3.05.2009

Odd Payments, or The Customer is NOT Always Right

Years ago when I still owned and rode a Kawasaki Concours (that's a ZG1000 for you non-Americans), I was also a member of the Concours Owners Group, or COG. It was an email group and generally a good lot of people. You could get tips on how to fix, modify or otherwise make your bike more like what you wanted/needed.

Because my Concours suffered severe injury when an uninsured, unlicensed illegal immigrant made an illegal left turn in front of me and I catapulted up and over his car, I was parting out the remaining parts on the email list. I'd done it before to good effect with another Concours (what can I say, I had a thing for huge honking shaft drive Jap bikes).

In the course of parting out the bike, I made what seemed like a simple request to potential buyers to help me keep track of who wanted what. It was that they put the part they wanted in the subject line of the emails they were sending to me. Because it is damned annoying and tedious to go through several dozen emails to discover what each person wanted.

And, for the most part, the buyers were good about doing it. But there are always a few people that either don't read the request or just ignore it. And one person in particular was obstinate about not doing this small thing to make keeping orders straight much easier on me. Even after several direct requests, he refused to submit his email with the parts he wanted in the subject line.

So I posted an email to the entire group, probably a bad idea, and pointed him out as being the exact opposite of what I was asking for, definitely a bad idea but I was aggravated.

That email touched off a shitstorm of a debate about how the customer is always right, no matter what. Which is, of course, utterly ridiculous.

My counter example to their argument was: What if someone wants to pay you in sand? What if someone wants to pay you in eyelashes? What if the customer wants to trade you massages for your product? I mistakenly thought that these clear examples of when the customer isn't right would resolve the dispute. But they did not.

I still stand by my original argument that the customer isn't always right, heck, the customer is rarely right. In fact, it is a marketing slogan that the customer is always right, only people don't seem to grasp that. Yes, businesses wouldn't exist without customers to buy goods and services. Yes, customers are the lifeblood of the economy and they propel the movement of money through the financial strata. But that doesn't mean that they are perfect or infallible and to think otherwise is just plain stupid.

Payments aren't generally negotiable unless the deal is a barter or trade and then they are wide open to negotiation and/or haggling.

In the end, I quit the group because of the constant sniping and harping. And parted out the rest of the bike on Ebay and made more money because there wasn't any owner's group discount in the pricing.
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