Logic’s Last Stand

July 24, 2008

Business Before Customers

Filed under: Computers, Gaming, Life, Philosophy — Tags: , , , , , , — Zurahn @ 2:48 pm

While I’ve never agreed with the mantra of “the customer’s always right,” there’s an underlying principle there that states that the focus of the business should be to serve the customer; they aren’t customers, they’re clients. But if you evaluate the Canadian and presumably American corporate landscape, the understanding isn’t that customers are clients, it’s that customers are criminals.

To the discerning eye, it’ll be noticed that the number-one priority in all big stores is preventing theft, particularly in the case of media. Wal-Mart and Zellers lock their games behind glass cases, EB/GameStop removes the boxed contents of every game, new or used, and we all know and hate the impenetrable plastic cases of doom of any product that hangs on a shelf.

Also, don’t forget about the stickers. In some cases it’s for security, some for cost-benefit, but in every case, it’s the customer who pays for a policy that benefits only the business. Every DVD now comes with a sticker seal on the top of the case, Blockbuster video places a barcode sticker on the back and price sticker on the front of every DVD and game, and there’s not a gamer in the world who doesn’t despise the EB/GameStop price and barcode stickers on all games, again new or used.

Oh, but we’re not done. Digital media is arguably worse. While the above mentioned are annoyances, they aren’t hinderances; in the digital market, the prevention techniques are not only limiting to your enjoyment and use of the product you bought, but sometimes damaging to your computer. End-User License Agreements (EULA) are only prevented from making every customer a pirate by the fair-use laws, which are heavily lobbied to be removed entirely. Digital Rights Management (DRM) software in games, music and DVDs prevent playing without the disc, making back-ups, moving to alternate mediums or editing for the previously mentioned fair use; worse yet, DRM has occasionally installed monitoring programs that are both an invasion of privacy and a strain on computer systems.

If you ran your own business, would your focus be on locking down your products, or pleasing you, the customer? I think the customer would choose the latter; is he right?

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1 Comment »

  1. I refuse to shop anywhere that I need to spend 10 minutes finding a clerk to unlock a case so that I can get something I want. The list of shame includes: Zellers, Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire.

    There have been times I’ve considered busting the lock off (since it’s just screwed into the plexiglass anyway) and getting it myself.

    The stickers… gotta hate the ones that are INSIDE the case. How do they even get there??? You know the ones I mean, rectangular ones that come inside CD cases. I recently found one IN THE HANDLE of my airsoft gun. wtf.

    Personally my choice would be locking down my products. I’m paranoid, but with good reason. At Zehrs I locked my coat in my locker because I know how often people got their coats stolen. I still keep my lunchbox in my backpack at work, just because I know how notoriously ignorant people are for stealing other people’s lunches (WTFPLANNINGFAIL). If I had tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods, I’d probably want them locked up too. But at least I wouldn’t make customers wait more than 30 seconds for assistance.

    Comment by Yarcofin — July 24, 2008 @ 7:18 pm


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