I have been scammed and I feel pretty lousy about it. Actually lousy is not the right word. I feel powerless. I feel vulnerable. I felt betrayed and taken advantage of. The victim in me is in full bloom.
At times like these I wish I had a protector, a savior, a man. It is not even about the money as it is a small amount. It is about the fact that somebody looks you straight in the eye and lies to your face. Somebody thinks you are dumb enough and too weak to do anything about it.
The feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness is tough to deal with. I am also feeling pretty dumb. How can this self-made street smart business woman be in such a predicament? I am no longer this illegal immigrant that spoke no English. I am an American now, I have it all and I have rights. Also online I am able to spot scammers a mile away, but face to face this guy just had me.
I am not going to bore anyone with the minute details of the story. The fact is I have been ripped off by a fridge repairman. I paid for a new part and he gave me an old one.
But this is more than monetary loss, it is about misplaced trust.
I was livid when I found out. At this point I don’t even know if the part needed to be changed or not. He was recommended by someone I trust so I had complete confidence in him.
When I found out I called him and asked him about it and he, of course, denied it. He was supposed to stop by to talk to me about it last night. He never did. Today I called him and gave him a piece of my mind.
What am I to do now? My options are limited.
- Sue him? It is $375.00, so it is not worth my time to go to court over that.
- Find someone to break his legs? Of course I am kidding about this option, but it shows you how mad I am that I am even dreaming about inflicting bodily harm.
- Blast the internet with bad reviews? Hum perhaps that will make me feel better, especially since warning others is a good thing.
- Grin, bear it and move on? If I choose this one, does it mean I am just a doormat?
There are the “why me” feelings. I treat everyone with respect, kindness, honesty, why? I will tell you “why me”: because clearly there are lessons here for me to learn!
At this moment I am breathing, putting aside hurt feelings and looking at the bigger picture. First, I need to stop the drama: No one died! Second I need to look at the part I played: I am one of the main characters in this plot so I need to see how I can play it differently next time and have a different outcome.
“That’s the thing about being a victim; you start to think it’ll happen to you on a regular basis. It’s living with the reality of your own vulnerability, and it sucks.” ― Dennis Lehane, A Drink Before the War
I am only a victim if I give the other person or the event/situation the power to make me feel that way. Here are some of my ideas of what I can do different next time:
- Fix it myself. Youtube has tutorials on everything. I actually had changed that same part in my old fridge in my old apartment myself (with the help of a friend). This time I thought it was a different problem, so when he told me it was the same problem I figured I would just throw money at the problem and not have to ask anybody’s help. (I hate asking for help)
- Never blindly trust a repair person/salesman, etc, /don’t let your guard down even if referred by someone I know. Because he was so well recommended I saw this guy as a friend and let my guard down.
- Go with my gut. When in doubt I will get a second opinion. My gut was telling me to wait to fix it, but I ignored the little voice inside.
- I will ask for proof. Whenever getting anything repaired that requires new parts I will ask for the box the new part came in and ask to keep the old part.
- I will do my research and ask questions. I will let them know that I am not totally clueless (and careless) about the issue.
- I will treat it as business deal and not as a new friendship. I was my usual self with this person. I was super friendly and cracking jokes. I treated him how I would like to be treated, and in this case didn’t work. I think that it sent him the wrong message. It made me seem like an easy gullible prey.
- I will never pay with cash (had I paid with credit card I could dispute the charge)
- Whenever possible I will not pay the entire amount at once.
In the end perhaps this $375.00 will be an investment in making sure that I don’t lose thousands in the future.
But, perhaps over-analyzing it, is this hitting me so hard because in some weird way it mirrors the full trust I had in Ex?
Why should I ever trust anyone again? Should I become this hard, serious, non-trusting person? Should I change? Why do I need to change? too many questions, no answers 😦
“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” ― Steve Maraboli