Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blessings of Paying Tithing

My PocketPC cell phone was getting long in the tooth, but Sprint didn't have a compelling enough upgrade for me to replace it so I've been living with my adorable little brick despite ridicule from my coworkers. That came to an end when it suddenly completely died. Rather than pay the $50 deductible to get it repaired I decided to go ahead and upgrade so off to the Sprint store I went. The sales lady took it back to the service center to see if they could repair it and I went to look at the latest smart phones.

I picked out the latest version of my PDA phone and got the sales lady busy completing the upgrade. But when she went to activate the phone it wouldn't work so she went back to the service center to get help. She came back with a smile and told me that since they couldn't repair my phone and they don't have replacements for it, they were going to upgrade me to the latest phone for free. Whoopee! Saved me $250.

When I told my dad about it he said that normally he would attribute it to the blessings of paying tithing, but in my case he guessed that wasn't it. Haha.

In logic that is what is known as confirmation bias. You notice the things that confirm your beliefs and ignore or downplay those that don't.

For example, when growing up we would never travel on Sunday while on vacation so we could keep the Sabbath holy. So, if the car broke down on Saturday or Monday we could count our blessings that if we'd been driving on Sunday we'd have been stranded, but since it was a Monday the shop was opened and we could get it fixed right away.

It always struck me as silly. When good things happen you are blessed. When bad things happen you are being tried or punished depending on how devout you'd recently been.

Of course, in the case of my phone it was the result of paying $7 a month for 3 years for the protection plan. A fair bit better deal than paying 10% of my gross during that time.


erlybird said...

Another great post, Bull.

I will be posting something quite similar about other superstitious practices (and isn't it funny how how father and others would not consider the "blessing of paying tithing" a superstition?) like crossing one's fingers.

The boys and I were driving home the other day, hoping to find the the new Wii had been dropped by the UPS guy at our doorstep. I said, "Cross you fingers, guys!" My oldest scolded me and said, "Dad, that is just a superstition." I smiled. I love that kid.

After I conceded his point I took it one step further. I told them both to open their windows and stick their hand out and wave it all around. They did so. I told them by way of explanation that it was more likely that by waving their hands around outside just then that they had inadvertently caused a tropical storm to rise up in the Caribbean a few days hence (the butterfly effect) than it was that crossing one finger over another would affect whether a certain parcel had been delivered two hours prior to crossing them.

GuateMom said...

Oh yes, good old mormon dad logic. I am actually shocked he said that to you. That is like admitting he is wrong (sort of). He always says things like that to me and I always counter, well I know a lot of people that don't pay tithing that get blessed and a lot of people that do pay tithing that don't. He always stutters and says, well yes I guess that is true too.

William Lockwood said...

This is kind of stupid but the protection plan isn't any better a deal than if you had just kept the money in your pocket. $7 x 12months x 3years is $252, plus you have to rely on the company's ability to feel sympathy with you. Good luck there, in general.

I'd bet the plan is designed so that the company, on average, makes money from it. Otherwise, why would they offer it?
Certainly not to make their customers happy. This is Sprint we're talking about.

Bull said...

So it sounds like I won on a $500+ phone! Of course, you're right. Protection plans wouldn't be around if the company didn't on average come out ahead.