published Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Dalton Roberts: A little honesty would be refreshing


by Dalton Roberts

I never knew the guy who did the Rossville Furniture Co. ads a few years ago. I wish I had gone by and met him and thanked him for his interesting and unusual ad.

He would tag every one with, "Come on down to Rossville Furniture Co. It's just as good a place as any to buy furniture." He didn't say, "It's the cheapest place to buy furniture" or "It's the finest furniture in town" or "We have the friendliest staff." All he claimed was, "It's as good a place as any to buy your furniture."

If I had been buying a house full of furniture, I think I would have bought it from him. Most advertising is nothing but exaggerated claims, half truths and half lies. It plays up the very best in the product and plays down the very worst.

I remember buying some furniture from a fancy dealer, and most of it came apart. I'm hunting a powerful glue right now to keep it alive a few more days. In other words, that place was not just as good a place as any to buy my furniture.

What I liked about the old Rossville Furniture Co. salesman was the matter-of-fact way he presented himself and his company. He wasn't bragging or boasting. He was just saying, "This is the way it seems to me."

In almost all fields, we have gotten ourselves into the habit of making absurd claims. That's why we tune out politicians and most commercial ads. Not only are they going to send you something for $19.95 if you call and use your credit card, they'll double your order.

Not only will politicians educate your children, they'll fix the potholes in the road that have jarred your children's heads for so long it has substantially lowered their IQ.

Politicians who run on a pledge to never raise taxes are the most dangerous jackasses in the pasture. What they're really saying is, "If the schools fall in and the potholes are breaking axles -- or any catastrophe befalls the community -- I'll be snug and secure in my little position that I've sold my soul for."

Just one time I'd like to hear a politician say, "I'm just as good a man as any to vote for." And what would make it grand and glorious would be if he was.

I remember a man taking a strong stand for family values while he was in the midst of an ongoing 14-year affair with a much younger woman. Another ran as "a successful businessman" when he had bankrupted three businesses.

None of these people could make the simple, honest statement, "Just as good a man as any." That statement claims adherence to a basic level of honesty and performance.

I'm not encouraging lowering the expectations of politicians or products. I'm encouraging fundamental honesty in the presentation of ourselves and our products.

I say: Let's say who we are and be who we are and, in most cases, we will be worthy of confidence.

I never remember my father bragging in his life, but he was just as good a man as any to be trusted to get anything done.

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