Fine Print World
Posted on September 10, 2010We live in a fine print world.
The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, and boy, the devil is having a field day these days.
You leave your phone on while you travel into a foreign country, and the next thing you know you are facing bankruptcy because of excessive roaming charges. When you complain, hey, you should know better. It’s in the fine print.
You pay a day late on your credit card; the bank slaps you with a huge late payment fee. When you complain, hey, you should know better. It’s in the fine print.
You have to change your flight because of a family emergency, but the airline makes you pay through the nose for privilege. When you complain, hey, you should have known better. It’s in the fine print.
You use a social networking site for fun, and all of sudden, you get deluged with all kinds of crazy advertisers. When you complain, hey, you should have known better. It’s in the fine print.
When Congress passes a law to reform health care, all of sudden, you find out your premiums go up and if you own a small business, you have to pay a big tax to the government if you don’t cover your employees. When you complain, hey, you should have known better. It’s in the fine print.
The people are tired of living in a fine print world, defined by lawyers who seem intent not on providing value to customers or the taxpayers, but rather on providing maximum value to shareholders and lobbyists.
I understand why corporations have to be responsive to shareholders. I get it. But don’t they also have to responsive to customers. What ever happened to the idea that the customer is king?
Ripping off customers seems to be the number one strategy of too many icons of corporate America these days. Ripping off hard-working taxpayers seems to be the number one strategy of Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration.
Daniel Ariely wrote a fascinating book called Predictably Irrational, where he talked about how the marketplace is governed by perfectly rational laws of supply and demand because most people don’t actually act perfectly rational. His premise was that many subconscious factors work on how consumers actually make decisions. One section covered the alarming lack of trust that is developing in American society. People simply don’t trust their politicians, they don’t trust corporations, they don’t trust the media, and increasingly they don’t trust each other.
As it turns out, there is ample reason for that distrust. Just read it in the fine print.
Government is not the answer here. In many ways, big government is worse than a big corporation. If you think that government is on this level, believe me, you are not paying attention.
But America can’t prosper if we are continually forced to read the fine print for fear that we are getting ripped off.
Perhaps the only way to fight the “fine-printers” is through the use of social media to keep the bastards honest. What do you think?