There is a term in the world of mysterious Fortean events to describe the sort of story that starts with “Apparently…” and is about some paranormal event witnessed by a “Friend of a Friend” hence they are called “foaftales”. It seems though that the foafs have moved beyond the esoteric and become experts on absolutely everything. Maybe it’s the internet’s illusion of knowledge – you can of course search and find many true answers on the net can’t you – but more often you encounter members of the public with no prior involvement in the industry they’re dealing with telling the person with many years of experience either what they know or how to do their job. As they say a little knowledge is a bad thing.
For example a customer who when told they need safety glass in a door replies angrily “it doesn’t need toughened, it’s only an internal timber door” or others who say “the double glazed units were obviously made wrong because they’re not supposed to break down (get condensation inside) at all, I know how they work” to the one who wanted a sealed unit straight away “I shouldn’t have to wait, I know how long they take to make” – really, would you like a job? I also encountered a customer with no prior experience of double-glazed glass units who insisted that I was measuring the thickness of the unit he’d brought in wrongly, as was an equally experienced colleague, and told me I needed to get a measuring caliper – I did and came up with the same measurement, surprisingly.
Part of this is someone who knows a little about a subject who wants to show off to their friend that they’re some kind of expert, other times it may be someone trying to promote themselves by appearing knowledgable. Sometimes the person may be trying to help but more often than not, they’re not.
So many people seem to have a father-in-law who’s “in the trade” and knows that what you’re saying is wrong – this is almost always just a feeble attempt to prove that they haven’t made a mistake. As for said expert often, who am I kidding, mostly, it turns out that they’ve either done a bit of DIY or they’re a joiner when the problem would be, for example, brickwork related, or worse still related to making the windows which is like a taxi driver saying that he’s an expert in assembling radios. I’m a glass cutter by profession, I know next to nothing about making Murano glass vases so I wouldn’t try to tell a glass blower how to suck eggs, if you see what I mean.
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