'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THE BIGGER THE PURCHASE, THE QUICKER THE DECISION
Over the years I’ve noticed that I have an odd trait. (Well, I actually have quite a few odd traits, but I’m not about to share them in public, if you don’t mind.) The odd trait of which I speak—not counting the odd trait of repeatedly using the pretentious phrase, “of which I speak”—is the way I make purchasing decisions. The more money involved, the less time I spend choosing the item, and vice versa.
For example, a few years ago I received a $30 Macy’s gift card for Christmas. I decided I needed a new shirt, so during my lunch hour I drove to the mall. I must’ve looked at every shirt in the entire Men’s Department. I compared colors and styles. I checked the prices. I tried to remember what shirts I already owned and which kind of shirt would make a good addition. I narrowed it down to about five options, and then went back and forth, thinking, pondering, agonizing over which one would be the best selection. All because of a $30 gift card.
Then I looked at my watch. Yeow, I had been in the store for almost an hour. So I hastily picked a shirt, brought it to the cash register, and went back to work. That night when I got home, I discovered I already had the exact same shirt in my closet.
Last month I bought a new car. I went to the car dealership and peeked thru the windows of a few cars parked in the lot. When a salesman walked over, I said, “Can I test drive this one?”
He said, “Sure,” and went back inside to get the keys. We hopped in and I drove it around the block. When we got back, the salesman started to describe the features of about 17 other types of cars he had available and asked if I wanted to test drive any or all of them.
I cut him off in mid-sentence and said, “Nah, I’ll take this one.”
He continued to talk about the features of a different car, and I cut him off again. “Hey,” I said, “I’m in sales, too, and rule number one of sales is: If the customer says, ‘I’ll take this one,’ then stop selling and start writing.” (That actually might be rule number two. Rule number one is: Make sure you don’t have a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth.)
The entire episode took 15 minutes, one-quarter of the time it took me to buy a shirt, although there were one thousand times more dollars being spent.
Full disclosure: the new car I picked out was a company vehicle, so it wasn’t my personal money at stake. (Although if I don’t generate enough revenue to pay for the car, it will be my personal butt at stake.) However, in the past, even when it was my money being used to purchase a vehicle, the process was just about as quick.
My wife thinks when there is more money involved, I should spend MORE time making purchasing decisions. She’s probably right, but for some reason I do it the other way around. (You should’ve seen when we bought our house: seven minutes. The real estate agent still brags about that sale.)
The other day, when I came home from work two hours late, my wife said, “Are you putting in extra hours to pay for that new car?”
I said, “No, I stopped at a convenience store to buy a pack of gum. Couldn’t make up my mind.”
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