Monday, October 30, 2006

Too Good To Be True

This weekend, my husband and I volunteered to help out a new friend of ours who is the Executive Director for a non-profit community service agency in the area.

The organization does good work. They run an extremely affordable Thrift Shop full of newer, clean clothes, toys, bedding, kitchen items, furniture, sports equipment, books, and more. They have an emergency food bank and offer a "talent stable" of skilled help available to those who need it but can't afford it. Among other things, they also teach health & wellness classes, provide seminars for first-time home buyers, and give free massages to senior citizens and babies. In other words, they're providing a useful service to the community.

This organization had a website. Because funds for such agencies are often tight, the site was built and maintained by a volunteer. This was fine until the volunteer moved. The site is now locked in limbo-land. To make matters more interesting, the server hosting the site crashed. The domain is still valid, but for all intents and purposes, it is unaccessible.

The volunteer who built the website is a full-time student, and hasn't taken the time to take the existing website data and provide it to the organization.
So, they were stuck with a website they couldn't use. And the afore-mentioned tight funds made getting a new website up and online a daunting task.

Robert volunteered his web expertise, and we suggested a way for them to get online. It involved taking advantage of a special promotion from a web hosting service that’s extremely affordable, and which we’ve used with great success. In essence, if they acted during the special promotion, they could get online for about $30 for six months.

With great excitement, the Executive Director went before the Board and told them the Good News.

Their reaction? That was FAR less than they’d paid in the past. Surely, someone, somewhere had gotten the facts wrong. It simply sounded Too Good To Be True. Therefore, it had to be Suspect. Therefore, they wouldn’t look into it any further.

Now, I am a born skeptic. I know what it’s like to think something is TG2BT. Generally, my skepticism is rewarded.

But I am also a big believer in trusting the experts. If I’m doing something that’s draining my resources, and an expert in the field tells me a simple way to stop spinning my wheels, you can bet your sweet bippy that I’m going to give a certain amount of credence to the advice.

The moral of the story, I suppose, is to retain that healthy skepticism. But don’t use it to incapacitate yourself. If something seems TG2BT, rather than dismiss it out of hand, research it, instead. You never know – maybe you’ve been being taken for a ride. Because, in the eyes of most companies, the unquestioning customer who never comparison shops, never double-checks, and never consults with an expert, is the one who is Too Good To Be True!