Saturday, February 7, 2009
Two Faced American Business
Cable, a First Cousin to Janus?
I seldom get upset about the craziness of the world about me. I accept, reluctantly, the fact business is interested in my money, not me. Sometimes, I’ve gotten upset with a business and declared I would never go back.
The only problem with such a hasty decision is I end up hurting myself more than anyone else. You see, I am quite aware that no business would miss me if I withdrew my patronage. If you stop and think about it, there are no businesses that would go under if a single person withdrew his patronage.
Of course, if three-quarters of us withdrew our business, we could accomplish something; but have you ever known three-quarters of Americans to agree on anything?
Naturally, small businesses are much more solicitous of customer satisfaction, and that’s why I prefer them.
Big business? That’s a whole new ball game. If you complain to management, they make an effort to salve your wounded feelings. They tell you what you want to hear, but deep inside, they’re just waiting for you to leave and get off their back.
Many of them capitalize on the fact most of us won’t(maybe can’t) change business to a competitor. And, so what if a customer leaves: who’s he hurting?
Certainly not the business.
You stop and think about it, that’s a sad assessment of American business.
But that’s the double standard of too many American businesses. They tell customers what the poor joker wants to hear then do whatever they wish. Two-faced. That’s the only way to describe them.
If the Roman god, Janus, had not been simply a myth, I would seriously have wondered if American business might have been his illegitimate offspring.
Janus was a lower tier god in Roman Mythology. He was the god of doors, gates, that sort of thing. Nothing truly spectacular about him.
You would probably recognize him if you saw one of his statues. A bearded Roman with curly hair on both his heads. That’s right, he’s one who has two faces, back-to-back; two-faced, untrustworthy.
Sometime back, a series of editorial letters concerning added charges for paying cable bills by mail came out in a local newspaper. The letters caught my attention. The main reason was that a friend of mine had just experienced a similar incident with the cable company to which I subscribe.
I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention, figuring it was just another case of someone jumping to conclusions. My hunch seemed correct when a couple days later, the Director of Digital Communications (impressive title, huh?) for my cable company stated in the newspaper the charges were incorrect; he said the company was offering a 99 cent credit to people who used paperless billing. Sounded good to me. Those who continued to pay by mail would not be charged extra. Still sounded good.
And then I received my bill, and all of a sudden, I spotted the old American business two-step. Not only did my bill go up by $1.12, but and I quote “Effective January 1,2009, Time Warner Cable will initiate a Paper Statement Service charge of $.99 per month for customers that continue to receive a monthly paper bill statement.”
Now, I might not be the sharpest stick on the branch, but as my old grandfather would say, “somebody here is as shy of the truth as a goat is of feathers.”
And folks, it ain’t me.
Maybe that director of whatever was telling the truth. If he were, then communications at his company are a lot worse than old George W. had with the national media.
I have one reason not to go paperless. Identity theft.
Every time you turn around, someone has hacked into a database and stolen personal information. You can’t deny that.
I’ll make my company a deal. Give me a signed contract they will reimburse my
entire obligation incurred by identity theft should their database be breached, and I‘ll go paperless.
How about it, folks? Sound fair to you?