Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Power of a Lie / Judy

A year or so ago, realizing we’d been in this house for two years, we decided we should probably have our furnace system checked. I remember my dad had his inspected every year, usually before winter, to make sure it was all working well.

Not knowing who we should call about it, we decided to go with a business that often sends postcards in the mail. They came to inspect our system and here’s what they told us: the whole system had not been put in very well, there was a severe crack in the component in the attic, the thermostat or whatever regulated the heat was not working so it was running too hot and was actually dangerous as it might start a fire, and finally that there was a carbon monoxide leak. Of course we felt fortunate we hadn’t woken up dead some morning.
In a slight panic, we asked what to do. Well, they said kindly, we will come and replace the whole thing for you. And since you don’t want an old air conditioner tied to a new furnace, we’d better replace that too. All for the reasonable cost of about $10,000. But afterwards we could be assured all was safe and in good repair.  AAACCCKKK!

Since that was quite a bit of money, we thought it prudent to get a second opinion and called the people my dad used. When that man came, we told him what we’d been told and he checked everything and said it was all untrue. There was nothing wrong with any part of our furnace and it was not dangerous at all.

But a lie is so potent, it changes your perception of reality, and we still weren't sure we were safe. So then we called the gas company itself and they sent out an inspector at no charge and he said the same thing as the second man. Turns out all we needed to do was change our filter and then have an inspection once or twice a year.

But how do we detect lies? In the case of the heating company, the continuous belittling and accusations of the first salesman about our system and even about the home builder made us both very uncomfortable.  It wasn't just about the money; he had a snarky attitude. So we sought other professional assessments. But even after these positive assurances about our system, we felt unsettled for months. The power of a lie -- very difficult to break its hold.

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