“Living up to the promise is the thing” I was told early in my advertising career. In 2015, the promise alone is everything. What happens after the sale nowadays is the customer’s fault.
All those years ago at JWT, they told me that failure to deliver the promise would kill a brand just as sure as curiosity would kill the cat. “Nothing” a famous CDP alumni told me – with suitably poked finger in the chest, “kills a crap product quicker than great advertising”.
They were right of course; but since then, a generation created by f**kwitted New Labour Edukashun targets, Murdoch tv distraction, political correctness and the internet’s terrifying power to magnify Attention Deficit Disorder don’t get it. This generation not only fails to discern the obvious scoundrel and the Ponzi scam, it dismisses all criticism of them in a blitz upon the older generation for being ‘grumpy’.
The relationship between vendor and buyer has swung massively in favour of the vendor. It is ironic that such a power-shift has taken place under the guise of the “ultimate in choice for the consumer” forecast by those who promised sovereignty for the individual buyer. But then – like everything to do with deregulated capitalism – the promise alone is everything.
The answer from almost everyone to this dilemma is “caveat emptor” – buyer beware. This is merely Latin for “it’s the customer’s fault”.
Er…whatever happened to “venditor officium” – seller accountability?
Permit me to run you through a brief summary of the last two years of my life using the medium of buying stuff.
- Being sold off an electric central heating system (backed up by log-burners) onto a gas system on the grounds of being able to use the existing copper pipework to reduce investment costs. The shit4brains who did this later sued me for the cost of the pipework which in fact couldn’t be used on the grounds of it being knackered. He lost.
- Buying a well-reviewed Italian range cooker from a respectable multiple retailer which, 18 months later, suffers from the death of all automatic top lighters, and an eccentric timer that starts well enough but never finishes.
- Buying a movement-sensitive and state-of-the-art outside light that is still to detect any movement whatsoever, on account of being unable to see in the dark.
- The purchase of two routers and five pcs guaranteed to solve my connectivity problems, none of which got anywhere near to a solution of anything.
- Buying a well-reviewed washing machine from a respected (different) multiple retailer with a 12 month guarantee, where after 14 months the Chinese circuit-board died and I had to replace it.
- The purchase of a spiral staircase from yet another ‘respectable’ multiple retailer which cost an additional €250 to make it safe by employing a local menuisier to correct a fundamentally flawed design.
- Entering into a contract with a private dental implant ‘specialist’ who promised a great deal…but in the end gave me a third-rate prosthetic requiring constant applications of fixodent – a bit of plastic that cost me €10,500, and probably cost her about €70. Following which, she absconded to Belgium.
In the West today, you would be lucky to find a single sovereign body anywhere willing to do something about this obviation of responsibility by the corporate and professional classes. Being unaccountable themselves, the political class cleaves naturally to those in search of the same position above the law. So it is that the Monty Python parrot sketch has come to life in a million separate but equally pernicious ways.
Beautiful plumage, yer Polish outside light. Narrr, that washing machine ain’t dead guvnor, it’s jut restin’ between cycles. Seefingizzlike, trouble wiv you range cooker users is, you use ’em too often. I mean look, the staircase spirals, right? There’s just no pleasin’ some peepull.