FUD--as in Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt--mostly a software industry acronym, is getting the upper hand over buyers who might have trouble sorting out, say, product unknowns and dependencies. The seller becomes the "expert" who makes FUD go away.
Recently, I saw FUD firsthand after deciding my Toyota needed a new clutch. I went to an independent import repair shop I'd used years ago. Could they replace the clutch and how much?
As fair disclosure, I said I imported the car from Canada on an individual basis, but otherwise the car was mechanically identical to its U.S. counterpart. The assistant manager, whom I'll call Danny, took down the Vehicle Identification Number [VIN] and called our local Toyota dealer. He got off the phone. The VIN was not in the Toyota database and getting the "right parts" would be time-consuming. My FUD antennae went up.
Danny then paused and said somberly, "This is a gray-market car," implying it was outside Toyota support channels. He pointed out unfortunates who bring back gray-market BMWs from Europe get stuck later. I sensed the intentionality of Danny's FUD: He wanted me to regret my Toyota from that day on.
I could've protested I was no more an unfortunate than the fellow who also imported the same Toyota model from Canada and told me how: a Boeing test pilot.
Instead I asked Danny how he would locate the parts. He said he might have to call Toyota of Canada and see if they could "track down the parts." I told him I could do that.
I went home, called my BC dealer and spoke with parts. Less than ninety minutes later, I gave Danny three Toyota part numbers and added, "The computer shows them currently in the California warehouse."
Danny said he would do more "research," and then he'd call with an estimate. He let days go by, possibly thinking his FUD had a lock on me.
I decided to check in with the local Toyota dealer.
My Toyota Service Advisor, whom I'll call Drew, was Danny's opposite. FUD was not in his playbook. A few clicks on his dealership database and he located my VIN: warranty work done ten years ago! Drew's laconic We-Can-Do-That customer service made clutch replacement, other than the expense, a breeze.
My Toyota re-clutched, I finally got a voicemail from Danny. He said he'd done "a lot of research" and located my clutch parts on another model, a Scion, but still offered to do the job for $300 more than the check I wrote the Toyota dealer. I couldn't bring myself to tell FUDful Danny I'd taken care of the matter.
Image credit: datatrend.com
Read Charlie Dickinson's
story collection [and feel free to share with a friend] The Cat
at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)
Also, a flash fiction, "Ylena Thinks Nyet," is at Cigale Literary Magazine.
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