Online Hose Suppliers or Snake Oil Salesmen?

Kip commented on my last post about Online Hose Suppliers and he cautioned me to be very careful.  His comments were valid and my responses lengthy enough that I figured they’d make a decent little post on their own. 

Here is what Kip said in his comment on my last post:

Be wary of would-be hose suppliers who promise the moon; they tend to be in the same class as snake oil salesmen. And let’s face it, they can tell you anything and show you any kind of pictures they want on the internet. There are some things you just shouldn’t purchase online, and this is one of them. You need to see that hose in the flesh and hold it in your hand, make sure it connects properly and produces a healthy flow when turned on. As they say: think globally but act locally! The hose you need may be in your own backyard. So get out there and find it: examine it well, hook it up and turn it on! Don’t despair that you haven’t found it yet. If you have faith in it, it will come!

 And, now my response:

I’m not certain that purchasing something like this online is necessarily a bad deal, though it would require certain additional considerations and many, many precautions.  I would never purchase a hose sight unseen.  I would insist on the opportunity to see the hose, hold the hose and try all the appropriate functions to ensure the hose and my pump fit well together.

 If the hose I needed were in my own backyard, I’d be happily swimming in my blissful pool rather than looking for a quality hose!  I can assure you that there really are no quality hose suppliers in my area and I’ve been diligent in seeking them out.  You see the emphasis here is on quality.  I believe the inner construction and the make up of the hose will determine its usefulness and effectiveness in working with my pump over the long haul.  Most hose dealers are supplying hoses that are poorly constructed, made of weak or brittle materials, not long enough or are simply not the right kind of hose for the job.  After all, if I’m looking for a hose to attach my pool to my pump, I’m not going to use a garden hose.  Garden hoses are not bad and they definitely serve their purpose, but it simply isn’t the kind of hose I’m looking for.  Further, you’d be surprised to find out how many local suppliers post a picture of a hose that looks serviceable but then when I go to visit them to see the hose, they present me with a worn, damaged, dirty and defective item.  It is disappointing, tiring and I’m not wasting time with any of that!  So, I continue on with my search for the best hose for my pump.

 As for the getting out there and finding it?  Well, I’ve worked tirelessly at this project for some time now.  I’m quite willing to do the legwork required to examine the hoses thoroughly, hook them up, and turn them on.  It is upon closer examination (before even hooking up)  that I usually find defects, flaws, ways that the hose would be incompatible with my pump.  When these concerns in hose viability arise, it seems foolish for me to go the next step of hooking up the hose and turning it on.  Why waste my time trying to make a hose work when it isn’t a good hose or the right hose?  No, I need to be able to see that the hose is the right hose before the hook up and turning on.  Once I take that hose home, I can’t expect it to become a different hose.  I can’t just see a brand new hose, hook it up and turn it on and hope it works. I just don’t shop that way.  I prefer to do my research on each hose carefully and thoughtfully first.  Salesmen hate me because I ask a lot of questions and can determine fairly quickly where the inconsistencies lie and where the defects in the hose will be.  When I do find that special hose, then and only then will I consider hooking it up and turning it on.  After all, not just any hose will do for my pump.  I want the best hose!  I’m willing to pay well for it, travel the earth shopping for it, and when I get it home I will care for and maintain it well because I really hate hose shopping.

Compatibility Under Fire

In the online dating arena and in the offline dating arena there is a buzzword evolving that is beginning to annoy me because it is so vague as to be meaningless, but it is also becoming overused.  This word is “compatible”.  Another variation of it is “compatibility”.  People talk about compatibility like it is the end all and be all, the one single ingredient to a successful, lasting relationship or at least one of the top five.  The problem, for me, is not that compatibility isn’t important, it is that it is so difficult to nail down.  Just exactly what does it mean to be compatible?  

Does compatibility mean sharing the same interests?  If so, then I know plenty of people with whom I share the same interests, but we would never make good partners for a romantic involvement.  They are either too young, too old, the wrong sex, already married…but we are compatible if compatibility simply means sharing the same interests.  On the other hand, I also know plenty of people with whom I have no common interests as far as activities or hobbies are concerned, but I really connect with these people on some level other than mere interests or hobbies. In fact, some of these people share none of my interests, but we still get along fabulously and have been able to find things to do or places to go spend time together that we both like.  Compatibility cannot be simply reduced to being able to share the same interests or hobbies.  It can never simply be evaluated based on how many things we like to do together. 

Does compatibility mean we get along well together?  And what does get along well together mean?  Does it mean we never argure, never disagree?  Does it mean we can work well together?  Does it mean we resolve conflicts effectively when they do arise?  Does it mean we just don’t care what the other peson does so they never get under our skin?  Hmmmm, that sounds problematic to me.  I don’t think compatibility can be limited to merely getting along peacefully either.

Paul Reiser, in his book Couplehood, 1994, Bantam Books, offers this explanation instead:

Because the way I figure, there are two types of people: those who get it and those who don’t.  If they get it, there’s nothing to explain, and if they don’t, there’s no point in trying to explain.  They don’t get it.  Move on.    But I remember thinking that if you’re going to be with someone, you should find someone who gets it.  And someone who fits.

Simplistic as it might seem, I agree with this assessment.  I’ve done my share of agonizing over the online profile.  I’ve wondered how to nail down exactly what I’m looking for when it can’t be nailed down other than to say that when I meet him I’ll know it.  He’ll get it.  We’ll be a fit for each other. There is no need to agonize over the descriptors because the descriptors can take a million different forms and they can all fit or none of them fit. 

The key is knowing when it is a fit or when it is not and moving on and staying committed to the process.  The bigger problem here is that we want to make what doesn’t fit…fit…because we are tired of the search and afraid the search will never end.  This is where fear creeps in and heartache is born. 

I never want to go that route again and I never want to use “compatibility” as my excuse for doing so and I dont’ have to agonize over what it will look like when it is right.  They’ll either get it or they won’t.   He’ll either get me or he won’t.  There is no better litmus test of compatibility than this.