Finance · Lifestyle

Those Poor Suckers

Let me begin this post by saying that I try really hard not to judge other people. After all, there’s so much going on in life that I can’t possibly know or understand what every single person is dealing with during my brief encounter with him/her. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt instead, and wonder what is going on in their lives to cause them to make certain decisions or act a certain way.

Back in high school, I had a math teacher, Mr. B., who would try to incorporate real life examples into his lessons. There was one that I’ll never forget: He was explaining how to calculate the volume of a cylinder and also how to determine how much material would be needed to make a cylinder of a certain volume. In his example, he used a soda can since it’s something we’d seen a million times and could easily visualize.

While I couldn’t tell you how to actually do these calculations anymore, the lesson I remember learning was that manufacturers could create cans with a greater volume while using the same amount of aluminum to do so. Why do I remember this? Well, Mr. B. told us that whenever he sees students drinking soda from a can, all he can think is, “Those poor suckers.” In his eyes, they were suckers for not knowing that the soda companies could fit far more soda into a can without an increased cost in materials.

While I don’t think of soda drinkers as suckers, the phrase “those poor suckers” often crosses my mind when I see something that doesn’t make sense to me, knowing that there are better options available. So while I may not judge people for their actions, I do think, “those poor suckers” instead. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they simply don’t know any better.

An example of this is cars. I don’t live in an affluent neighborhood by any means, so when I see a Cadillac or other high-end vehicle driving through, I think, “Those poor suckers,” because they probably don’t know what kind of financial harm they’re doing to themselves. They probably don’t realize what their other, better options even are. I don’t entirely blame them for their ignorance and I certainly don’t judge them. After all, we all have different priorities and are free to spend our money in accordance with those priorities. It’s entirely possible that they aren’t ignorant and instead have chosen a vehicle over anything else they could have done with that money.

So, the moral of the story is to educate yourself as best you can so you can avoid becoming a sucker. Know what your options are, as well as the opportunity cost, so you can choose the best one to align with your goals.

Have you ever seen something that made you think the person was a sucker?

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