Sunday, October 9, 2011

The take or leave it century

You hear a lot of speculation about how the world can recover from this global recession, and I have a bunch of my own theories but I’m starting to think we may never pull out of this if we don’t bring back some good old fashioned accountability all across the board.

How can anyone make money or forge a lasting business if they just don’t care?

I ask this because I’m so tired of seeing the laissez-faire attitude from businesses, banks, doctors, etc. No one has the gumption to put their best foot forward anymore. Is it any wonder no one’s making money?

A case in point, I hired a supposed professional several weeks ago to fix a leaky gutter on my house. After the work was done, for a reasonable $30.00, I was told if there were any problems to call the company and someone would come back to fix it. Well, the next rain storm produced a waterfall from the gutter which had previously only been dripping. I called. It took several phone calls to finally get someone to return, repair the leak a second time and leave. The next time it rained the gutter went back to dripping, so I was right back where I started. Several more phone calls only served to irritate the company manager who ended up telling my husband never to call again.

Naturally I did what I do best. I left reviews of the company wherever I could. We contacted the Better Business Bureau and put in a complaint. The manager called to complain to us about this because he couldn’t understand why we were making such a big deal over a $30 job.


Clearly the man has no business sense. No one ever told him that the $30.00 customer should be treated the same way the $30,000 customer is treated because you never know when one can turn into the other. His feeling was, we were supposed to excuse poor service, rudeness over the phone and a reluctance to fix the problem because, after all, we’d only paid $30, the price quoted to us by his own technician. Now the company is annoyed because the Internet reviews are out there tarnishing their reputation. Boo hoo.

Do a good job and you won’t have to worry about your reputation.

As a writer, I have to put my work out there and take the chance someone will give a trashy review. A bad review will hurt my business, it will impact my book sales. I know this because I’ve changed my mind about buying books after reading poor reviews. I don’t whine about those bad reviews. I don’t moan and say, what did they expect for a $0.99 book or a $4.99 book? If they’d been willing to pay $29.99 for it, I might have done a better job. That’s BS of the highest magnitude. My book sales are driven by the good reviews, the ones I get because I care about what I produce. In the information age, if you do crappy work, the world will know about it in a heartbeat. Welcome to the 21st Century, put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

Yet this attitude seems to prevail. I see it among writers who do whine about their bad reviews and engage reviewers in arguments. I see it in businesses that relegate small, inexpensive jobs to lesser skilled workers and provide less customer service to the ‘little guy’. I see it in banks that charge fees for low balance accounts and not for higher balances, in doctors and medical practices that give better service to patients who pay their own way as opposed to those relying on insurance [or sometimes vice versa depending on where they think they’ll get the most money]. I see it in government where budget cuts lead to lack of service which punishes the communities rather than the higher government that imposes the budget cuts to begin with. There seems to be a resentment of the everyday working person, the person who doesn’t just want to save money but HAS to in order to survive. We’re not supposed to complain about higher taxes, increased fees, lower compensation for health insurance, cuts in our salaries, higher gas prices, higher food prices, less service everywhere. We’re just supposed to shut up and accept that no one can go the extra mile anymore because we can no longer pay for it.

I guess the old adage is true: Money talks and bull shit is the new gold standard.

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