Friday, January 02, 2009

More bad business

Readers with long memories may remember that I had problems with a CD exporter called Import CDs. That post gets a hit most days. So it's true what they say about the interwebnet and marketing: it's not just the people who read this blog who will steer clear from Import CDS, but also anyone who is checking them out before doing business with them.

Well, here's another shitty business, and I hope to get hits for them too. I hired a car when I went to the UK from 1car1.com. They were quite cheap and I've found out why. My sister backed into a Cornish dry stone wall and grazed the back bumper. Foolishly, she rang the company to ask whether they would let her pay for the damage on her credit card. I say foolishly because we could probably have covered it up if she hadn't been honest. But whatever, she has a fetish for doing the right thing, and that's not usually a bad quality in a person.

So 1car1.com take 500 quid in "excess", and when my sister contacts them, they tell her it's going to cost nearly 500 quid. I'm not surprised, but obviously there's no way that it really costs that to fix.

The guy who's paid to lie to me about it tells me that their engineer examined the damage and decided it wasn't superficial, and because I had suggested that they wouldn't actually bother repairing it, he said that they repaired their cars to the highest quality.

Which is far from true. The car I hired had scratches already, which were marked on the hire form, and the one my sister did was barely worse. Furthermore, the guy who took the car back in at the hire place asked me whether the scratch had already been there. Clearly, he thought it was the kind of thing that might not get fixed. Unfortunately, I have the same failing as my sister, and I said no, we did it. (Well, he could check it against the hire form, so I wouldn't have got away with lying anyway.)

So that sucks, but I saved money to go away on holiday, so it's not really a big deal. My sister gave me 200 quid. I'd be happy to wear the rest but she wants to pay, so really I'm indignant on her behalf. But I am indignant all the same.

On the same subject, I had another mildly bad experience with a firm that I put an internet order with. They are Pia Jewellery. I ordered a present for Mrs Zen for Christmas. A few days later, I noticed that my credit card had not been charged by Pia (or had been charged and refunded, I think). So I emailed them to ask wtf.

They did not have the item in stock. But did they tell me, so that I had time to get something else for Mrs Z? Did they fuck! They didn't bother, and only after I had emailed them twice, once to ask about the item, the second time to ask whether they were actually still in business, did they bother to tell me that it was out of stock.

So Mrs Zen is having a late Christmas present and Pia Jewellery is on my shitlist.

I'm not really the type to whine a great deal about bad businesses. I expect businesses to be bad, because capitalism sucks and encourages them to be. But still. I have to post it so that it's out there, and with luck, I'll lose 1car1.com more in business than they gained by fucking me over the graze on their car.

16 Comments:

At 9:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

"I'm not really the type to whine a great deal about bad businesses."

How much is "a great deal"?


"I expect businesses to be bad, because capitalism sucks and encourages them to be."

Your post speaks of lying as a reasonable and feasible method of interacting with businesses you patronize, yet you expect them to uphold a higher standard?

And you blame capitalism for the situation?

Whatever works for you, bro. I think that any world which encourages the view that stuff has value because it is limited in its existence is doomed to hosting those who willingly fuck others over to get more stuff.

For example, by lying.

 
At 9:40 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

"yet you expect them to uphold a higher standard?"

"I expect businesses to be bad"

Read closely before smartarseing, will you? You'll note that I did not lie at any point.

 
At 11:38 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

erm wat

 
At 12:20 am, Blogger P. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12:47 am, Blogger Dr Zen said...

I've mercy deleted your comments. I'm sure you'll prefer it on reflection. Please direct abuse to my email addy.

 
At 1:24 am, Blogger Arleen said...

I expect businesses to be bad, because capitalism sucks and encourages them to be.

Good people run wonderful businesses that are fair and honest under capitalism. Not so good people don't.

And it's not just the businesses that have money-grubbing attitudes. There are the kind of folks who were so frenzied about a WalMart sale they trampled an employee to death to get in the store when it opened.

Capitalism would work fine if people didn't suck.

 
At 9:33 am, Blogger Dr Zen said...

I do not agree with you. Yes, sometimes people suck. But a system that encourages the pursuit of profit at the expense of other considerations will bring out the suck in them.

It's interesting that you mention the Wal-Mart crushing. Think about this. Is it truly your belief that two thousand really shitty people just happened to be at Wal-Mart that day?

 
At 1:09 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

Is it truly your belief that two thousand really shitty people just happened to be at Wal-Mart that day?

Not exactly. Sure you could say WalMart played a part in the blame, with its stupid early morning, be the first xx people to get this special deal, encouraging folks to compete and not being prepared for what they encouraged, but at the same time, it's still the suckiness in people that causes them to join the game.

Capitalism does not encourage people to behave badly. Capitalism encourages people to make money. There's nothing wrong with that. It's the values of the people working under capitalism that are to blame. No matter what economic system is used, it takes decent people not to abuse it. I don't think that one can equate capitalism with "the pursuit of profit at the expense of other considerations" if it weren't for the people who choose to pursue it at the expense of other considerations.

