The solution to an obsessive-compulsive society
When I bought a car a few years ago, the car dealership had me sign about 40 items (yes, I counted).
I bought another car a few days ago. This time they had me sign 73 items. Every little detail had to be accounted for or signed off on. “Please confirm here, with your signature, that the bluetooth works and that this was witnessed by both parties”.
I can’t tell you all the things I signed off on because if I read through every document signed, I’d be sitting there all week. The pile of paper was as thick as any book.
I felt like I’m on candid camera, where people are secretly watching how far they can go with the madness until I start questioning it.
I had to confirm that the odometer was at the level the contract said it was and I also had to confirm that I had confirmed what I confirmed. Then I had to re-confirm that I confirmed what I had confirmed when I confirmed what I confirmed.
The car-dealer was printing out papers to sign for a total of three hours. He kept saying “We’ll get you out of here in no time” and “just a few more documents then you’re good to go”. The fact that I didn’t punch him in the face and say “Just give me the damn car!” is a miracle. This meditation-stuff has really paid off.
After arriving home, I received an email saying that I need to come back because there are a few more documents to sign. Regulations had changed and I needed to confirm that otherwise someone is going to be liable for blablabla.
So at 73 signatures we’re still not done. Maybe we can get it up to 100?
There’s a psychiatric term for this. It’s called obsessive compulsive disorder. A company is terrified that something goes wrong and needs me to sign off on every contingency.
“If something happens to the car after 30 days, please confirm that you won’t sue us. And also sign here to confirm that you have read this document. And sign here to confirm that I was present when you read this document”. I’m exaggerating a little, but that’s what it felt like. It’s like every lawsuit ever filed against the company turned into another signature that needed to be signed by all, just to make sure nothing ever goes wrong again.
(A later inquiry revealed that the problem was that I’m a cash-buyer. They normally do financing. 99% of people do financing. How strange that most people think they have to go into debt to have something as basic as a car. Also funny that people who go into debt receive quicker processing).
The lesson in this? Safety comes from within. No matter how many confirmations and affirmations you collect from the outside, if you don’t generate inner safety, nothing in the world can give it to you.
I sometimes do deals without contracts or signatures. Just a handshake. If the other party doesn’t follow through on their side of the deal, that’s their karma, not mine. It’s no big deal. What matters is that I stick to my word, I can’t control what others do. My reality is created by my own words, actions, decisions, not by micro-managing others.
You’ll find that not having to control the external, only the internal, is a huge RELIEF.