This is hypothetical so don’t read too deeply into it. Let’s say you’re walking across town carrying some heavy bags. Let’s also say that you’re walking in front of a bicycle shop and the owner is out front sweeping. Let’s say that the owner offers to give you one of his cheaper bicycles for free because (he says) he’s been in your situation before and knows how much easier it would make things if you could stick the stuff in the panniers and just ride to where you’re going. Let’s say that while you can ride a bicycle, the model he has has some features you don’t understand, and it makes you worry you may not be able to ride this bicycle properly. When you bring this up the owner apologizes and says that the bicycle is one of his own design but he hasn’t gotten to writing a manual for the features. Here’s the quiz part, do you a) use the bicycle, taking a chance later to try out the features and write down what they do for the owner as a thank you for giving you a free bicycle when you needed it, b) thank the owner for his kind offer but politely decline because you’re concerned that the features may not work properly for you without a better understanding of what they do, or c) complain that the owner doesn’t really care about his customers because he is spending time sweeping in front of his store rather than working on the documentation?
Hint a) and b) are things my mother would be proud of, c) would have gotten me walloped. I’m ashamed of some people’s sense of entitlement. I hope I raise my children better.Written on May 30th, 2009 by Chris Prather