By John Matonich
Do we no longer expect ethical behavior from the companies that compete for our business? I know it is a lost cause when it comes to politics, but I still expect more out of others, but not sure why.
I was watching a little bit of TV the other evening and a commercial appeared several times during the program I was watching. That isn’t unusual, but the content of the commercial really bothered me as it was twisting some facts about its competitors while glossing over the same issues in their own company.
The commercial was about a guy who wrecked his car. That was certainly unfortunate, but as he explained, to make matters worse he only received a depreciated value for his car rather than a replacement. He indicated that when he asked his agent about it, the agent said he must have chosen the wrong insurance plan. The guy brought it all to a head when he looked at the camera and said, “No, I guess I picked the wrong insurance company.” The behind-the-scenes announcer went on to say that if this car-less dude had picked his company’s new car replacement plan, he would have gotten an equal or better car to replace the one he busted up.
I had to shake my head at that statement. It seems that even though this company would like you to believe that you would get an equal or better car with their insurance, it was qualified by saying only if you chose the new car replacement plan. It seems that the same complaint the dude had about his company’s plan wouldn’t be any different if he had the ad sponsor insurance unless he chose this special plan.
I guess this insurance company was hoping I was dumb enough to fall for the bait and switch to the plan they were glossing over on their commercial even though in reality it was exactly the same type of plan as the one they had an actor complaining about. I wonder how many people fall for this garbage and then find themselves in the same boat.
I have no respect for this company as I think they left their ethical standards in one of the uncovered wrecked cars. It disappoints me that we used to be able to trust and rely on many of these companies but today we spend more time with fine print than we do with the actual product.
That isn’t the way it once was. I worked in a Ben Franklin five-and-dime while in high school and learned the value of treating people with respect from day one. The owner of the store did a great job of teaching his employees about the value of ethical treatment of our customers.
A lady once came in while I was working and wanted to return a pair of sneakers due to poor craftsmanship. I looked them over and they weren’t poorly made, they were simply worn out. The treads were gone and you could see they were stretched out from a growing foot. Her young son was with her and I could see he was a growing boy. I tried to explain that her shoe issues weren’t construction-related, but she wasn’t having any of it. She asked to see the owner. I quickly went and got him.
He took one look at the shoes and apologized to the lady for the poor quality. He told her to go pick out a new pair without any additional cost. She smiled and headed for the shoe aisle. Shortly thereafter she headed out the door with a new pair under her arm and her growing son in tow.
I looked at the owner and shrugged my shoulder. He looked back at me and told me I was right that the shoes were simply worn out, but this lady shopped in the store about every day and spent a fair amount of money. He then walked me over to the shoe aisle and showed me the price of the shoes. Looking at their low cost, I had to agree it was worth her being happy and continuing to shop with us. It was a valuable lesson about being a good business person who wasn’t afraid to give back. It is a lesson that obviously didn’t make its way to Insurance Company School.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …