Some Sound Advice

Every now and then I flip the page on my Life’s Little Instructions calendar and I come across a piece of advice that is worth blogging about. I couldn’t help but mention today’s entry.

I have learned this over the years.

I have learned this all too well over the years.

Sometimes in life it takes a while to learn a lesson. It might take a quarter century or so to really understand how the world works. I read today’s Life’s Little Instructions piece of wisdom and a sarcastic smile spread across my face.

Call me gullible but I used to think a free check up, a complimentary inspection, or a courtesy evaluation was a gesture of goodwill from a business or professional. I thought a company would actually be objective during the “free” inspection and let you know honestly whether work/action needed to be done/taken. Even as someone who is in marketing and should see right through something like this, it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I really understood that these types of offers are really gimmicks.

To people who are slow like me, please heed this advice: If you take your car in for a free inspection, if you have your blog evaluated for SEO optimization (I get offers daily), or if you have an appliance looked at in your house, the person doing the “consultation” will find “problems.” It never fails.

For almost ten years I would automatically act on the advice and go along with whatever was recommended. However, after realizing I was getting burned, I learned that the concept of a second opinion wasn’t just reserved for medical professionals.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not bitter toward people in industries who offer free inspections/evaluations. It is a great way to get new customers into the shop. Also, for the most part, it is completely honest. Although most of the time the evaluator will find problems, you never have to authorize the business to act on them. Furthermore, I don’t want to generalize too much. I know there are some professionals out there who won’t find a problem with someone’s car during a free inspection.

But for the most part, I am hesitant about participating in these types of promotions. Although you can reason that there is nothing to lose by going through with the free inspection, the problems presented always weigh on my mind, even if I know they aren’t legitimate. Also, it isn’t always comfortable to decline the services of the business immediately after they gave you the free service (you can distinctly feel the pressure to go through with the recommendations). But, you live and you learn. Don’t Blink.