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Getting Played By The Game - Grasshopper

I think most of us are familiar with the pejorative terms “game playing” and “gaming the system.” Both of them give games a bad name.

If you’ve ever visiting a dating site and read the profiles of different women, you’ll see “no game playing” as one of their undesired conditions for a prospective date.

 

Have you bought or leased a car at a dealership? That’s where price haggling is the game. Your sales representative has to run your counteroffer by the sales manager. Whatever number you request the price to be reduced by, it will get reduced, usually by half of what you asked for. And on it goes, until an agreement is reached or you walk out the door.

 

“Gaming the system” is where someone comes up with a plan to, in plain English, steal something, or bend the rules like a pretzel. Think of the person who devises a way to get free cable TV by surreptitiously tapping into someone else’s line. Or, there’s “insider trading” where well connected people get advance information on a stock price about to soar or plummet.

 

I experienced a new game the other day, at least new to me. I went for a “Free” dental appointment offered by a national dental services company. From the time I walked in to the time I left, I was “pre-closed” at least 10 times. “Pre-closing,” for those unfamiliar, is a sales technique to set up a buying atmosphere in a person’s mind. It’s designed to move your prospect closer to buying without outright asking them to buy. In my case, I met with 4 people, the x-ray tech, the dentist, the hygienist, and the “manager.” The first three all mention the “manager” on multiple occasions. The manager would be the last person I would meet with who would discuss billing and payment plans.

 

Call me old fashioned, but when I go to a health care facility, I don’t like being played. My last dental appointment was 2 months ago with my regular dentist and my visit was $96. After sitting with the “manager” at this new place, the fee for all the work they said I needed would be $4095. Oh, that was their “discounted” price. The actual total was said to be $7894.

 

My mother had an expression she used when describing someone gaming the system. She would say, “Even mountain climbing is fixed.”

 

The amount of telephone game playing, from the people who want to fix your computer or alert you about your nonexistent, expired car warranty, is epidemic. Here’s the reality: scamming, (game playing), is not going to stop. In fact, it’s on the increase.

 

What to do? Remind yourself of the old axiom from time to time that there’s no free lunch. Then, choose to eat at a different restaurant. Then, the only game in town will be the game player’s frown.

 

All the best,

John

Hear the recorded version here.

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