Shayne on You: Don't do business with family

Dear Maggie,

My brother sells used cars, and when I went looking for a new-to-me vehicle, his feelings were very hurt, because I was looking elsewhere, not at the dealership where he works.

My reasons were not personal. I just had a preference for a different make than the ones sold where he works.

Anyway, he was so put out about it, that I figured I might as well keep peace in a family, and went and looked, and finally bought a car from his dealership. And he was happy, and I thought I was too.

But Iím not. The carís had one problem after another, and itís been back there five times in as many months for various repairs. My brother seems to think that as long as the repairs are done, I shouldnít complain. He doesnít seem to understand the inconvenience to me to have to keep going back there, spending time waiting, making and keeping appointments, and phone calls and so on. And now, when yet one more thing goes wrong, he seems angry with me. He acts as if Iím being too demanding, as if Iím putting him in a bad light by making the dealership live up to its end of the bargain, no matter how many visits it takes. He accused me of expecting special treatment because heís my brother.

I didnít even want this car. And now all I want is for it to run the way it should. What should I do?

Driven to Madness

Dear Driven,

We have to do what feels best to us. When we put aside what feels best to us in order to make someone else happy, it pretty much always fails. We canít make anyone else happy. Itís our job to do what makes US happy, and then we are in the best possible place to give to others. You just canít buck your own current, and expect it to work out. And when others say, ďIíd be happy if YOU would only do X,Ē we need to remember that itís never true. Theyíre not happy because of them, it has nothing to do with us. So thatís first. Never make yourself unhappy to make someone else happy, because then youíll both end up unhappy, which is what has happened here.

And another less spiritually deep but equally accurate rule is this: never do business with family.

Now that weíve got that straight, you need to put the car on the market immediately. Have them fix whatís wrong, and then sell it before anything else goes bad, and then go out and buy the car you wanted to begin with.

Tell your brother when he asks why (and he will,) ďLook, you werenít happy when I wasnít going to buy the car from you, so I did, and youíre still not happy. Itís apparent to me that nothing I do really has anything to do with your happiness. Thatís your job. My job, right now, is to correct the mistake I made in thinking otherwise, and to go get the car I want so that I can be happy.Ē

Good luck!


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