Sun-tzu said of spies:
Spies are an important part of warfare. Without them, you have no information about your enemy – and understanding your enemy is the most important tactical advantage. (Ender’s Game, anyone?) So if I intend to get any repairs done, I have to understand my landlord’s thought process and strategies. Which means I need to do some recruiting if I want to find out my landlord’s weak points.
Our house has 3 apartments in it. One with us, one with another married couple, and one with 5 single guys. Most, if not all, are students. But we are fortunate enough to live on the other side of the block from our landlord. Read: if we go 2 houses down, we can spy on them from the backyard. This could work quite nicely.
Does my landlord have officials? I guess the homeowner. But the homeowner is the real problem here. We’re not even sure who the homeowner is. Clearly, we’re missing some information. The closest thing we have to spies in the “officials” category would probably be contacting the city. To the Better Business Bureau, away!
I think this would require the enemy to have spies.
Gee, I hope they don’t have spies.
First deceptive operation: make a written request for repairs, making sure to mention that we have several friends who are lawyers and would just love to sue the pants off of somebody right now. (Not true – but might get them moving on that oven…)
I really hope Sun-tzu was including the first four categories in this distinction.