Saturday, April 19, 2008

Let Your Yeah Be Yeah

The title is a reggae song by Jimmy Cliff which sprang to mind as I read a letter from this morning's Guardian newspaper. Mrs. Stan and Stanetta would also point out that it's something that Jesus was reported to have said in the Sermon on the Mount.

Anyway, here's the letter - which is as far from the the ideals of Reggae and Christianity as you can get. It refers to the practice of "gazundering", where you wait to the last minute in a house-buying process before lowering the previously agreed offer in the hope that the seller will be so desperate that they'll accept less money and not punch you in your worthless mouth.

"I have successfully gazundered on the property I am buying. I agreed a price mid-January, with an exchange due next week. With all the reports on property prices falling and, given that I put a large sum of capital into my purchase - which I am buying outright - I had become nervous that I was about to lose a large sum of money on the deal, and at the age of 65 I have no means of recouping losses incurred if markets dip as predicted.

Of course I am now ridden with guilt and have gone against my principles. I certainly do not feel like gloating over the whole episode, but at the end of the day I had to be hard-nosed. I wonder what the vendor would have done in my situation?

Jane Burchell, via email"

Personally, if anyone I was dealing with even hinted that their offer was not final and irrevocable, I would proactively kill the deal myself. Life is too short to deal with people (like Jane Burchell, via email) who reckon that they can make a deal and then break it. I just wouldn't trust such a person not to come back with ever increasing demands and then to change their mind totally at the very last last-minute. I certainly wouldn't want to think of them hosting dinner parties at the house at which they boast of the all extra money they had screwed out of me.

Even if it costs money and hassle, the only rational response to the statement

"The deal is off. Would you accept less ?"

should be

"I'm glad the deal's off. You're a toe-rag. I wouldn't sell to you now even if you offered more. Goodbye."

I have a few things to say to Jane Burchell (and the less publicity-hungry people like her) :-

  1. I'm glad you are riddled with guilt. That's what guilt is for - it acts as a deterrent for some, and a punishment for others. I'm just sorry it didn't deter you from hurting the vendor who has done nothing to deserve it.
  2. I can understand your nervousness, but if you were nervous, your ethical option was to not buy the house. Sounds more like basic greed (lightly camouflaged) to me.
  3. The victim of your scam is also probably at an age where they also "have no means of recouping losses incurred".
  4. You have reportedly "gone against your principles" for mere money. They almost don't deserve the name "principles" if they can be so cheaply bought.
  5. You didn't feel like gloating, and yet sent your story for publication in a national newspaper. Discuss.
The Jimmy Cliff song has the better bassline, but I've got to admit that the Sermon on the Mount has the better lyrics :-

"But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."

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