Coleman's Rules Simple rules of thumb which might help make life go more smoothly.

Vernon Coleman

1. When you find a product which works efficiently, effectively and economically the manufacturer will stop making it. So buy a few spares.

2. Expensive pieces of equipment invariably break down the day after the guarantee runs out. So give them a good work-out as the final day of the guarantee approaches.

3. You never really need a second helping of anything - especially pudding.

4. When you are invited to give a speech and the person inviting you assures you that you will only be expected to talk for half an hour remember that it will invariably take at least half a day to get there and at least half a day to get home. And you will take fifty times as long to research and write your speech as the speech will last. (So the average half hour speech will probably take up five days of your life.)

5. Stop eating the moment you think you might have had enough to eat and you won't ever get fat.

6. Electrical equipment is coming down in price so fast that the old stuff isn't worth having repaired professionally. Take a deep breath, chuck it away and buy something new.

7. If you are self-employed then twenty percent of the work you do will be responsible for eighty percent of the money you earn.

8. Never buy a piece of kitchen equipment or a tool that doesn't have the maker's name permanently engraved upon it. If the maker isn't proud enough to identify himself he probably doesn't expect the item to last long enough for you to be satisfied with it.

9. A caller who dials the wrong number will always ring again two minutes later and will seem just as surprised to find that they have the wrong number as they were the first time.

10. When you get put on hold by a telephone call stacking system an automated voice will stop you concentrating on doing anything else by apologising every thirty seconds.

11. If you file it you'll never need it again. If you don't file it you'll never find it again.

12. If you want to get anything done you will have to make a nuisance of yourself - and become unpopular with at least three people.

13. When things go wrong the most obvious and best solution will be the one no one likes to suggest because everyone will assume that such an obvious solution can't possibly be any good.

14. People under sixty invariably arrive late. People over sixty invariably arrive early or not at all.

15. Something you didn't really need but bought anyway will always appear in the sale, at a heavily discounted price, within two weeks. But if you don't buy it then it will never appear in the sale.

16. The quickest way to check out a nursing home is to sniff the moment you walk through the door. If you can smell urine walk straight out again.

17. When you start a new job or move to a new area be wary of people who are very friendly and anxious to make you feel comfortable.

18. When you unwrap your shopping the waste packaging will not fit into the bag you used to bring the items home with you.

19. People who criticise are like eunuchs. They know how it is done. They have seen it done. But they can't do it themselves.

20. Never fight a bureaucratic organisation. You can't beat a large organisation because it will always have more time, more patience and more money than you have. Organisations don't get tired, they don't feel guilty and they don't become embarrassed. Nor do they worry about losing their jobs. If you want to win, pick a fight with a specific individual within the organisation.

For more advice on how to survive, read Why Everything Is Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better (And What You Can Do About It) by Vernon Coleman, published by Blue Books at 15.95 and available through the bookshop on this Web site (or through all good terrestial bookshops).

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2005