Saturday, April 6, 2013

Smoke alarms remind me of the power of fear

I chatted on the radio yesterday as the conversation was about the memory of year 2000. I recalled how the milennium bug was a real worry, concluding with "the world runs on fear and for a while the millennium bug was the fear of the day"

And as we go to daylight savings and I prepare to change all my smoke alarm batteries I recall a very early experience with door to door selling and fear appeals. In 1976 some (nice) guy came out to "consult" mum and dad about the fire security of our family house. Some scary photos and perhaps even movies and then the kids (us) were asked to leave while "the adults" had a conversation. The next day the "consultant" was back, putting a "fire detector" in every room. The guy was clearly a better salesman than installer, because it was my dad who was routing around the roof to find the timbers to attach to.

I recall the name of the company as "masterguard" and they may be global, and still playing the same game. This from a forum:

My wife and our friends went to this "Free" dinner last night and learned about how poor the average smoke detector really protects your home. Now the guy wants to come to our apartment to see how well protected we are. Fine, he was nice enough and bought us dinner, plus we are moving 1700 miles away on Saturday. I can't find much info on the web about costs. Their website smacks of MLM speak. Too much info about what you need to fear and not enough about what the products are. I've found one piece of info here and that's it. Sounds like a rip off even if it does protect way better. I have exhausted my own resources and am now turning to OT. I know there are others out there who have run into these people. What do you know?

So my (very world wise) parents paid thousands in today's money for some gadgets because they cared, let a salesman into their house, and into their hearts. Fear is a weapon, and freedom is the resisting of it. We did get some shiny stickers though, that said "fireman save my child" to put on the kids windows. I'm sure the story was that if there was an incident then the fireman would know where to go.

I'm still changing my batteries today. Just good sense. Where there is a gap between good sense and our own behaviour we can often see that fear is the cause.

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