Cheating the Customer

I try to buy nice shirts from designers like Zachary Prell, sometimes Canali. I used to be a Men’s Wearhouse sort of guy, but once I tried on a shirt that fit me well, I couldn’t turn back. These shirts generally can not be washed in the washer/drier at home. They usually need to be dry cleaned.

The reason I am telling you this is because I have a suspicion that my dry cleaner is cheating me. I got my shirts back and they smelled like body odor. (Hopefully mine) My fear is that they take the shirts, throw them in a press to take out the wrinkles and call it finished.

The truth is that many of the products and services we pay for are less than what we thought. Volkswagen just had a major scandal where they cheated customers relating to the emissions of their diesel cars. Banks routinely slap fees onto low balance accounts and make it very onerous to fix. Insurance companies under staff their customer support lines in the hopes you will give up and go away.

Software products regularly ship with known issues or skimp on the polish. This last one bugs me to death. Skimping on the polish is akin to cheating the customer. The customer pays (this is assuming they pay) for software that has been thought-through and well designed. When things go wrong, a security hole for example, it makes the company look foolish and the customers angry.

I know that the profit motive is extremely strong. I get that companies need to make money to grow and thrive. However, I believe that a company can grow more, can retain customers and employees more, can lower their cost of acquisition and increase their average selling price…all by paying attention to the details and not cheating the customer.

We live in a cynical and fucked up world. There is scandal all over. This is a golden opportunity to be the bright light in a sea of darkness.

I might need to find a new dry cleaner.

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