When we last saw our hero, Innocent Consumer, he was in the process of confronting a man who had swindled him, neglected his horse, Lemon, and denied all allegations of inappropriate behavior. Let’s see how that conversation progressed:
Innocent Consumer approached his poor Lemon, peeled Deceptive’s tape off her mouth, and reiterated his request for a refund through clenched teeth.
“Deceptive, I paid you a fee for your services because you promised a certain result: a healthy horse. Not only did you fail to achieve this result, but you actively lied about the cause of the problem!”
“That’s a rather harsh way of putting it, Consumer. Besides, I’m not a cancer specialist.”
“You know the difference between cancer and allergies, though! And if you claim that’s not the case, you’re not a proper veterinarian at all! Nothing but a fraud!”
“I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll call up another vet, Reasonable. He’s more adept at cancer treatment than I am. Why don’t you take Lemon to him for a diagnosis and we’ll see what he says.”
“And if it IS cancer, you’ll be paying for the treatments, right, Deceptive?”
“Well, we’ll see…”
Sighing, Consumer slowly led his stumbling horse down the lane, up the hill, and around the bend, where they arrived at Reasonable’s practice. After a full morning’s examination of Lemon’s condition, Reasonable told Consumer, “I’m still not sure what the problem is. In order to figure out his real condition, we’ll have to operate. Operating could lead to two different conclusions: either we open him up and find a bad case of worms or we find an advanced case of cancer. The cost for treatment will vary based on the outcome, but the initial operation is about half of what you paid Deceptive for his misdiagnosis.”
“All right, Reasonable. If Deceptive will refund his fee or pay your fee for me, we’ll go ahead with the operation.”
So Consumer trudged back around the bend, down the hill, and up the lane and knocked on Deceptive’s door yet again. A young stable boy answered.
“I’d like to speak with your boss, please.”
“Mr. Deceptive isn’t here, sir. He’s gone on vacation and won’t be back for a week.”
Slightly stunned, Consumer nodded silently and turned to go back down the road. As he shuffled on, a strange, wry grin spread across his face. His eyes began to glow with a crazed gleam. He passed a goat tethered by the side of the road and suddenly shouted, “This isn’t over, Deceptive! You can’t get rid of me that easily. I’ll be BACK!!” Muttering to himself, Innocent Consumer continued on his way. The goat, unfazed, blinked after him.
* * *