Don’t be a Wood Duck

Wood Duck by Isa Stralian

The term ‘wood duck’ arose in the 70’s in the used car industry, and was a term used by the salesmen to describe the gullible and the naive purchasers of a used car.

These were people who ventured out to buy that which they had no real knowledge of, other than that based on conjecture, supposition and armed with a disproportionate ego aided by desire.

Today the term is ascribed to the same individuals in a broader consumer base, which now includes ‘turkey and ‘goose’, People that buy on the basis of what they like to believe rather than forearming themselves with any real knowledge whether it be air conditioning or other home wares.

This is not something exclusive to the general public as professionals such as builders, architects and engineers are also found to be wanting.

Those involved in a one time purchase are fairly well stuck with their selection, and spend the following years justifying their lack of due diligence, as to change their choice bears a cost most are unwilling to submit to.

As information is seemingly available to all via Google the concept of misrepresentation escapes 95% of the public who are not aware that the misrepresentation is in what they choose to believe…language comprehension and vague statements, that allow the reader to interpret as they choose unless they are well trained to perceive the difference in what is being said, to what is being inferred.
What the consumer is not aware of is that these structured statements in slick advertising are used to promote a type of self delusion and false confidence within the consumer.

Example….I went in to the Good Guys to buy one of the new fandangled juicers…Nutribullet…now how can anything be simpler and what could go wrong with a new product that is extensively advertised on TV, the medium supposedly conveying the word of God.

The Good Guys salesperson was polite, answered my questions and ultimately led me to the transaction counter where I completed my purchase.

I presumed that all I needed to decide on was what power I was going to avail myself of, 600, 900, 1000 or 1200w and so decided that somewhere at the top end would do it.

Took the unit home, gave it to my wife, who promptly began to used it. Plugged it in and out came this nectar of fruit combined….wonderful.

Went to do it once more, the switch changed colour a few times and then went dead….so being as how I bought it, it became my responsibility so I took it back to the store the following day and therein I learnt what questions to ask when buying anything….particularly electrical.

The first and big question is ‘which and what percentage come back on warranty’

I don’t say this is infallible but it might help you regain some control over your purchases.

The most common give away is when a request for work is lodged with service sites such as hipages, ostensibly designed to help you find a tradesman interested in your request. The request itself identifies the poster as being knowledgeable or not.

In the first place, the poster is asking a tradesperson to spend time and money to entertain their request. If the request is seemingly based on a quick and cheap request then all they will likely get is a handyman moonlighting between fruit picking or some such activity.

A good tradesperson will be seeking at least $80/hr + travel so anyone thinking they’re going to get a tradesperson to wander out to some remote location to ‘have a look’ at what they believe should be a cheap cash in hand job is somewhat delusional especially as the tradesperson / handyman would have to pay the agency some $12, on average, just to get the contact details.


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