I realize today’s blog title seems remarkably dry for my usual fare, but as I continue, the gyrations of my thought pattern should become apparent.

When contracting with the Government, there is a very specific proposal process laid out both be regulations and within the request for proposal itself.  One of the components which is typically required is a section called “Past Performance”.  This section is used, not only for the contractor to show that they have experience in the area for which they are proposing, but may also include responses from the contractor’s customers which are sent directly to the customer.  In this way, the customer strives to obtain assurance that the contractor has done this particular kind of work before, and that in doing so, has satisfied his customers.  The customer response is designed to rate the contractor anywhere from excellent to poor. 

I think that as consumers, it would behoove us, at least for large purchases like cars, homes and the like, to have a similar process or at least some kind of checklist to ensure that we get what we pay for.  I’m sure there are guides, or pieces of guides in various places which are designed to help consumers protect themselves, but I think it would be especially helpful to put a plain English, complete version somewhere where it would be easily and readily accessed at the time that a major purchase is considered.  Granted, some people would still go blindly along hoping that their best interests will be honored, but at least the tools would be there for the rest of us to adequately protect ourselves, and to know what our rights are from the outset. 

Just as I’ve learned how to get the best value for my money with consumer goods, I need, also, to learn how to get the best value for my money when signing a contract for something on a larger scale.  I am looking for something along the lines of kicking the tires, taking it for a test drive, getting direct feedback from satisfied and unsatisfied customers.  I would rather do my due diligence at the offset than run afoul and be forced to make yet another attorney wealthy at both mine and another person or firm’s expense.  I truly believe that this would be in everyone’s best interest as both sides would know that a fair agreement has been reached and that expectations are clear and can easily be met.

Thus, I am gathering together those pieces and may yet put something together that is more than simply the tired old quote, “let the buyer beware”. 

And on a happier note, we had the most amazing, yet simple Thanksgiving ever!  The food tasted better, our tried and true recipes came out better, and we were relaxed and happy.  I will credit, at least, in part, all of the gratitude, acceptance and forgiveness I’ve learned to practice.  Things may not always be as I think they should, but loving and accepting those around me makes everything feel better anyway. 

So, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned this year, and the friends I have made and the accomplishments I’ve realized.  I am grateful for another month in which to accomplish and love and forgive and appreciate before 2011 ends and we enter another year and new beginnings.

Love and light