I am prone to hype aversion. But then again, I grew up in an age when everyone just had to have a pet rock and mothers tried to kill each other over the fake scarcity of Cabbage Patch Kids. We viewed with skeptism everyone getting aluminum siding on their houses, as if it was a neighborhood competition, because it was hyped by the local tin man.
It is also some part growing up Texan, I guess. We tend to be religious while at the same time having a healthy disrespect for organized religion. Another example, is that we are terribly patriotic while having a general distrust of government.
I do not buy the Mac mania much because I of my hype aversion.
I ignore the "value billing" gurus because I view it as less about how clients agree to be billed as a cute little means of price competing in marketing. Call it what you want, it is all about attorneys making a worse living for more work, or that is what it seems to me.
When partisans and zealots jump up and yell that we have the best healthcare system in the world, I know it is good technologically, but otherwise I know the comment is likely wrong. It is kind of like proclaiming with confidence that our local DMV office is the best in the world because the lines are so long.
Hype usually follows with a contract that is nothing like that which was sold, and yet we sign the contract blindly as if the hype is everything, and we are not bound by the contract that says there was no other representations relied upon.
Law schools, and unfortunately law students, fall for the hype of law school rankings while ignoring what is important. Law schools are creating a bubble by indiscriminately raising tuition year after year by nearly double digits just because other law schools are doing it. If my mother had asked a law school if "everyone else jumped off the Empire State building, would you?" Law schools would seem to answer emphatically "YES!!!", and then ask for directions to the Empire State building. Just like all bubbles, we know that the law school ranking race is harming the practice of law, enjoyment is the practice of law, and the poor, yet we seem powerless to do anything about it.
Students, on the other hand, select law schools for all of the wrong reasons. If each gravitated to the law schools with the lowest costs qne good bar results, those law schools would be the most highly ranked.
Lawyers buy into the hype of status in terms of staff, offices, advertising, expensive tech and the like without considering the financial costs.
Overly hyped movies tend to disappoint.
Overly hyped restaurants are not that good.
Advertising and unscrupulous marketing people, not related to, and less concerned about the product or service they are selling, are good part of the problem.
Those diet supplements showing before and afters are either not real, airbrushed, or are as a result of a workout and diet regiment not revealed and the results of which are little related to the supplements.
We have all come to suspect those that call themselves the best, not to be the best. A guarantee is not a guarantee. Banks will screw you by advertising a free account and then killing you with other less disclosed fees.
Remember the tech bubble when everybody and their dog loved to brag on their stock gains (while conviently never mentioning their stock loses). What about the mortgage bubble. Now everyone is chasing Facebook up the stock latter as if the stock price cannot fall. Generally speaking, insurance companies raise premiums on doctors, lawyers, drivers and those needing medical coverage less because of rising litigation and inflation, but because of repeated bad investments.
What about Enron? Worldcom? Adelphia? Bernie Madoff? For that matter, what about Jack Abramoff? Good grief, does it never end. Any more, show me a company -- directly or through its subordinates -- giving unbelievable amounts of donations to a politician, political party and PACs, and I will show you a company cooking the books or trying to steal from the governement. What politician woud seriously consider on their own the possibility of turning over roads, built with tax dollars, to special business interest who charge each motorist for their use? Or, the right to corral and charge consumers and businesses for each email sent?
There are rarely any free lunches.
Guys, no matter how many dollar bills your toss, no matter how many drinks you buy, and no matter how many lap dances you purchases, those girls at the "gentlemen's clubs" are not going to sleep with you.
The problem exists in the practice of law. I remember when everyone and their dog wanted to dive into FDCPA and TIL litigation because they heard of the few large awards. Also, can we forget the Fen-Phen debacale when lawyers starting quiting what they were doing to gather clients for a potential settlement mechanism that really never happened?
In court, too many lawyer rely on hype rather than facts and the law. It is almost as if they can will some legal theory to be true even though the court of appeals has repeatedly said it is not.
There have been some exceptions. The Internet for one. Pier to pier phone calls over the computer is another. But, it is not the rule.
Just remember, snake oil salespeople are still everywhere. They are hard working people sometimes. Often they are pawns. But, their product or service do not work as hyped. They confuse making a living with selling something accurately and honestly. Accuracy rarely happens. Thus, as I have always said, snake oil salespeople do not believe they are snake oil salespeople.
The problem with hype is that it is almost always designed to separate you from your money.
The first rule is that if it is complicated to understand you are in trouble. Gamblers in Vegas will tell you they have never had a problem with winning or losing money gambling on the Super Bowl. They have only felt taken by the stock market and their brokers.
Everybody, and especially every lawyer, needs to suffer from hype aversion -- to be a little less gulible -- and the entire world might be a little bit better.