4 years, 3 months, and 11 days. Caveat Emptor.

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caveat emptor

 noun

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

In commerce, as in life, the burden is on YOU, as the consumer, to always be wary of what you’re being sold — be it a thing, a service, or an idea.  The job of whoever is selling you the thing/service/idea is to sell that thing/service/idea.  The sale is his goal.  In making the sale, he can but he doesn’t have to be truthful, ethical, or humane.  For example, he doesn’t have to tell you

The burden is on you, the buyer, to make sure what you’re buying is of high quality and useful for your purpose.  If you don’t watch out, once you’ve bought his ware, the problem becomes yours to own.

Caveat emptor is of greater significance in this day and age when we are constantly bombarded from all sides by information — good and bad.  It is more important than ever for you to be educated consumers.

Unless you can trust the person with your life — and even then — always check to verify the truth of what the person said.  Among other things, always ask yourself the following:

  • What do I know about this subject that confirms or contradict what the person just said? 
  • What can I verify, using reliable and reputable sources such as well-reviewed articles published in reputable journals and peer-reviewed academic studies?
  • What does the speaker have to gain from me buying what he said? 
  • Is his gain also my gain, or do our interests conflict?
  • Even if the seller has nothing to gain personally from my buying his ware, does he have one or more biases that blind him to the objective truth?
  • What’s the harm if I buy his good, service, or idea — is the harm significant and permanent or is it slight and temporary?

The last is important because we live in an imperfect world.  We don’t always have the time or energy to verify everything.  Sometimes, if the cost is slight (meaning the harm is negligible and temporary), then it may not be worth spending a lot of time on the investigation.  Regardless of the consequence, you should always engage in the analysis.

This is true of the “news” you hear daily, the textbooks chosen for you by your schools and your teachers, and certainly the sales pitch anyone throws your way.

I love you always, and forever,

Dad

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