Something has come home to me very strongly over the past two plus years.
Why that time period? Well that’s been the amount of time I’ve owned my Audi. You have to be careful of who you trust and who are your true friends.
Of course I’ve always known this. Years and years of experience of people who backstab you or who use you. That is just part of the facts of life. In fact, I found the body building world to be very fake and hard to know who good people were. Lots of selfishness and self centered people, as well as problems with self esteem. In addition, lots of people who really only wanted what was best for them and to utilize you for their personal gain. Being more entrenched into the car communities, those same traits became too obvious. Let me explain.
Growing up, I always had lots of fun working on cars with my dad. We always enjoyed the cars we had. My dad had new cars nearly every year. He put a lot of miles on them and figured there was no way to win owning a car. Either you lost money by depreciation in the first couple of years, you wrote the entire car off by owning it for several years or you lost money leasing because of all the miles put on the car within the first 1-3 years.
My first car was before I had a drivers license. My dad and I bought a 1977 Volkswagen diesel rabbit. It was silver, got 50 miles to the gallon or so, was gutless and shook at speed but it was mine and I learned a lot of my stick shifting with the gutless starts, especially on hills. It had some electoral problems we tried chasing down for a while and then we decided to sell. The next car I owned was a 1979 BMW 320i. I owned it until I totaled it in a car accident. Maybe I’ll go into more detail later. My third car was a dune buggy my dad and I built together. We bought the 1969 Volkswagen bug and took it completely down to nuts and bolts and the chassis. It became my class project for my senior year of school in high school. I had to get a mentor in the field, write a paper and build the car as well as an oral presentation at the end of the school year. More on that in a later post. I purchased my Dodge Cummins in 2000 and tuned it not long after then joining forums to gain more knowledge of my truck.
The reason I give this brief history is to point out how much fun I had with cars. When you went to car shows you met all kinds of people and they had all kinds of cars. It brought people together. As the YouTuber Salomondrin says “Cars Unite People” or CUP bangers. That has changed in my views over the last two years.
When I got my Audi, I only wanted to tune it and nothing else. I called GIAC, I talked to APR dealers, and I became involved in my local Audi club, the San Diego Audi Club. I asked many their opinions and finally decided to go with a small company named Custom Code. The rest has become a crazy rock and roll story.
I joined several car groups on Facebook and made a lot of friends. I also purchased a lot of quality parts from Iroz Motorsport. I was added into a Custom Code chat on WhatsApp and we discussed a lot about our cars, the problems we had, the solutions coming and the new mods everyone was making to their cars. If you paid attention you learned a lot and learned how things worked as well as what new things you could do.
The problems I saw started with the bashing of other companies in the groups and in the chat. I continued to see people be threatened by others success. They would lash out and talk a lot of trash about them where they felt safe with like minded friends or colleagues. This happened everywhere I turned. It happened in the chats it happened on social media, Instagram, Facebook and the car forums. It wasn’t like my old experiences of joining truck forums to learn about my Cummins.
During part of this time I took a course on marketing and learned how you can gain trust. It’s called social proof. Here’s how it works. You participate in groups a lot. You pose yourself as the expert answering questions, helping people with their issues and eventually everyone in that group sends their friends to you for your help. It takes a lot of time out of your day. You’re online all day answering people and helping them out. This isn’t fake it’s genuine but it results in you acquiring business.
I started to see some of the characters in my groups and chat hold a lot of sway over others. For one they portrayed themselves as the experts. The truth is very very few people are experts. Most just play at being experts. If you pay close attention you can start to figure those people out for yourselves.
Most people don’t pay enough attention. The real problem is that these people tell half truths and flat out lie about other things because they want to save face. They have all the answers down pat. They come back at you with witty responses and they bash you when they don’t agree with you. If someone claims they know everything, that person is not an expert. That sounds simple but it’s not. Most people don’t pay enough attention to see when that person is telling the truth or not.
I’ve seen many people hurt over the past 2 years because of falsehoods. I don’t care if those are only half truths. I look at a half truth as a lie as well. You aren’t being honest with the person you’re talking to. That’s not acceptable.
This all boils down to one major point I want to make. Beware of who you trust. People are not what they seem. They boast about their business, meanwhile have loads of problems others don’t disclose. Or they have lots of issues with particular aspects of their business. It could be communication or delivery of their products in a timely manner. Perhaps it’s because they can’t make the product that doesn’t continue to break. These are all things to look for in a business and in the way the businessman conducts himself.
I have chosen to surround myself with people who don’t claim to be the expert at anything. They might not be the best social media hound or even very involved in social media. That’s usually because they are more interested in serving their customer and they let their customer satisfaction speak for the quality of their business. I like people who will fix their mistakes, people who will say let’s get this figured out. I don’t want someone who likes to cast the blame on everyone else. I want the person who tells me I don’t know that but I’ll find out the answer.
I’ve written this not to call out any particular company or person. I’ve seen it very broadly over the last two plus years. I’m just submitting this as examples of what to watch out for and to be careful who you do business with. In a way it’s made my car experience somewhat tainted but I still love my vehicles and will always continue to modify them and have fun. The same
thing happened to my gym experience. I’ve learned now that I just have to put those people out of my life and move on doing my own thing. Surround yourself with those who are good to you and you can be loyal to them and they will in turn be good to you.
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