20 April 2009

On reflection; the general embodied in the particular. Or is it?

OK, this has got little to do with learning and teaching; but it does illustrate the process of reflecting to disclose a general process embodied in a particular incident--and its limitations...

To set the scene, I've just changed my car; this is how I commented to a friend;
As the salesperson had warned, I was phoned this morning by a pleasant woman from their head office to check out some details. Quite unnecessary, but apparently part of their standard quality assurance procedure enjoined on them by their regulator (in this case, the Financial Services Agency, the self-same outfit which failed to regulate the banks...)

I'm sure there was some b***s****ing going on, but the call naturally became a sales pitch for something called "gap insurance". Not cheap travel insurance for a "gap year" back-packing, unfortunately. It is designed to cover the shortfall between what an insurance company would pay for a car written-off in an accident and the price one paid for it. 399 ($US 600) for three years. I politely declined. The caller then informed me that because of FSA rules, I would have to sign to the effect that I had been informed about the product but had declined it, before I could collect the car.

I explored this with her for several minutes. I deconstructed it as, "You are telling me that I cannot buy a car for cash, without explaining why I don't want a totally unnecessary financial product, solely because you have told me about it?" To her credit she agreed it was so, but she was only...
It did cross my mind to refuse to go through with the purchase on the grounds of more nannying micro-management of how we handle routine risks, but I concluded it would merely be a gesture which would rebound on no-one except us, since it probably now applies across the board. But it did feel like a small defeat...


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