of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Why lie about that which is verifiable?

We purchased a new (to us) car on Craig’s list and have been amazed at some of the individuals to whom we have been exposed. Recently, when the Puerto Rican sold a motor home on Craig’s list, he listed all of the problems–as well as the benefits–of the it.  However, that has not been the case for the automobile sellers we have encountered.

One woman neglected to list in her advertisement that the window on her car was cracked.  Because the Puerto Rican specifically asked about the windshield, she fessed up.  But I was left wondering what other problems she might be trying to hide.  It is not as if she could hide the windshield if someone went to test drive the car.  Furthermore, although we wanted to go see the car last night, she was not up to showing it and asked that we telephone this morning.  She didn’t answer the phone and waited a couple of hours to return the call–after we had purchased another car.  After that, she left several more messages.  In one, she accused the Puerto Rican of not being serious about wanting her car.

After we had looked at one car last night, the Puerto Rican told me that he was not sure that the car we saw was the one pictured in the advertisement.  And, as luck would have it, the car developed a leak as the guy drove it to the meeting site.  (We didn’t believe that story for a minute, but it was his story and he was sticking to it.)  Even I, who is very ignorant about cars, knew that this guy was a shyster–and that was before the Puerto Rican discovered the back doors did not open.

The woman from whom we purchased the car was telling me some of her horror stories about some of the recent experiences she had–both as a seller and a buyer.  One of her themes was “Why lie about things that are verifiable?”  One guy had told her that the car she was looking at had no leaks.  Yet she could see the oil pooling under the car.

Once a student complained to the dean that I did not answer her e-mail.  I then forwarded the 19 e-mails I had sent to the student to the dean.  Later, when I told the student I was surprised to get a note from the dean that I had not been in contact with her, the student was surprised that the dean had told me of her complaint.  I was baffled at how she could think the dean would not have followed up on her complaint.

The question of why lie about that which is verifiable is a good one.  It always surprises me when people come up with a false story that can be easily disproven; something that I sometimes encounter among students.  Because it is so much easier to deal with the truth, it annoys me when someone lies to me.  And if someone is willing to lie about one thing, what makes the person think that I will trust other things.


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