Consignment: (n) agreement to pay a supplier of goods after the goods are sold.
There are three of them.
Yes, three different interactions with human beings that are disconcerting because they require a certain amount of trust in a stranger, which seems completely irrational.
May I start with a car mechanic? I don’t care who he knows, who knows you or who knows him.
When you are bringing your vehicle in to be checked over, you are walking in the assumption that this attendant standing before you, glibly relating what has befallen your transportation, is speaking the truth.
Now why would he do that?
We don’t trust anybody else that much.
If you live in a household with children, you don’t bake three dozen chocolate chip cookies without finding a really good hiding place. Even though they’re your children and you’re supposed to trust them, you don’t.
But we take our cars–and put them in consignment–to a complete stranger under the assumption that he is going to love that four wheels as much as we do, and for some reason, give us a good, jim-dandy deal.
Secondly, a pawn shop. I suppose if you get desperate enough to go and pawn something, it may not really matter if it works out well in the end. Survival may be so important in the moment that considering future moments might be irrelevant.
But what’s to keep a pawn shop guy from tearing up your ticket, selling your thing, making some profit and then pretending he never even saw you before?
So to a certain degree, we consign to this broker virtue that just may not exist–because we are desperate to receive a financial fraction of what our item is worth.
And of course, finally and obviously, there is the actual consignment store. You bring in your clothes or your used appliances, and they agree to set them out for people to buy–and later they present you with a check. And you have no idea if it represents any fair portion of the amount for which they sold your treasure.
So please don’t come to me and say that you have difficulty putting your faith in your loved ones or your trust in God.
For any person who will believe a mechanic, a pawn shop broker or a consignment store owner, should believe everybody
(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)