All Kinds

I had some dealings with a very weird, unfriendly and ignorant fellow the other day. It was a business deal, so naturally it was all about money for him, but it was not the money that bothered me. Sellers seek to get the highest price while buyers seek the lowest, somewhere in the negotiations a fair market price is reached or there is no transaction. Fair market value is a legal term defined as the price at which a willing seller will sell and a willing buyer will buy. It is a source of much litigation, marketing expertise, financial structuring, tax planning, and investment strategy.

We recently watched a true story about the Harley-Davidson motorcycle company. It began with two young guys building their own motorcycle just as they were first being invented. It told of  competition and quest for advantages in production, design, marketing, financing and overall business acumen. It was well told and weaved these boring elements in with family relationships, conniving competitors, racing, and American motorcycle history. The point is that business is a complex and very emotional enterprise.

I think the source of the difficulty I experienced with this gentleman, whom I characterized as weird, unfriendly, and ignorant stems from his misunderstanding. He is weird, but I’m sure many might consider me weird as well. He is unfriendly and I think all of us could come off as unfriendly at times. Ignorance produces misunderstanding almost always. He demanded exactly what he wanted and expected, yet he did not understand the ramifications of his demands, such as, greater difficulty of production, less availability of supply, and more labor to produce. Consequently, his basis of comparison was flawed drastically.

When we first began to discuss what he wanted and needed I tried to explore what it was exactly, but he cut that off and made his uncompromising demand, (this is both weird and unfriendly), but I considered it was pride and the preconceived notion that my time, effort, and resources were of little value to him, (this is unfriendly and ignorant). It came out that there was a big difference in the cost of what he demanded and what he truly needed, (which is weird and ignorant). He was unhappy with my price and expressed that my efforts and resources were just laying around and practically worthless, so that he was doing me a favor.

It could be that from his perspective I was trying to cheat him by charging too much, but I had no authority to take his money, even though I had stated my price in advance and already spent a lot of time and effort producing exactly what he ordered. We had no transaction and he left as weird, unfriendly and ignorant as he had arrived. However, it made me think that I too have surely been weird, unfriendly and ignorant in my dealings. What I saw, most probably could have been me in years gone by and in other circumstances. There is every reason to refuse judging others because that which we abhor in others has been done by us. Scripture puts it this way, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2: 1).

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