and when his neurosis has subsided, makes his purchase, takes the gain and I never hear from him again… at least until he needs something else or if he can’t figure out his new toy.

This is the kind of fellow who ruins it for everyone. He gets what he wants and goes away. Doesn’t even call to say thanks or report how he likes the item. I don’t even want to help anybody anymore. The only saving grace is I know they’re not all like him. Some people can make a decision, do appreciate my help and even call me to thank me afterwards.

There are some who really can’t stretch their budget to afford the $20 upgraded model, opting instead to offer payment for my services. I regularly decline but appreciate the gesture. Most often I’m just glad to help them get the most bang for the buck.

As for others, I don’t know. They leave me clueless… which is exactly where this “friend” would be if it weren’t for me. But I guess he’d probably just find some other host to parasite on. After all, people like me are a dime a dozen, aren’t we?


OK. Here’s your Doodle-O’Da-Day. Saw it on a bumpersticker and thought I’d draw it out, complete with caption:
“I hope to die in my sleep just like Grandpa,
not yelling and screaming like those other people
in his car.”




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