Published In The Great North Arrow, May 1, 2023: Rationalizations

- jim Young


“Don't knock rationalization; where would we be without it? I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex.” - Jeff Goldbum as Michael in The Big Chill.


I recently listed my boat for sale on Kijiji. It’s a nice boat and if you’re interested in buying a boat you should check it out. Search for “14’ GRUMMAN ALUMINUM FISHING BOAT, MOTOR & TRAILER” in Kijiji or the “Argyle Buy Sell and Trade” page on Facebook. (Shameless self promotion).

Author's Note: Since I wrote this article, the boat has been sold.


Kijiji recorded my ad live at 9:52 am.


My first offer came in 8 minutes later at 10:00 am.


It is not my intention to ebararrass or shame the person that made this offer if it was a legitimate offer so I am reluctant to provide too many specific details.


Suffice it to say, the offer was $1,800 short of my asking price with an explanation that it was the most he could afford for a fishing boat to fulfil the dying wishes of a close relative that was in a lot of pain.


I am not an unsympathetic man. I am not rich but I would say, as my parent's used to say, "I'm comfortable".


I could afford to sell my boat for that price without breaking the bank. Hell - I could probably afford to give them the boat without suffering any real hardship.


But, and her comes the harsh reality of it, "why should I?" I know that may make me sound like a real dirtbag and maybe I am. I'll let you be the judge of that.


My first reaction was, "this is a scam". And I hate the world for that and, by extension, I hate myself for that as well. I absolutely hate that the world has taught be to be "guarded" rather than "trusting".


Sadly, all the scammers out there don't give a rat's ass how they have changed the dynamics of human compassion.


My second reaction was, "but what if it's true?" And I could feel my heart break in half for the tragedy this family was facing. Then, just to add insult to injury, I felt guilty for the pleasures I have in my life regardless of the fact that we have worked very had for them.


And now a whole other dynamic comes into play as I shame myself that my second reaction wasn't my first reaction and I hate the scammers even more.


So I tried to rationalize my way out of this situation.


1) If it is a scam, it's not worth a reply.

2) But if I don't reply, Kijiji will penalize me against my "replies to" status.

3) If it's legitimate, perhaps they are due some consideration.

4) But effectively, they are asking me to donate $1,800 to their "situation".

5) I have family and friends in similar situations.

6) I simply can't afford to donate $1,800 to everyone I know in these situations.

7) Just how far should I go to help this family of strangers out?


I finally decided to offer this family the lowest price I was currently willing to accept for my boat even though I would not normally negotiate so soon after listing something on Kijiji.


But here's the clincher. How did I arrive at my asking price in the first place? Part of it is based on what I paid for the boat and the accessories I have added to the package. Realistically I know I will not make my money back and I accept I must incur a portion of the costs for the use I have had from the boat. So I have to ask myself, "How much of that cost will I absorb? How much of a loss am I prepared to take?"


Before listing my ad I had researched other similar boats listed on Kijiji and other sites on the internet to make sure my asking price was not unreasonable. So I know there are many other boats in the price range (and even less) for the family that had replied to my ad on Kijiji that, while may not be as nice as my boat, would certainly meet their requirements. So if they are legitimate, I am not preventing them from fulfilling the wishes of their dying relative.


I don't like to be judgemental, but I just couldn't shake the feeling this offer was a scam.


Did I mention how much I hate that scammers have changed the world?


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