Reverse the Curse

Richard Ramis, AYS Dispatch, Inc.

The pioneering retailer Marshall Field, amongst his many accomplishments, was creating and popularizing the motto, “the customer is always right.” Complete and total customer satisfaction was the mainstay of the inception of American retail and business in general.

Somewhere along the way however another motto became popular. That was “Caveat Emptor” Latin for “let the buyer beware.”

Even back in the day it was not out of the ordinary for some business people, merchants and the like, to take advantage of customers now and then. Essentially, the good and bad could be on both ends of a transaction.

As time progressed third parties would sometime be brought in to help with these disputes. You had arbitration, credit card dispute and protections, and even government help such as buyer protection mandates to lemon laws.

I have a big problem with all this noise. Although I have been on both sides of the bench I am really starting to believe the dishonest or perhaps greedy consumer is far outnumbering the shady provider.

One of my favorite examples was the famous 1979 Domino’s 30 minute or less pizza guarantee. The concept started out gangbusters. It was simple. You ordered your pizza and if it did not arrive in 30 minutes or less it was free.

Long story short, overly aggressive drivers in the course of two or 3 years were involved in automotive accidents that killed approximately 20 people and culminated with a 78-million-dollar wrongful death lawsuit. Domino’s canceled the promotion. At their very core consumers can be funny animals. Ordering your meal then setting your stopwatch is typical behavior of today’s modern customer. Are you truly hungry, or just like playing the freebie lottery?

It seems like everyone is looking for a loophole to exploit. A mother calls me because her son’s iPhone will not sync up to the buses’ blue tooth and since they can’t enjoy his playlist they will require a substantial discount.

Or the Bridezilla who insists the limousine’s A/C was not up to her standards and caused her to sweat on that sweltering summer day. She makes it clear, “I will Yelp you until blood comes out of your ass. I want a refund. I want a discount on future services. You have no idea who you are playing with or what I am capable of.”

The one I never understood was if a company screwed up an airport transfer. A common client retort is, we are driving ourselves. You will refund our money, you will pay for our parking, and you will comp our next trip this Christmas. And while you are shelling out the duckies, my wife needs a nose job.

The concept of profiting from an honest mistake is wrong. Should providers raise their vomit clean up fees to also compensate for vehicle downtime. We can go round and round on this. Bring it on!!

Some time ago I get an email solicitation from DoorDash. Although I was aware of them I was really never in need of their services. What piqued my interest was a very generous offer to get me in the game. I start doing some basic research and run into this one consumer who online blasted them from soup to nuts.

I was so intrigued by her rants that I reversed searched her and wound up on Uber Eats Facebook page where she engaged with a well-meaning rep trying to reason with her. The bottom line is that Uber Eats removed her from their platform for a crime I never realized existed.

It is Refund Abuse, also known as Returns Abuse. Turns out Karen put in claims on 8 of her last 9 food orders.

That is a problem. Yelp and the like are a tool not a weapon. I think that one restaurateur had it right a year or so ago. He encouraged all customers to give him bad reviews therefore, rendering Yelp powerless. He was now in control.

I was thinking, take it a step further. Actually researching the client’s online persona before selling them your service. If you find a demon in the bunch tell them you are booked. It just is not worth the trouble.

There really are good folks out there.

Good people appreciate good service.

Good people understand mistakes happen.

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