The other day I got caught out by a shyster, there is no other word to describe this fellow. He called me via a friend who told me to expect a call; this guy has a business proposition but would not explain it on the phone to me. Fine, as a small business owner I am forced to take most calls though I usually refuse to take a withheld number, if you are not honest enough to send your number for me to Google, and I will, I am not interested. I send mine to you, always.
Now anyone who has read any of my legal books will know of the two despicable scams I constantly highlight. The first is the "oom en boetie" (older man and his son) scam. They come to you and have a wonderfully weird story which is always a borderline pyramid scheme. And now they need access to whoever they think you may know and no they don't have money, you are the fool who will make them rich at your own cost. The second one is the above, but now they (or sometimes just one fellow) are Christians of note. They would piously pray before the meeting and afterwards. Look you in the eye and do you from behind at the first opportunity. I have seen so many through the years that I advise all clients to walk away before they even open their mouths. Don't come to me with the Bible under your arm, hear my words, our Lord is not to be mocked.
I have in general no problem with religious people. I am, as is said in more than 22 books and articles, a believer myself. And I do judge. If someone says he is Christian, then it is an extremely simple test, taken from the Bible, to see if his life style reflects that statement. It is the old fruit tree story, where you expect an apple tree to have apples. If not, it is a damn queer tree and things like living in sin, driving above the speed limit, abusing your wife and kids and not paying taxes all shows to me you are not what you professed to be. Note that judging does not mean condemning. There is a big difference between the two; I never condemn anyone. That is God's prerogative but I do take note and so should you. Not everyone who calls on God is known to God, remember that in life. We want to see deeds.
As a professional man I have knowledge which very few others have, in my field, almost none because it is way off and particularly specialised. People pay for that knowledge and people pay for my time which is about all I can sell to feed my family. It is how my business and many other professionals work. You ask for help, and if I can help you, I do so for a price we agreed on. There is no difference in that between myself and a practising attorney or a medical doctor or an accountant. Legally it is the same as buying bread at Shoprite, there are no stories and explanations at the till, you got the bread, you pay X amount which increases every week or month. You, the shopper carry the risk. Big business does not take risk. It is that simple.
Unlike 99% of the other professional men above, I give back to the community by publishing legal books which anyone can read and understand and sometimes find interesting too. You would know l always say law is not rocket science and it is boring for sane people too. But it is needed, without the law, even if neutral; there would be chaos and uncertainty. Hence my books will show you how to draft a straightforward last & will and testament. Or what to do when the banksters come after you for failing to pay your debts and how you can get your own back. Note I also say live inside your means and pay your debts. But you know how life is, you lose your job and as a white man, well, you have very little chance of being gainfully employed again. I would never advise any serving member of the SAPS for instance to leave his monthly pay check. It is madness to even consider leaving a "protected" job. Somehow the few who asked me did not like that advice either. They have dreams of big money and good luck, most will soon find out the private sector is a place where they will be eaten alive by the long haired liberals. It is very tough, much harder than a monthly pay check job.
Every time someone reads my books, and it is read or downloaded more than twelve thousand times a month, I have helped someone. I know because some of them are grateful enough to send me a quick email to tell me that. Even my cookbooks have saved lives. Many old timers, who have lost their wives to God, told me they now eat decently cooked food again. Such things make the few critics who think the books are not worth downloading because it is free and somehow I am a lesser author because it is not on paper, slink away in my mind. I don't even read such reviews but glance at them and reject them for what they are. The fact is, I try to help and many of my clients are poor people who can never afford to pay. So we help where we can. I will not fail such a test from God one day when judged. Sure I will fail others, no doubt.
But don't abuse a professional man without reason. There are certain unwritten rules. Firstly, never, unless you are really pretty and female, ask me a legal advice whilst I am on a break from work at a braai or a party. I may be tempted to give you the wrong advice. Of course, seriously, I won't do such things but I have considered it at times. You are abusing my good nature.
Then never waste my time by lying to me, I will find you out and ban you from my life and tell everyone I know about you. What does lying mean? Not always telling the whole truth and it comes in various forms. This fellow asked me to attend a "meeting" on his behalf to see what he is about and perhaps we can take it further afterwards. Fine, usually I would not do that but he came via a friend so I went. He had his timing wrong which was the first sign; the meeting started at 19h30 and not 19h00 as told. So I wasted 30 minutes waiting. And then it started, yes my dear readers, an AMWAY meeting. OMG I cannot tell you what went through my head. It was the fifth month to the day and hour on which my wife and soul died and I wanted to be alone. Spend some time in prayer, listen to our songs and see our pictures and remember her.
Instead I sat listening to a product I most certainly do not believe in. Yes some may make money from it; obviously, but most wont. Most are there because they are desperate or greedy and you can feel it. Such people almost never succeed in selling because it is not what they do. Good salesmen are born and a species on their own and never come over as "desperate." And besides, that is not my business model. You need help, we agree a price, and I help you. I do not sell AMWAY products and I do not lend my name to it. Needless to say I refused flatly to speak to him again and am seriously considering sending a bill of cost for my wasted time but then, he does not have the money to pay it so I will rather laugh it off. Lesson learned, again.
The third and best way to anger a professional man is to decide not to listen to his advice. My mom is like that, bless her soul, when she or any of her many friends have a legal problem she asks me first since I am right there in the same house. And then calls my brother who is a top class attorney himself just to make sure and probably my nephew who is a good advocate to check on both of us. If you do not wish to accept my advice which is designed to cost you the least possible money and aggravation for a problem you yourself most probably caused, then please, go to another. I don't have time for this. Either you trust me or you go to someone you trust for I cannot work with you anymore. Otherwise I will start thinking of an aggravation fee which will cost you dearly. Do not abuse a professional man, we are able to take revenge.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a practicing commercial law attorney for eight years. He also wrote several books on business, law, counter terrorism and security issues. He is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.