Getting Hustled

Something that’s always bothered me is someone’s willingness to take advantage of another human being. Purposefully, they spot a weakness in another person—or situation—and work it to their advantage. Funny enough, when I’ve spotted it happening to me, I’ve noticed that the behavior is usually subconscious in the assailant. Only if you call it to their attention do they consider what they’re doing is wrong. Other times, the behavior is tailored, with every moved designed to push you further into the trap.

On Saturday, I was reviewing some recent automatic bill payments I set up when I noticed that one stood out: Comcast. Back in July, I gave them a call to see if I could modify my service to be internet-only and save a bit of cash. After an hour of back-and-forth, I thought I’d made some headway and received a reduced rate. Reviewing my bill yesterday, though, I noticed something strange…I haven’t been paying for what I’d asked. Instead, I’ve been paying for three separate services, two of which I explicitly noted I didn’t want. Interesting.

Calling in to ask what’s up, I got the expected run-around. Breaking down the various charges and referencing my call in July, I found the operator stumbling. What I can only figure as exploitation of a verbal loophole, it came down to an excuse that I was put on a promotional package to lower my bill. The promotion in question did get me a reduced rate on internet, but conveniently bundled in the other services (this was left out, of course), effectively making my bill more expensive. After being put on hold in a hurry, I was eventually greeted with a basket of apologies and—if this wasn’t another lie—what I hope is a significantly reduced rate. “I’m sorry sir, I’ve gotten clearance to give you an additional discount on your services.” Cute.

Know when you’re getting hustled. Your inability to detect another person’s game can allow them to destroy you (or at the very least, waste your time and money). We live in an age where the majority of folks out here are more than willing to play you for their own advancement. Yes, that sucks. No, you can’t do much about it—save for dousing their respective fires. Know how to dissect someone’s surface level front and navigate it to either escape it or turn it around on them.

Here’s the spooky part: everyone has a game (yes, even me). Humans are inherently selfish, whether we like to admit or not. Whether it’s to get in line first, date the girl before the other guy, or take the money off the table, everyone is convinced they deserve “it” more than anyone else. It’s hard-coded in your blood. This doesn’t mean you should be paranoid and think everyone is out to get you, but don’t be a pawn. Pay attention. Letting people run their game on you will only leave you vulnerable, and ultimately, unhappy.