Thanks for shopping with us: Big business lies, deceptions and broken promises
Is it me or has anyone else noticed how some companies make all those promises to get your business and then once they become mega-operations, they seem to forget about them?
This is not a comprehensive list of businesses that have "sold out" and become evil empires. These are just a few notable offenders and how they skewered our trust, only to have us forgive the affront and remain customers anyway.
1. Cable companies. Comcast, Time-Warner etc. - We are all familiar with the old bait and switch these guys play on us. It goes something like: "Subscribe to ______ now and receive ______ all for the low price of $______ for the first year."
Although they tell you up front that this is only good for a year, that introductory price is so inviting that many people simply sign up. However, the one thing that none of their commercials tell you is how much these services will be after that first year. In fact, they may not tell you even when you sign up unless you ask.
This practice has no doubt caused some real sticker shock for some when they receive that bill for the 13th month. There’s nothing like "truth in advertising."
2. Cell phone companies. Verizon, T-mobile, AT&T etc. - Talk about the tail wagging the dog. These companies have maneuvered their way so deeply into our lives that many people would go into a catatonic state without their phones. Of course, along with great power comes an even greater chance that the one wielding it may smash you like a bug at any time.
Cell phone companies always seem to offer you incredible service for an equally incredible price. But, as we all at some point have discovered, incredible is the operative word here. First you pick out your shiny new device that is often free, or if you like, you may select a device at the greatly-reduced "new customer" price.
Next, you pick your plan. Naturally many people will want the smart phones with all their features. So far so good. Then comes the whammy. If you are helped by an experienced salesperson, you may not even realize that your $59.95 a month plan just went up to more than $100 even before you walk out of the store. There are also all those taxes, fees, surcharges and sometimes the ambiguous other charges fee.
Then there are those extra features that are sometimes enabled on your device, by default, that you must call and cancel before the trial period ends, which many people forget to do until they receive that first bill.
You get all this for merely signing a pact in blood for the next two years, in which you will be warned that breaking the agreement will result in the minions of hell coming to drag you into the fiery abyss. Or, at least you will be facing a hefty early termination fee and possibly some negative information added to your credit report.
3. Walmart - By far, these guys deserve a spot on this list as the premier evil empire. Walmart has, over the years, become the real-life Umbrella Corporation of retail stores.
Once, back in the days of its infancy when the grandfatherly Sam Walton, its founder, was still with us, Walmart boasted that it bought American products from American suppliers and manufacturers. Sadly, those days are only a misty memory for those of us who can remember the company back then. From labor issues and unfair pay to unfair hiring and firing practices, this company has been accused of a host of decidedly unAmerican activities.
Unfortunately, Americans have spent so much money with Walmart it has now become a multinational juggernaut of retail stores. Like some sort of self-sustaining nuclear fusion chain reaction, Walmart has grown so large that many people have no choice but to shop there as the traditional mom-and-pop operations cannot compete with their prices and have been all but forced out of business.
Not content with virtually cornering the department store market the company has embarked on another quest--Walmart Neighborhood Markets. If you don't know what they are stay tuned, it's likely that one will soon be opening somewhere near you.
Additionally, one will be somewhat hard-pressed to find something besides food items that are made in America now. What is this? Made in Macau? And all this time I thought that was some kind of bird. Oh right! That's a macaw.
These are only three examples of companies thumbing their virtual noses at consumers. Of course there are others out there like the companies that promote their products as still being the same price without telling you the amount of product has decreased, such as the 14-ounce "pound" of coffee or the six-pack of beer that sports 11.5 ounce bottles instead of the traditional 12-ounce beverage containers.
Some call it business while others call it pure greed, but one thing has become very apparent. We have become so dependent on our technology and our convenient ways of living that we are virtually prisoners of the things that make our lives easier.
Here's a little food for thought. Chew on it as you sit holding that new smartphone, wading through all those automated prompts from some customer service network that knows little or nothing about the problem you're having, only to pass you around to an ever-increasing group of "technicians" who are equally as baffled.
Think about it as your call is eventually committed to the endless droning of bad elevator music and soulless voices trying to up-sell you on another product. When your inquiry is placed into the graveyard of "dead" phone calls and eventually disconnected, leaving you with the choice of trying to deal with the problem yourself or going through the whole process again, remember this story.
When you ask for a refund for some shoddy merchandise only to be told you'll have to wait days or weeks before your bank account is credited, even though the money was instantly deducted when you made the purchase, silently curse yourself for the monsters that you, I and millions of others have created, simply by trusting these companies and continuously spending our hard-earned money with them.