 
At 1:25 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

You're basically splitting hairs. Chasing a bargain is hardly heinous, and in crushing incidents, people rarely realise what is going on. It doesn't mean they're evil. They just don't have a big enough picture to realise what is happening. Yeah, it makes for a great outrage piece on the TV news or current affairs programme, but I don't think it particularly speaks to human nature.

"Capitalism does not encourage people to behave badly."

We possibly have different ideas of what "badly" means in this context but of course it does. It reduces people to inputs, Arleen. You need to get sacked for no reason but "cutting costs" (at a very profitable company) a couple of times, and you'll quickly change your views.

"Capitalism encourages people to make money. There's nothing wrong with that."

That's an argument for another time, but obviously I believe that that is the root of the problem.

"It's the values of the people working under capitalism that are to blame."

Unless you think capitalism dropped from the heavens one afternoon, I don't see why you think these are actually different things. Capitalism is human greed as an ideology. We could debate whether other human values could be used as a basis for our economics, and whether those values could lead to prosperity (and I know that some do not think they can, obviously, although the huge success of communism* should give them pause)

"I don't think that one can equate capitalism with "the pursuit of profit at the expense of other considerations""

I don't know what other definition you use of capitalism but that's the one the rest of the world is using.

* Yes, I know that you, and other poorly educated Americans, think that communism failed, but on the whole it was extremely successful economically, not least for the lower classes, many of whom now suffer in the capitalist successor states. It's true that the rich are very much richer, but should we necessarily be saluting that?

 
At 1:45 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

"Capitalism encourages people to make money. There's nothing wrong with that."

That's an argument for another time, but obviously I believe that that is the root of the problem.


If it's the root of the problem, then it isn't an argument for another time, it's the crux of why we see this from different points of view.

You say communism worked, and yet, wasn't there still an elite, still a level of society that received the best at the hands of the common people? Communism can only truly work if those in charge, and there will always be people in charge, are people of integrity, honesty, fairness, and justice.

So what do we do? A world without money would be lovely. Sharing all things with all people equitably would be lovely. Being able to work at what one's heart pulls us to work at instead of just a job that pays the bills would be lovely. But there will always be those who ruin it for everyone else. And there will always be those jobs that people hate to do but need to be done, so how do we create a system that works fairly? Whatever system is in place, there will always be those who run it, and that's where we run into problems. People are flawed. So systems become flawed. We can work toward correcting some of those flaws with laws to create a more equitable playing field, but that's all flawed, too.

Because people suck. We're flawed, sucky creatures.

 
At 1:47 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

Why do you fear jazz? What's wrong with jazz?

 
At 1:56 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

As I said, the discussion of the broader issues will wait for another day.

What's right with jazz?

 
At 9:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

"Read closely before smartarseing, will you? You'll note that I did not lie at any point."

I noted this,

"Foolishly, she rang the company to ask whether they would let her pay for the damage on her credit card. I say foolishly because we could probably have covered it up if she hadn't been honest."

You've as much as come straight out there and said that honesty is foolish if it is to your disadvantage.

You did admit to your own foolishness however, which I consider in your favor, but you've implied in the parenthetical sentence that you'd have lied if you could've gotten away with it; you've painted your foolish honesty as a matter of practical necessity rather than an ethical choice.

"Unfortunately, I have the same failing as my sister, and I said no, we did it. (Well, he could check it against the hire form, so I wouldn't have got away with lying anyway.)"

In my opinion business is not fucked because of capitalism, it's fucked because of greed and self-interest. It's fucked because the primary motivating factor in our world (capitalist or otherwise) is stuff, having stuff, getting stuff, and the shite that goes with it. It's fucked because the goal of business is to accumulate as much stuff for itself and its owners as possible, rather than to make the best possible product or provide the best possible service.

And your disdain for the honesty you practice is the mark of a man who slogs ahead through life's cattle chutes instead of stopping and saying "no, that just isn't right", and you do it because you worship bleeding stuff.

Now you may go ahead and bin me again if you wish. The holiday season is over so you needn't fake a thing.

 
At 12:22 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

I'd enjoy your comments more if they were:
a/ shorter
b/ not clueless bilge.

But you can't have everything in this life, hey?

 
At 10:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

"I'd enjoy your comments more if they were:
a/ shorter
b/ not clueless bilge."


I'd enjoy your comments on others' comments more if you identified the commentor to whom you refer.

Since you do not, one might (must?) assume that you refer to all commentors.

In which case one wonders.

"But you can't have everything in this life, hey?"

Thank you for that repetition of "clueless bilge" fed to you as a child.

 
At 8:13 am, Blogger Looney said...

I'm not sure your issues with companies like Pia Jewelry were so much a result of capitalism per se, but of long distance commerce. Faceless business focuses the business on the numbers rather than the person doing business. There is little human element in the transaction, so the shortage shows up as an unfulfilled order for schmuck #158489384 instead of for that poor writer fellow who wants something special for his wife/mother-of-his-children etc. It's a statistic, not a human problem. When I do business locally with a person I can look in the eye while we dicuss our particular piece of business, I'm far more likely to receive good service, especially if I'm also likely to run into them down at the pub after they've screwed me over.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home