Monday, June 16, 2008


My sister (not the one that jumped off the Alps—a different one) frequently wears a pewter pin on her shirt that reads “As Is.”

I’ve always thought that it was very brave to just put herself out there with an invitation to be judged: “As Is”—take it or leave it. “As Is”—no returns. “As Is”—in whatever condition presently exists.

It’s almost as if she is running an ad for a used car on, and she wants to be up front about the condition of the merchandise: I come with flaws; but if the flaws don’t bother you, it’s a bargain.

If you were to purchase a similar pewter pin and describe yourself like a used car, what would your pin say?

  • Clean and Reliable?
  • High Mileage?
  • Looks and Runs Great?
  • Classic Muscle?
  • Nice Inside and Out?
  • Perfectly Maintained and Always Garaged?
  • Fully Loaded?
  • All Parts Original?
  • Mint Condition?
  • Needs TLC?
  • Neutered and Declawed? (oops . . . wandered into the “Pets” ads)

My pewter pin would probably read: “Engine Stalls Frequently,” or “Needs Extensive Body Work,” or maybe “Muffler and Filters Badly Need Replacing.”

Then again, I’d save myself a lot of anguish if I just borrowed “As Is” from my sister. This simple four-letter description has two advantages over my much-longer suggestions: First, the responsibility falls on the buyer to take it or leave it—to figure out the flaws themselves and decide whether the good outweighs the bad. Second, the pewter pin wouldn’t have 30 letters, weigh 25 pounds, and rip a hole in my shirt.

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