In Latin, the term is "cum hoc ergo propter hoc," or, "with this, therefore, because of this." Basically, a false argument or logical fallacy attempting to state that with, let's say, approval from a supervisor, therefore, because of that approval, a decision may be finalized. The technique is used to exhaust and confuse the opponent. It gives the opponent false hope that ultimately leads to the opponent's temporary pacification. And by "opponent" I mean that person the argument is being used against. That person, poor soul, may not even know they're being opposed because of the style of argument being used. Nevertheless, it's still an argument. And ultimately, still the run-around.
It's hard to know what to do when faced with someone giving you the run-around. You may want to say, "Look, just tell me what's going on here," but that's a question you already have the answer to. If you're getting the run-around, you're not likely to get any satisfaction out of the situation--whatever it may be.
You have few choices in such a situation, but they are still yours to make:
The first, and most obvious, is not to give up. Don't let the run-around run you into a tizzy. Keep your cool. You'll outlast the roadblock. Because at some point, the person giving you the run-around will run out of excuses. And yes, in the meantime, you may want to pull out your hair...or theirs. You may want to shout out, "Will you just cut it out! I'm not stupid!!!" But you can't. Because for whatever reason, the miserable sod making your life difficult has more than likely been asked to do so by a superior. Today, SOP for any business is to push everything to its limit and see what happens. People often become frustrated in the interim, giving up. That's the best result the run-around can produce for the person deliverying it. Because then, there can be no blame.
The other choice is to confront it head-on. Let the person giving you the run-around know you're savvy to their ploy...because that's what the run-around really is, a ploy. This can quickly diffuse the situation, or, it can turn sour...fast. The person issuing the run-around may become defensive, or threatened. Instead of owning up to what's going on, the individual balks, hard. And if you're being given the run-around by a man and you yourself are a woman, you may not want to take the direct approach; inevitably, you'll get the defensive stance. But a man calling out another man has a shot at the, "Yeah, you're right. Let me see what I can do to fix this," response.
Sorry, ladies--but facts are facts. We give birth to men and that forever puts us in the unenviable position of being fucked. Male egos often need the artificial reassurance that their greatness has no end, and what has no end cannot have a beginning. Yet every penis first forms within a womb. That not only implies a beginning, but a female superior. So yes, it means that women are more likely to get the run-around from men, and when that happens, it's almost always going to be an uphill battle. Almost.
There is one other possibility when dealing with the run-around: Go above their heads. What that does is let the superior giving the direction to your runner know that you know...and then, the jig is really up: "Oh, that warranty we said had run out? Yes, here we go...you do have three more months." My personal favorite is the flat, insincere and unsympathetic, "We apologize for the confusion; it will never happen again."
The run-around is a game about financial responsibility and legal liability. Unless you're Oprah, JK Rowling, Donald Trump, or, the Queen of England, you're bound to continue getting the run-around for most of your life by people and businesses with more money than you.There's no clearer sign of the separation between economic classes then the prevalent use of legislative run-arounds...things like the ADA come to mind.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a farce. If you're a business, you don't have to accomodate anyone if it isn't economically feasible. So if you're in a wheelchair or have impaired mobility, you pretty much depend on the kindness of others to say, go to the bathroom, or even enter a building at all. Without accessibility buttons, those in a wheelchair don't have the proper center of gravity to pull open a door. Even if they could, how are they supposed to open that door, and, wheel themselves through it at the same time? Cum hoc ergo propter hoc--with the ADA and therefore because of the ADA, all disabled people are protected. Uh-huh. And if you believe that, I have this snake oil I can sell you...real cheap.
I've been getting the run-around for three weeks. And it's not fun. Hopefully, the people doing it read my blog and will now cut the crap...one of my mother's favorite expressions. She has a littany of cliches in her arsenal. When I'm feeling particularly frustrated, they tend to come out. And I'm glad of it; always nice to be reminded of one's humanity...one's beginning. The implied end is scary, certainly, but no less of a relief in the scheme of things. Things like the run-around.
The bottomline is that the run-around isn't just a frustrating pro-forma corporate game, it's insulting. It says, "We can do this to you because you're too stupid to recognize it." Even if you're not.
April didn't just bring showers...it's a veritable storm. My wish for you, given the inclement weather, is that, like Louisa May Alcott, you have learned to sail your ship so do not fear the stormy weeks ahead.
I have. But it's not fear of the storm or my sailing skills that darkly broods amongst my weary worry lines--it's the ship itself. One can only do so much--my ship's not a water-tight yacht. Thanks to a myriad of unfortunate circumstances that had me hypothesizing about my soul's connection to Jesus, all I could afford when the flood arrived was a lousy, leaky raft. I'm still affloat, but barely. Opportunity reaches up from the waves, and when I bend over to pull it in, I take on more water!
The solution would be to get rid of the raft somehow; grow fins and a tail and jump into the sea itself. Or, I could wait out the storm. All beginnings have an end and all endings start with a sunrise. Life's conundrum is never ending. And neither is the implied humiliation. If only I could meet Professor Johnson on equal footing in the classroom--go back to 1996. Make him eat his bullying words by having him choke on a few choice ones of my own. Today, I could spank a Brit with my wit. Yestertday, I was still learning what that meant. Tomorrow, I hope not to care anymore.
Does apathy bring you closer to death? I hope so. The apathetic are a curse on humanity.