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Georgina,
I wish to congratulate you on penning a most stunningly wonderful editorial [Victims of Our Own Stupidity? Dec. 2001, pg. 4], which I felt handily expresses an honest and very realistic observational sense of candor. Your brave thoughts on this social topic strikes a solid, resonating chord deep within my own noggin, for I’ve observed and spent a lifetime suffering under those so-called bad "Good Choices" made by the collective consumers-at-large.

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I’ve also spent much of that lifetime gleefully razzing others of those well-intentioned good-turned-bad choices.

More and more, we’ve become a nation (world) that’s unable or unwilling to critically examine things and situations. Rather, folks are more comfortable with allowing others to decide for us — even if those bestowed with the act of making choices on our behalf couch their true self-centered interests in filters and shields of deception. The real danger lies in the fact that, even though we perhaps know that the game is rigged and that we’re being exploited, we now don’t care.

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In 1982 from their "Freedom of Choice" album, Devo performed a mocking tune that served well as a social critique viewing lens. The public says they desire and want choices, but their behavior speaks volumes otherwise. In reality, they want freedom from choice — to instead shift that role of blind providence into the hands of a few and hope that these decision makers will act positively toward their best interests. Naturally, we few cynics know better, and believe otherwise.

To look at this in another fashion, without people who have the instinct to critically think about things and to ask the necessary probing questions, we’d never have had a "Mad Magazine," "National Lampoon" … or a "Sneed Hearn" for that matter.

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When the days come and our television sets begin to watch us and America doesn’t give a hoot, that’s the time I toss my TV out the window and begin to plan my escape from the Planet of the Clocks.

Regards,
Sneed Hearn, collision repair tech
Arnell Paint and Body
HARBOR, IND.

Georgina,
Hi! My name is Tony Bairos, and I’m a member of the California Autobody Association. I’m the vice president of the Santa Clara Chapter. … I just finished your article in the current BodyShop Business on our stupidity. Yes, yes, yes. It’s about time we start telling it like it really is instead of how we wished it would be. Thank you.

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Tony Bairos, owner
Dan & Tony’s Uptown Paint @ Body
SANTA CRUZ CALIF.

Georgina,
You could not have been more on target with your December editorial. The first paragraph really tells it like it is. The entire editorial was near perfect. My guess is that stupid shop owners will go along with Progressive’s Concierge program. Not only is the problem that most are hard up for work and will, in fact, do anything, including prostitute themselves to get it, but there just isn’t a cooperative effort by shop owners to stand tough for what this industry needs. Everyone just keeps bending over and stabbing themselves and other shops in the back. It’s time to follow our President’s lead and strong character. Count me out of the con deal. I don’t negotiate with terrorists.

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Keep up the great editorials,
Shop owner, name withheld
MUNDELEIN, ILL.

Dear Georgina,
I thought your article on "Victims of Our Own Stupidity" was great. It made me stop and realize that YES, there really are people out there who do stuff like this. It’s hard to believe that we’ve let society grow into something so unbelievable, something that you could only imagine would happen on television. It’s like consumers have grown into robots and are out of control. So, to answer your question of will consumers go along with Progressive’s Concierge Program? YES, I believe consumers will — only because of how lazy society is becoming.

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I’d also like to say that we’re a [DRP] shop for seven different insurance companies, and one of them happens to be Progressive. This letter isn’t a slam toward Progressive; it’s slam toward the consumer. Progressive is a great insurance company. Whenever we need extra time, they are right there to give it to us, along with the check.

Thank you for your time,
Kelly Davis, shop administrative assistant
Benedict Corporation
NORWICH, N.Y.

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