Why do people fib to us?
Gregory House, M.D., taught us “Everybody lies.” Oh, sure, we may start with the little “white” lies, but according to Dr. Gail Saltz everyone lies or “omits the truth” at least some of the time. “We start lying at around age 4 to 5 when children gain an awareness of the use and power of language. This first lying is not malicious, but rather to find out, or test, what can [be] manipulated in a child’s environment. Eventually children begin to use lying to get out of trouble or get something they want.”
It has gotten so bad that we expect some people to lie to us outright.
How do you tell if a politician/lawyer/used car dealer is lying? Their lips are moving.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center project FactCheck.org monitors TV political ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases for accuracy. The Washington Post grades politicians on their command of the facts with one to four “Pinocchios.” Each state Bar Association can tell you if an attorney is in good standing, what grievances have been filed, and so on. And databases like CarFax, AutoCheck, and the NICB VINCheck offer an accurate look at a used car’s history.
(On the other hand we expect scientists, the clergy, and our mothers to tell us the truth.)
I’m looking for a Corvette but I got caught up in a search for a nice, mid-size, generic, American-made convertible. Found this ad on Craigslist:
ONLY 42K MILES
Power Everything!!! Leather, Alloy Wheels
Runs and Drives 100%
Power top, windows, locks. Auto. Cold Air.
Very clean and Needs Nothing
Wow! I ran a Carfax and emailed the seller some questions:
How long have you owned the car and why do you want to sell?
“I purchase it new. Sell because I need 4 doors car I have kids,” the seller responded.
Carfax reports the first owner drove only 31,000 miles in 10 years and the current owner has had it just 7 months.
What accident damage has been repaired?
“Car runs perfect.”
Carfax reports an accident (damage unknown) in 2006.
Is there an extended warranty and is it transferable?
No answer from the seller.
Carfax reports an ECM check, A/C system check and recharge, and a service contract purchased just last month.
I emailed the seller back to ask for the Vehicle Identification Number. I haven’t heard back.
Even if the liars we deal with don’t have a moral issue, why do we let them get away with it?
OK, don’t ask me how that dress fits.