White Coat Syndrome

From: C M

Find me an “Expert”

Picture this. A street-wise and savvy businesswoman, during her lunch-break, goes to her favourite department store to buy some more of that blusher “Raspberry Redneck” by LongPong De Paris, because, well…it suits her and she’s had a few favourable comments in the office by one of the MD’s not to mention the doorman and janitor! So, with purse in hand and a confident, purposeful stride, she glides up to the LongPong counter and asks for “Your biggest bottle of Raspberry Redneck please”. An icy glare is handed over instead of the expected bottle. She has just encountered….white coat syndrome!

This particular version of white coat syndrome is in the guise of the cosmetic ‘specialist’. The reason why she is a specialist is unknown to the general public, but we all ‘know’ that she must be a specialist because….she has the white coat! After all, you don’t get to wear one of those unless you know everything about all of those sparkly beauty products do you? “Has Madame tried our newest product….Rouge De Apple Tarts?”. She can tell from the wide-eyed expression of submissive resignation, that she can continue. “Women with your skin type (read: blotchy, office-worker skin that has spent one weekend too many at Bondi or skin that’s the total opposite of mine!) shouldn’t wear Raspberry Redneck. It doesn’t suit you” Silence ensues while the 2 litre bottle of Rouge De Apple Tarts is held 2cm from your nose and jiggled in front of you.

It’s one of those turning points in life. Indignation, irritation is mixed with concern and worry. “Whose that skinny witch to tell me…..” gives way to “Oh no….maybe no-one in the office REALLY liked it…..I must have been looking like a clown…”. You start thinking about an excuse to pass on the office party next Xmas, plan to ask for a relocation of your desk to a corner of the office where the lighting is dull and no-one tends to venture. Maybe you should ring up Telstra and become ex-directory so no-one will ever call you again. “Oh…Ok…can I try some please?” you ask feebly. She smiles knowingly and with a little reassuring nod, lets you know that’s she’s the expert and you should listen and never buy without her advice. Three minutes later you have the bottle in your posh bag and head back to the office, complete with a fresh makeover that she has just performed on you. Even though your skin feels oh so very tight and you can’t seem to move your lips, she IS the expert! You’ve been put in your place…how could you have been so silly to think that Raspberry Redneck was ever for you….? Mind you….you only have her word that Rouge De Apple Tarts suits you any better. You don’t hear the people sniggering as you walk past back to the office. A teenager shouts out “Hey mum, looks like Circque Du Soleil is back in town…can we go this time?!”

Men aren’t immune either. You’ll see them at the same counter, buying the wife’s favourite perfume for their anniversary (he had to be reminded no doubt!) and seeing the same lady in the same white coat will be told “Oh sir, no, no, NO! That is last years fragrance…..no woman would want to be having that as a gift. Our new range, Belle Y Button is the fresh fragrance that every woman desires, and will bring her new dizzy heights of delight!” Her eyes twinkle and her caked make-up just about allows her to produce a thin smile, before small cracks appear. She notices you staring and re-fixes her lips to a less threatening pose. Small pieces of ‘something’ flake from the corner of her mouth. It reminds you of a renovation job that you tackled last summer, bringing thoughts of builder’s goo, rendering solutions and quick fixes for cracked walls. “Sir” she snaps. You come to and somehow your wallet appears and she is lightening the load of your hard earned dollars and giving in return the new bottle of Belle Y Button. The bottle seems minute and you say there must be a mistake as you wanted a proper bottle not a sample. That thin smile appears again, with more cracking at the corners. You start to suggest builders Polyfilla as the way to go but she has already launched into counter measure arguments. “While Sir may not appreciate that its quality of product not the quantity that is LongPong’s trademark” (the wife’s never mentioned that!) “I can assssure you that it is only the very best of haute Paris couture….blah, blah, blah…” you start to walk away, bemused that you only have a $20 bill from $200…..and you start to think of ways of wrapping the gift in a bigger box….maybe a little builders goo in the bottom of the box might make it seem weightier…!?

Forums are great places, full of all types of people. Some have no experience others far more. Some are into reno’s, some into OTP. Other’s like wraps while most like burgers and fries! Some think of the equity market as the devil’s playground and would spit at the mention of it. While others swear by buying ANYTHING that doesn’t move, as long as it’s West of Dubbo and east of the Alice! “Nah, you can’t make money by buying anything in Sydney these days!” Oh really?! “Nope, Melbourne’s gonna have a crash like no other, and I’ll be waiting…I’ve saved up $5k for a deposit when prices are more realistic”. Can you hear a cuckoo also? “Buy old, buy new, don’t buy – wait to inherit”. etc etc.

