Argumentation: Efficiency Drains pt. 1


Since I usually have a “RIP ME OFF, I’M AN EASY MARK” sign emblazoned on my forehead, people often do indeed try to rip me off. When some seller or driver or whatever names an exorbitantly high price, I turn around and walk off without a word. (If I don’t know the right price from experience, I usually ask a friend beforehand.) One time I laughed out loud, but that was involuntary. I don’t look back even if they start hollering after me. If I know the fair price, there will always be someone who will offer me the thing or the service without trying to rip me off. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries.


Customer service reps (call center agents) are used by large corporations as human punching bags for verbal abuse from irate customers for whom the corporations are reluctant to provide actual assistance for their problems. If you have phrased your complaint as precisely as you can and you still get no concrete help, there is nothing to be gained from talking with them further.


Sometimes people (HR reps, customer service reps, professors, prospective lovers) will sugarcoat the word “NO” and surround it with flowers and spray it with some perfume and maybe throw some glitter and ribbons around it. Practice looking for that word. Sometimes it will be hidden so prettily that you’ll get distracted and waste your time sticking around and smelling the flowers.


After the breakup, A. wanted to be friends but I did not. We had many long conversations about why. Then there were many instances wherein she would send me messages and I would message her back talking about why I couldn’t / shouldn’t / didn’t want to message her back. I asked T. what to do. She said that the clearest way to tell A. that I didn’t want to talk to her was to not talk to her. That felt profoundly unnatural. To let the phone ring, and then later to block the number. But it worked. How could it not? And how could the other way ever have worked?


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