I was talking to a friend last night who shared the following story: my friend happens to own a 2004 BMW M3 Coupe. He owns his own business and because of this, he drives around on a regular basis. He was walking out of a store when the guy parked next to him turned and commented on the BMW’s paint job.
“Man, that thing’s scratched up,” the truck man said.
“Yeah, just a little.”
The truck man puffed up his chest and proudly stated, “I’ve had my truck for ten years, and there ain’t one scratch on this thing.” Then, in an attempt to be derogatorily tactful he continued, “You should get that thing fixed.”
My fiend turned to the man, his first thought being “Well, I think about it this way: I’ll take a brand new, paid-in-cash, scratched paint job BMW any day over an old, nasty 10 year old truck with a nice paint job.” Having read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, he decided to hold back on that. Instead, he said, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
He got in his car and as he pulled out, he made sure the guy noticed his new bumper sticker:
Tact is for people who aren’t smart enough to be witty, or witty enough to be sarcastic.