Things I need to make sure my children know

  • People will try to sell you things by making you feel bad/inferior for not having it
  • People will try to sell you things by trying to convince you that you will be better/more awesome if you have it
  • People will lie about who uses their product in order to make it seem more important (so they can then sell it to you)
  • People will imply that their product is heavily used elsewhere (for example, in Europe) in order to make it seem better (so they can sell it to you)
  • People will make up statistics, facts, endorsements, etc, in order to make their product seem better (so they can sell it to you)
  • People will try to get you to buy their product by asking you for a favor
  • People will try to get you to buy their product by implying that you owe them a favor
  • People will try to get you to buy their product by implying that they are your friend, that they are “looking out for you”
  • People will try to get you to buy their product by making you feel bad about yourself, hoping that you’ll buy it just because you’re sad or depressed.
  • A _LOT_ of people will criticize your tastes/selections/preferences as inferior to their own. They will do this primarily as a way to boost their own egos, but also, often, to try to convince you that you should buy what they are selling
  • People will imply that they have a tremendous amount of insight/knowledge that you don’t have, in order to convince you to trust them with your money & decisions.
  • People will suck up to you, and tell you how great your choices are, so you will feel good about buying things from them.
  • People will tell you that you owe them a favor, often for no legitimate reason at all, just so you’ll feel defensive and awkward and apologetic. Then they’ll try to sell you something because “you owe them”.
  • People will imply that they have secret knowledge that no one else has. Then they’ll try to convince you to buy something.
  • Sometimes, people aren’t trying to get you to buy things with money. Sometimes they’re trying to get your vote, or your trust, or your time.
  • If you give time or money to a charity organization, they will almost always ask you for more, more, more.
  • People might ask you to volunteer to do X. Then, when you agree, they will try to change the arrangement so that you must do X+Y. If you refuse to do Y, they’ll often try to make you feel guilty.
  • Advertisements on TV are all essentially the same: If you buy this product, you will be as glamorous/be as successful/have as much fun as the people in the advertisement.
  • People will tell you that their product is in short supply, in order to make you feel like you must act fast in order to take advantage of this special offer
  • The price people offer you for something you want to buy is almost always not the minimum price they’re willing to sell at.
  • If you are buying a car, and you say you’re willing to pay X, the salesperson will almost always show you cars that cost X+Y, hoping that you’ll be too embarrassed or ashamed to push back.
  • Salespeople will always, always, always try to compel you to make a decision quickly. Sometimes it will be difficult to resist. But a decision made in haste is almost always worse than if you waited.
  • “Act now”, “going fast”, “will sell out” are all signs that they’re trying to get you to make a snap decision, because their product isn’t good enough to justify careful shopping.
  • Salespeople will try to imply that there’s a connection between you, that you are friends. So you will trust them, and buy things from them.
  • People will claim that the price of their goods is normally very high, but for you, there’s a pretty good discount. That’s a sign that you should continue negotiating.
  • Politicians are salespeople. Except that they can often throw you in jail if you don’t buy what they’re selling. Vote with care.
  • Politicians will imply that they are selflessly devoted to the common good. They will say that they are a ‘servant of the people’. That is a sure sign that they are power-hungry narcissists desperate for power and prestige. Vote with care.
  • Politicians will promise X to one group of people, and an hour later promise not-X to a different group of people, and they will seem absolutely sincere when they do it. Vote with care.
  • Politicians will imply (or say) that their opponents are vicious monsters. Even though they agree on 99% of the facts, somehow, that 1% of disagreement makes someone a monster? Vote with care
  • Politicians (and their supporters) will absolutely try to make you feel that if you don’t agree with them, that you are an uncaring monster. Vote with care.
  • Politicians will always imply that their preferred solutions are better in every possible way. That their opponents solutions are full of horrible side-effects. Every solution has lots of side effects. Vote with care.
  • People will lie about almost anything to get you to trust them. They will fake their accent, fake their history, fake their knowledge, who they know, what they do in their spare time, how they vote, what they like, what their name is, where they’re from. And they will do it all with incredible apparent sincerity.
  • If someone comes up to you and starts acting like they’re part of your life, that they’ve been your friend for a while, watch out. They’re probably a serial killer.
  • For a lot of people, credentials matter more than knowledge or skill. Those people are stupid, but there are a lot of them. Sometimes, its easier just to go with the flow.
  • Sometimes, people will respect you more for agreeing with them, and sometimes they will respect you for disagreeing with them. One secret to success is knowing when to agree and disagree.
  • Some people respect forceful, passionate disagreement, and some respect logical, thoughtful disagreement. Another secret to success is knowing how to disagree with any given person.
  • Hard work is not the only factor in success, but it’s pretty darn important. You’re must less likely to succeed by avoiding hard work.

More later.

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