In the used equipment business, one of the most challenging problems is getting accurate and reliable descriptions of machines being considered for purchase. They are often located thousands of miles away, making inspections by company personnel costly and time consuming. So, it is tempting to have someone near the machine, whom you think you know to be reliable, make the inspection.
However it has been disappointing to have learned, over the decades in business, how few people, particularly those with a financial interest at stake, can be trusted to provide an honest, accurate machine description. And this includes many with long experience. This is very costly to the industry not only because people get swindled, but because it is very difficult for honest and competent business people to gain the trust they deserve, causing buyers to spend thousands of dollars on travel and inspections unnecessarily.
When you’re given information that turns out to be inaccurate, you can be sure of one of two things: the inspector was either incompetent or dishonest. It seems that dishonesty is more often the case, and the motivation is short-term profit, but it comes with a severe loss of credibility and long-term profit. The remedy is to be very sure of the people with whom you do business and not to do business with those whose standards don’t measure up.
That dishonesty and/or incompetence characterize too many business dealings is sad, but it is far, far worse that the same shortcomings characterize the behavior some of our highest government officials. It is far worse because such failings not only cost taxpayers billions of dollars, but also often lead to the unnecessary death and injury of many thousands of innocent people, and this can be confirmed with just a little knowledge of the world’s history. In addition, when our highest authorities are dishonest or incompetent, they set extremely poor standards that filter down through all businesses and all our people, including our young children. As it certainly should, this kind of decay of ethics destroys confidence in government and makes it very difficult for it to carry out even the good things which government can and must accomplish.
To improve upon this deplorable situation, we need to better inform ourselves and insist upon the highest standards in our elected officials. Effective democracy, good government, and a decent way of life depend upon it.
At Beck Equipment, we do our best to insist on high standards of honesty and openness. We encourage our customers to talk directly with our mechanics who have repaired machines they are interested in and to have anyone they wish inspect them. We believe in the value of good used machines, but they have to be good. Our job is to be sure that the machines are good and to prove it to our customers. This is why most of our equipment can be bought with a money back warranty. We also sell on a rental purchase basis so the customer can be sure before buying.
To encourage people to insist on ethical behavior, we often advertise by combining our ads with some history and suggestions regarding government activity. I wish all businesses would take up this method of advertising with their principles. When we disagree, we should talk about it openly because that helps democracies determine the best course of action. I served in the Navy Sea Bees in Vietnam during 1967 and ’68 and when I later learned about our government’s lack of information about Vietnam and disregard for honesty about that war, I’d had enough of paying taxes to support unethical government. Maybe if government had insisted upon an honest, open dialogue before the Vietnam War, a great many of the 58,000 Americans who died there would now be here to talk with us.
Roger A. Beck, President
Beck Equipment, Inc.