How many times have you heard this when calling a phone number? “I’m not available right now. If you wish to leave a call-back number or leave a detailed message, please wait for the beep.” Then the automaton voice comes on to say, “At the tone, please record your message. After recording, you may hang up or press 1 for more options. If leaving a call-back number…”
What planet do people live on where they don’t know to wait for the beep?! How many hours (or what seems like days to me) have been wasted listening to Ms. Captain Obvious explain to anyone who has half a brain knows what to do? How about simply saying, “I’m not here, please leave a message.”
While I’m at it…
• Instead of supplemental restraint system, corrective eye lenses or dead front panel, how about air bag, glasses or electrical panel cover?
• When using your GPS, do you really need to be told which way to turn out of your driveway to get to your destination?
Why is the human penchant so strong to complicate the obvious?
Here’s a thought: Why not be concise? Make it short and sweet, get to the point, what’s the bottom line?
I’ve heard many presentations by attorneys who, after reviewing a typical home inspection report, agree that most clients don’t want to read pompous, blustering, turgid, verbose, orotund, high-flown, high-sounding, overwrought, pretentious, ostentatious, grandiloquent—in other words, inspectorspeak—reports.
Now remember, I’m not talking about technically exhaustive reports necessary for special situations. I’m just talking about your average, run-of-the-mill home inspection report.
And while we’re on the subject, is it really necessary to have a 40-page report with 75 photographs for a two-bedroom condo? Again, I’m not talking about a POS property. Since the name of this column is “Being Frank,” I’m going to use my prerogative to suggest that there is a lot of insecurity or self-doubt with many inspectors out there who try to CYA more than necessary to serve their clients.
Instead of: “Upon arrival at or about 0800 hours to the aforementioned property listed on the preceding Page 1 of Voluble Exhaustive Redundant Braggadocio Overly Suspicious Expansive Home And Personal Property Inspections report (henceforth gratefully referred to as VERBOSEHAPPI), the inspector, using his front-facing orbital senses, observed a deciduous acer rubrum limb from an adjacent property in contact with the roof-covering material in a method inconsistent with its proper intention.”
How about: “I started my inspection at 8a.m. and saw a tree limb laying across the house roof.”
Wouldn’t that suffice?
Get to the point, people. Nobody likes to listen to some blowhard make their ears bleed. There’s nothing wrong with being concise (adjective: succinct, incisive, brief).
That’s my rant for the month. Oh, wait, there’s one more. Take care of yourself! I know I’m starting to sound like your mom, but there are two great articles (“On My Mind” by Randy Sipe on Page 42 of this month’s Reporter and “Can You Apply ASHI’s Purpose and Scope to Your Own Health? Dr. Sandy Says Yes, You Can” by Dr. Sandy Goldberg on Pages 24-25 of the July issue of the Reporter) that describe some of the hazards and health issues of our lives. Please read these articles and take the messages to heart. Although some of us may be able to fool our spouses, our friends or our health care professionals, we can’t fool our bodies. We only get one. And while some parts can be repaired or replaced, our bodies, like buildings, are a system, with related parts depending on and influencing all the others.
Although it’s fun to think, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!” The reality is we need to treat ourselves with respect and work for the best life we can.
Next month: Leadership Training Conference. Get ready for a really great ride!
American Society of Home InspectorsDirect: 847-954-3182 • Frankl@ashi.org • www.ashi.org