I am not trying to be smart or cynical, just to make a point. Just because others wear white coats of experience, or white coats of greater knowledge, they will never, EVER be as knowledgeable about your life, situation and circumstance as YOU! You will always wear the most appropriate white coat for you. If that frightens or intimidates…that’s ok. It just means you have a way to go to grow, learn, experience and develop yourself in the area of investing. All that I can ever share is the little bit that I know and understand….I only can wear confidently my own white coat….I can’t wear it for you and neither can anyone else. Some people are looking for mentors. There’s nothing wrong with that, except it’s usually a plea for someone to wear a white coat for us and tell us what suits us best. Hey, you may look great wearing raspberry redneck….but you’ll never get me to wear it!

I always ask questions of others, find out how they have uncovered solutions, what ‘tricks’ and ‘tips’ they may have. If you are a beginner as I am, don’t be afraid that they cast a longer shadow than you do…..everyone casts a longer shadow at the end of the day than at the beginning…its juts the nature of living through the day. When you start off there is this need to have assurance, support…which is good. Abdicating responsibility or being afraid that we can’t handle responsibility is different though and the line is very thin between it.

I once had someone asked me how come I had achieved so much and what could they do in their situation? I told them honestly a few basic things but they wanted me to give ABC specifics. They wanted me to wear a white coat for them. Hmmm. I thought for a bit and replied “Keep your house tidy, fix the garden so it’s nice and finish all the little jobs around the house that need doing”. I thought she had quietly slipped into a coma as there was a blank ‘I am playing dead’ expression, which turned to irritation, as if I were holding something back. “But I want to know how to buy properties, villages or small countries that no-one has ever heard of….tell me your SECRET!!!”. My secret? I tidied up my house, fixed my garden and did the best with what I had. Step 1. Then after that came step 2 and 3. From where? Don’t know…they just came. Opportunity arrived, people helped, mentors mentored and I grew in knowledge and ability.

So white coats aren’t that important….it’s only if you believe that everyone BUT you is a specialist will you not rely on yourself. Our future is in OUR hands and all we have to do is start from small beginnings and learn to feel comfy wearing our own white coat. Don’t be discouraged that others have done more than you or have more than you….it’s irrelevant. Why be envious if someone has 50 properties and you don’t? If you want 50 properties, know why you do and if it’s a good enough why, then work on the how and you will get there.

Wear the white coat that fits you. Know where you are (that can be the hardest to admit) and continually assess where you want to go (this subtly changes over time). Keep asking questions in here, keep listening for sensible answers. Don’t be sold anything by someone else wearing a white coat….unless you have worked out for yourself if it’s right for you….at THIS point (may come in handy later).

Life’s biggest and best rule……..life shouldn’t be allowed to get too complex…it’s very unnecessary!!!
Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 1
From: Alan Hill

A well written little reminder for all of us C M........thank you.

Oh....with regards to the perfume at the cosmetic counter......personally I always find it 'safer' to have a hand written note from my wife that states something like......"Please provide xxxxxx to my husband.....do NOT let him leave with anything else!"

Hmmmmm.......I think this goes back many, many years to when I picked up a beautiful little fragrance that turned out to be 'After Shave'.......what can I say?.....I'm more comfortable in Hardwarehouse too!

Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 2
From: Michael G


What a brilliant little article!

Michael G

but in my opinion you should....
Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 2.1
From: Michele B

Clay, thanks for that! A rare treat. Alan, my favourite perfume actually IS a men's aftershave but white coats and reptilian smiles don't scare me any!
Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 3
From: Ross Sondergeld

Hi CM,

Subject: White Coat Syndrome

Brilliant post... I'll repeat that again... brilliant !!!

Well, I know want you mean. When i started in real estate I was extrememly
nervous talking to people about buying something for $300k. And hey... I'd
basically be "scared out of my pants"... if a $1 million plus buyer arrived.

But then your confidence grows... and you learn...

My advice to people is always the same. Start the journey... ask a millions
questions... read like crazy... and meet people.

The market is out there... and NEVER be afaid of the expert.

Gez... I've got bundles of academic qualifications... but even i'm a dill
with certain topics (i.e. shares)... therefore... never be afraid... plan
you attack... and run your own race.

If you run your own race... you'll never lose! Why? Because no one else is
starting... or finishing at the same time as you.

(# Enough said, I better get back to running around in my little circles.)

Ross Sondergeld ~ Buyer Agent

" Imagine buying real estate the easy way...
...with a Buyer Agent on your side!!! "

Buyerside Real Estate Mobile 0412 289 464
Office 9b, 34 Glenferrie Drive Office (07) 5562 1555
East Quay Corporate Park Fax (07) 5562 1248
Robina QLD 4226, Gold Coast Buyerside@hotmail.com

MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos:
Last edited by a moderator: