For some reason people can be pretty good at tuning conversations out that aren’t real high on the ‘important right now’ meter. We are able to half listen, nod at the right times and an occasional “uh huh” can go along way to pass as an engaged dialogue. There are however certain subjects that supersede our feigned attention span and our ears perk up, we lean forward to catch every word and for some unexplainable reason we give our speaker instant credibility even though they may have absolutely no expertise in the subject matter.
Two such topics are undeniably attention grabbers. Stock tips cause instant arousal even for the casual listener and it doesn’t matter who’s giving the tip. It could be your barber making light talk as he cuts your hair, the painter you hired who is bragging about the cool $500.00 he made on a hunch or any such person who crosses your path and claims to have ‘inside’ information. The other hot tip that’s simply irresistible is pest control recipes that are guaranteed to work and NEVER fail. Just like the stock tipper, the person giving this information usually has had no training in the field of pest control but because of the lure of a secret tip, we give an attentive ear.
The inside scoops you get from folks like this aren’t mean spirited or said in a manner to mislead. On the contrary the tipper is convinced of their information and the tippe can’t help but be somewhat convinced because of the sincerity of their words. The problem is that these ‘fail safe’ techniques, mixtures or methods are almost always based on anecdotal evidence or here-say information at best. Most times these vaunted concoctions or methods come with a story of insurmountable stories of infestations.
“Oh back in my youth we had so many roaches it sounded like rain when we sprayed. What we did was put cocoa powder mixed with borax all over the house and it killed every single one of them.” OR: “We had so many fleas in our home you couldn’t step inside, just throw salt all over the floors and coat your pets in used motor oil and you’ll get rid of your fleas.” and the ever popular, “ My brother just taped 3 bombs together for the kitchen and one or two in every other room and set em off all at the same time. You won’t have one living thing in your house after that!”
There are so many pest control ‘hot tips’ that spread like gospel and while some are harmless others can be dangerous for the person applying the mix or others who live in or around the area of treatment. Recipes abound on the intranet and fancy looking web sites lend credence to an already willing recipient. Old time brews handed down over the years are also a powerful lure but thankfully many of the mixtures used back then aren’t available now for the inexperienced to use.
Even the advice that involves today’s chemicals can be unnerving to the professional as they hear stories of how the modern products are used. (or misused) The power of todays insecticides aren’t any less than those of yesteryear but just because they are less toxic to non target species and their application is more specific shouldn’t be an excuse to liberally throw them around or stray from the label and then tout your new found toxic technique as the next ‘Pulitzer Prize Winning’ pest control method.
While I’m all for a quick tip to make some money in the market it’s rare that I’ll ever follow up on one. I guess when it’s time to pull the trigger and place my order the common sense or cautious side of me comes out and I begin to question. “Is this real? What if my barber is wrong? I don’t want to loose my money.” While I would hope the same cautious side might rear it’s watchful head when it comes to pest control I just don’t think people have the same concern for an activity that could be at its worst, more costly.