WHAT HAPPENED TO CHOICE?

In a democratic society one is supposed to have a freedom of choice. Actually such was the case only a few years ago when life was much simpler and the products were not that varied. Further our choice wasn’t influenced by a plethora of information, and thus the individual was left free to take his or her time and make the most suitable and cost effective choice for his or her life. Further there were no ultimatums and unseen controls exercised on the individual nor was undue advantage taken of the citizen’s background or condition. Stories were not made up and problems if any were presented in as is where situation is. Also there were less barriers and more direct access to solve one problems regarding the product offered and the information given was upfront and honest. It was easy to have faith on the salesman and depend on his honesty.

However all this has undergone a rapid change and the scenario now is most unpalatable and rife with doubt and one has to really waste a lot of precious time ascertaining the situation and analyzing it to get to the truth of the offer, before one is ready to commit. It’s one large monster comprising false promises, bombastic language, contrived statistics and colorful presentations and advertisements, each offer or product trying to woo the customers and get them to buy the same.

As if this were not enough the customers is really played with the use of psychological factors which might include such things as creating a need which doesn’t exist or pandering to the wishful thinking or just asking them to keep up with the Jones’s or still better making them status conscious where none is needed. Or just plain bombardment thru the use of TV and electronic devices raising the curiosity and unwittingly the sale takes place.

Another way is in the packages that are given. The surveys show a bent to certain elements in the packages…. so they are done in such a way as the individual is forced to take a high priced package as all the elements are not there  , or the combinations are done in such a way as to delude the individual into thinking that he is indeed taking a better product.

Then there is there is the continuous sales calls enticing away or towards a product and are done in such a way that one is left with little information to make the choice….but due to shortage of time the individual just makes one choice or the other just due to exasperation. The benefits are put in short and crisp fashion and one is lulled into thinking that it is the best.

Further many times the individual is forced into making a decision as he is given a limited time offer thus forcing him to make the decision in favor of something that he would never have otherwise gone for. Everything is being done on the run. It’s based on blind faith and the habit of examining before taking the leap seems to have just died a solid death in the face of the so called new market trend which though considered fashionable is merely fooling the customer in a large number of ways.

Another way that the customer is forced into making a choice is by creating barriers of reaching the right people for making a decision. Large companies have different levels and much of the contact is kept on phones for asking information or making complaints and much of this done by call centers. Thus there is no direct interaction with company personnel. The maintenance and providers are outsourced. This means that  there is no surety of ethics  or that the job efficiency and exactly who is responsible. There is no proper communication between the levels and one receives several phone call for the same problem and there is constant repetition. Naturally it’s all about reporting and one mismanaged report means that the customer is left in the lurch. Of course at every level everyone is very sorry. Each level is given a fixed response for different situations, and they all sound like parrots repeating the same thing and one is left wondering where the intelligence has all disappeared to. So nobody is really listening and matters get complicated. Further as every level does only a certain kind of work solutions take a long time as there is no one to take a holistic view of the situation? As if this were not sufficient there is the added problem of inability to handle the problem s there is no authority…so further delay. So much for the so called smart world! The customer is forced to toe the lone and not listened to at all!

This means that the only recourse left is the consumer court and that is too much for the common man as he is busy with his or her own day to day problems. This means that the only recourse in the event of dissatisfaction is that of changing the provider and the product. However all this is too time consuming and the customer is left tired and resigned. The common customer is a scared and tired lot busy making ends meet. This is now taken full advantage of by big business. You have no time so let’s get everything to the doorstep…inefficiently and substandard and no recourse to compare …only visually and the dependence on comments of the buyers which we cannot ascertain at any rate!

It’s time the customer became the king again. We have been as customers constantly dictated to and continuously told what is good for us and in general treated like morons by giving us so much information that in the end it only ends up in confusion and dissatisfaction after using the product and after a lot of money has been wasted.  There is no loyalty factor in the customer world and it’s all about money and market share. It’s time the customer got wise to all these tactics and not give in to the pulls and pressures created by the marketing world backed by big and growing commerce entities. If all the customers unite we will be the big fish who can then dictate the terms and get the quality and the kind of product we want. The fault after all is ours for allowing them to make inroads into our choices and becoming dictators.

It is in fact a new and different face of communism that is slowly taking root and making inroads into our life…the commercial communism. And this is not the only type of control in existence. Are we really living in a democracy or is it a fantastic illusion created to turn us into zombies that merely follow …unquestioningly!