ARE WE BUYING A PIG IN A POKE? In this atmosphere of people on all sides believing anything and everything, I stopped to think about this old phrase of how buying a pig in a poke is dangerous and so is taking fake news as the literal truth. Someone has to be sitting in a chair in front of a computer laughing themselves silly at the unprecedented ability of convincing people to buy pigs in pokes every hour of the day. We are beginning to look close to stupid for not checking facts and passing the “poke” around like loose change. I found the origin of this old phrase and its meaning and then I would like to share a few thoughts with you. Here is the article with the link to check it out:
An offer or deal that is foolishly accepted without being examined first.
‘Don’t buy a pig in a poke’ might seem odd and archaic language. It’s true that the phrase is very old, but actually it can be taken quite literally and remains good advice.
The advice being given is ‘don’t buy a pig until you have seen it’. This is enshrined in British commercial law as ‘caveat emptor’ – Latin for ‘let the buyer beware’. This remains the guiding principle of commerce in many countries and, in essence, supports the view that if you buy something you take responsibility to make sure it is what you intended to buy.
A poke is a sack or bag. It has a French origin as ‘poque’ and, like several other French words, its diminutive is formed by adding ‘ette’ or ‘et’ – hence ‘pocket’ began life with the meaning ‘small bag’. Poke is still in use in several English-speaking countries, notably Scotland and the USA, and describes just the sort of bag that would be useful for carrying a piglet to market.
A pig that’s in a poke might turn out to be no pig at all. If a merchant tried to cheat by substituting a lower value animal, the trick could be uncovered by letting the cat out of the bag. Many other European languages have a version of this phrase – most of them translating into English as a warning not to ‘buy a cat in a bag’. The advice has stood the test of time and people have been repeating it in one form or the other for getting on for five hundred years, maybe longer.
Fraser’s Magazine, 1858, reprinted a piece from Richard Hill’s (or Hilles’) Common-place Book, 1530, which gave this advice to market traders:
“When ye proffer the pigge open the poke.”
I thought it would be a good idea to add an excerpt from an article for tips for not being lied to or deceived. I would add if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. No one is all good or all bad and a representation of either is usually false. We are human with strengths and weaknesses and if we open the Poke and take the time to look at the pig, we can make an intelligent choice in life. Keep this in mind on all observations and think with the mind instead of the heart filled with emotions.
Here are four tips for keeping from being lied to and to catch it when it happens.
Tip 1: Learn who tends to lie, and understand their motivation.
Deceptive people tend to be what are called high self-monitors. They keep their emotions in check while they read others well, having a natural ability to view the world from another person’s vantage point.
Researchers who study deception have found furthermore that extroverts lie more than introverts and that those with power tend to be more comfortable lying. Also, we feel more comfortable lying to people we find deceptive themselves–so it pays to be honest and known for your integrity. People feel less guilty lying to someone they see as a wrong-doer.
The lies we tell tend to fall into two categories: offensive lies and defensive ones. The former would include lying to get something not otherwise easily available (for instance, bribing someone to cinch a deal), or lying to create a positive impression (overstating your involvement in a charity or boosting sales projections in a sales meeting when the whole team is watching). Defensive lying would include telling an untruth to avoid punishment or embarrassment or to protect someone else–which is one of the most common motives for deception, especially among women.
Tip 2: Know the basic verbal and nonverbal clues, and use them as red flags to ask questions.
Classic verbal clues include:
–An unrelaxed avoidance of contractions, for emphasis: “I did not” rather than “I didn’t.”
–Excessive specificity: “I did not steal that $200″ rather than “I’ve never stolen a dime in my life.”
–A retreat to distancing language: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
–Repeating a question in full to buy time to formulate a response: “What time did I lock the safe and leave the office on Monday night? Let me think …”
–The compounding of the repeat-the-question-in-full dodge with the follow-up-with-a-qualifying-statement ruse: “What time did I lock the safe and leave the office on Monday night? Let me think. As far as I can recall … to the best of my knowledge … as far as I know …” The Watergate hearings marked the apotheosis–or nadir–of the overuse of qualifying statements.
Nonverbal clues follow classic patterns, too:
–Liars often freeze their upper bodies.
–They rub or touch their eyes.
–They curl their feet inward, or point them toward the nearest exit.
–They fiddle with objects on a desk, or place objects on the desk, like purses or briefcases, forming barriers.
–They make excessive eye contact in fealty to the myth that truth-tellers always look you in the eye.
–They express post-interview relief with a sigh, a false smile or a pronounced change in posture when they think the tough questioning is over.
Tip 3: Watch out for contempt–and flee from it–when choosing business partners or team members.
Contempt is the ultimate red flag. The corner of a lip will pull in and up on one side of the face; on the same side a nostril may contract in a dismissive sneer. Contempt is the only asymmetrical facial expression, so it’s easy to spot once you’re aware of its signs. One researcher has successfully tracked it in couples as a predictor of divorce. When someone is angry at you, you’ve still got traction with them, but when they display contempt, you’ve been dismissed. It’s a poisonous emotion, especially when paired with deception. Once someone shows it, it rarely goes away.
Tip 4: Don’t place team members under unrealistic stretched goal pressure.
Research suggests that employees and colleagues given “stretch” goal targets or put under extreme performance pressure can become paralyzed at the prospect of failure, and they are then most likely to lie about their work or fudge numbers to protect their jobs–especially if their compensation is pegged to unreachable stretched goals. They will often feel they have no choice but to dissemble so they can meet their numbers. Avoid that whole situation.
Pamela Meyer, the author of Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception, is an expert on deception detection and a certified fraud examiner, and she holds an M.B.A. from Harvard. She writes about deception in popular culture on her blog, Liespotting.com.
May we take the time, use our intelligence, stop buying into fake news, and by all means look for the truth and not the alternative interpretation. Now, for the surprise…..I am not talking about politics; I am referring to relationships. See how it pays to slow down and think before we go down paths people take us without us fully understanding what the purpose behind the motive. Have a great day!
Author’s Note: Even my latest fictional book, Tell Me Lies; Love Me Still, reflects the danger and hurt of lies and deceit. You can find it at:
Tell Me Lies; Love Me Still (Reflections of Love Book 2)
by Arline Miller
(C) Copyright 2012-2017 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced with links to original location for credit reference.