Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Happy Outcome

Sometimes the world of business savvy and the world of doing the right thing butt heads. Today they shook hands.

I have been in an ongoing hassle with a company called Outdoor Rugs. Today they did the right thing and at the same time redeemed my faith in the possibility that commercialism, profit-making, and the bottom line can walk in peace with integrity.

People don't go into business to demonstrate their moral virtue, but that is no reason to abandon it entirely. Enter Customer Service.

Not a living soul on Earth today, at least not those who were also on Earth 40 years ago, can say customer service has improved over the years. Rather, we mourn its near demise. But a turnaround may be coming as businesses are forced to compete with each other with the slimmest of margins, and shipping costs continue to rise. The battlefield on which they must fight (with each other) is the field of exemplary customer service practices.

The Pebble Beach company has a motto, and Disney has a similar one, that goes something like this: "Exceed the expectation of every guest every time." Those companies have reached the pinnacles of success and own the respect of millions.

Every company should strive for that pinnacle.

So what happened to me was simple. I ordered a product that did not live up to any reasonable expectation and I complained about it. Skipping past the middle part, the company, in the end, did the right thing. All is well because they did the right thing.

If you had talked to me a week ago, I might have had nothing good to say about, but today I can say this company has found its own heart and there is hope for its survival.

But what put them in a position to make a simple transaction reversal so grueling? You. Well, not you personally, but you who would exploit them, thus putting them in a defensive posture.

To those "of you" who would exploit companies with no better reason than because you can get away with it I would ask you to stop it. If you buy a prom dress, tuck the tags in, wear it to the prom and then return it, you are the problem. If you buy a hair dryer and use it in the shower and get electrocuted and sue the company, you are the problem. If you blame someone else for your idiocy, misdeeds, or neglect, you are the problem. And you are costing the rest of us a lot of money and headache for your selfish actions.

My readers are not the "you" of which I speak. This blog isn't read by the "you's" who would do things like tuck in tags. In fact, the problem is they don't read. They don't read the directions, the rules, the terms of the agreement, the fine print, the warnings, or the labels.

The result is more (needless) injuries, causing more (mercenary) trial lawyers to sue more (innocent) companies so more (dumb) juries can award more (ridiculous) awards to more (undeserving) idiots who were injured because they didn't read the label on the toaster that said, "Do not use this product while swimming, showering, or bathing."

I'd like to thank for doing the right thing. I will definitely do business with them in the future because of this good final outcome. And if it had gone the other way, this blog might have been entitled A Grumpy Outcome. (That's a Snow White reference, there.)

Let's ALL do the right thing, how's that sound?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Castles in the Air

What does it mean when you are casually flipping through a catalog, and at the very moment your eyes land on an item, in this case a card game called "Storming the Castle" a character on tv says, at that very moment "...storming the castle...". What is that!?

The game is based on the movie, The Princess Bride, in which Billy Crystal and Carol Kane say farewell to the heroes, "Bye, boys! Have fun storming the castle!" The tv character was the ex-wife of Gary UnMarried. She was offering an exultant farewell to their Marine friend who had been called back to active duty.

It's not like I saw some dumb game in some dumb catalog and for some dumb reason it caught my eye. And then after a minute or so some dumb person says something kinda similar. Oh, no. My eyes and her voice were in perfect sync. I saw the words. She read them.

Yesterday, to add a bit more to this mysterious castles in the air confluence, I finished a little movie/slideshow for my upcoming art show. The title? "The Castle Builder." I know!

I was going to post it on YouTube, but I don't have permission from the guy who recorded the poem I used for my soundtrack, Longfellow's "The Castle Builder". When I do, I shall post it.

On October 30th a friend and I are going to a party at Eagle Castle Winery. I shall be magnificent in the Maleficent costume I purchased at the D23 Expo, although I don't "relish" the idea of green face paint. (Ha'yuck!)

Now that all this castle stuff has been happening, I'm sure I'll pick up on castle references everywhere. And oh my god, Tuesday we had a storm! Weird.