Getting Screwed

“Everyone’s out to screw ya.” That is one of my many mottos, although it’s probably about the only negative one, I have in my repertoire of truisms. “Enjoy the journey” and “It’s all good” are much more positive sounding than the aforementioned adage, but regardless “It is what it is.” That last motto is most-likely my brother’s favorite saying although he has also taken my “Everyone’s out to screw ya” sentiment a step further by adding his own “If anyone’s gonna get screwed…it’s me.” I suspect there’s a vast amount of unsuspecting people out there who’s getting screwed at this very moment, and I’m sure they’re not even aware that it’s happening to them. Don’t care for the word, screwed? Then try using cheated, gipped, duped, swindled, or bamboozled in its place if it’ll make you feel better.

I certainly dislike being so cynical at my tender age (I’m not 50 yet), but I truly believe the deceitful actions of a good portion of the human race warrants such skepticism. It’s admirable to want to see the good in people, and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but we should know by now that people are inherently bad. Why else would “People = Sh*t” be one of my favorite Slipknot songs? Okay, I suppose the brutal drumbeats and harsh vocals may have something to do with my fondness for that track as well, but the message still rings true. How do I know? Because I have lived.

Looking back, even as a child my peers obviously were out to screw me, and I probably held the identical mindset towards them; however, I doubt if any of us even realized what we were doing at the time. I’m pretty sure my main objective wasn’t fairness, when trading baseball cards with my friends, but I don’t think I was out to screw them over either. I simply believe it’s in our nature to take advantage of others if it somehow benefits us. Unfortunately, we are born into this world as self-absorbed homo sapiens. The problem is far too many of us never outgrow our selfish ways. Ultimately, it’s up to each and every one of us to choose how we’re going to handle any advantageous situation that may come our way.

The first time I can remember having the inkling that “Everyone’s out to screw ya” was shortly after my lovely wife gave birth to our son in 1989. We were required to pay the estimated cost of our attending physician’s services, minus the anticipated insurance benefits, well before our baby’s due date. We were told at the time we would be reimbursed if we had overpaid, for services rendered, sometime after the delivery. My wife and I eventually learned we were owed over a thousand dollars when all was said and done. We waited, and then waited some more, for our refund check to arrive in our mailbox.

As a young couple caring for a newborn we definitely could’ve used that money (our money). A few months had passed when I decided a phone call on my part was long overdue. I contacted the doctor’s office and was informed I had to request the funds that were owed to us before anyone could issue a refund for the overpayment. Really? About a week later we received the requested check. I believe it was during this time when I added the saying “Why does there always have to be a problem?” to my collection of truisms. I just don’t understand why some businesses seem to think it’s my responsibility to hold them accountable. Somewhere along the way I’ve also discovered it’s sometimes entirely left up to me to make sure everyone else is adequately doing their job.

Another time my “Everyone’s out to screw ya” theory was reinforced was a few years ago when I encountered a business preying upon their customers. They were a bit selective as to who their victims were, but the auto repair franchise was disingenuous nonetheless. I had regularly taken my vehicle to this particular auto shop, for oil changes, without incident. However, the one time I had the missus drop off my car, on my behalf, everything changed. The business opted to upgrade the type of oil used, which was unnecessary and without our permission, so our bill was ten dollars more than usual. I immediately headed to the auto shop, once my wife informed me of the additional charge, and demanded an explanation for their conduct. I was given some pathetic excuse, for their switcheroo, albeit the manager did offer us a free oil change next time. I told the manager I sensed they were deliberately taking advantage of their female customers; therefore, my wife and I would not be back!

More recently, a member of my family experienced a company cleverly “putting the screws” to him during an annual inspection of his 3 year-old air-conditioning (A/C) unit. The heating and cooling specialist took a few pictures of some dust and mold, located in my loved one’s attic, and then warned him of the health risks associated with the growing fungus. The representative offered to take care of the problem, right then and there, and he was even kind enough to offer waiving the $600. mold removal fee if my family member purchased a specific, expensive gadget (that day) which he claimed would eliminate any future health hazards. The scare tactic worked, and my trusting loved one spent assumingly thousands of dollars that day. Subsequently, we were apprised, after a little bit of research, that the mold in the attic could’ve only been caused by one of two things: either the A/C unit was too big for the home’s square footage or the heating and cooling system was not properly fitted when it was installed.

Therefore, we’ve concluded the company’s negligence was solely responsible for my family member’s health threat, and the problem should’ve been rectified at no cost to him. In addition, we discovered the purchased gadget, presented as the solution to any health concerns, was only an air purifier, so eventually the fungus will reappear unless the actual problem is fixed. That’s just another fine example of how ” Everyone’s out to screw ya.” I now actually live my life expecting to be cheated, gipped, duped, swindled, and bamboozled. I find that practice to be the best defense against getting screwed.

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