“It’s worthless! It’s worthless!” says the buyer,
but when he goes on his way, he boasts.
There is gold, and an abundance of rubies,
but words of knowledge are like a precious jewel.
As you know, if you’ve read many of these posts, I’m a fan of The Office. And if you’re a fan, it won’t take you long to think about this episode either. There is an episode where Andy is selling his XTerra and Dwight starts haggling with him. He takes a look at the SUV and starts telling Andy just how worthless it is. Eventually Dwight ends up buying it from Andy at a reduced price.
For the rest of the episode, we see Dwight washing the SUV and then listing it for sale at a higher price than Andy was selling it for. As you can imagine, this makes Andy a little upset. So, the usual Andy/Dwight drama ensues.
Dwight was successful at convincing the seller that his item was worthless and then boasted about the deal he got as he walked away. Notice that the Proverb doesn’t say this is bad, it’s just an observation. Whether it’s right or not, I don’t know. However, do you really want to be known as that guy? Do you really want to be known as the guy who talks you down until you don’t get a good deal, only to turn it around and make a profit. Like a house flipper who’s looking for every little flaw they can deduct money for?
However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be shrewd. In fact, I think we are supposed to be shrewd. We are supposed to be good dealers. It’s a good idea to haggle and barter. We don’t have to go so far as to insult people, but it’s good to get a good deal.