Mean Mean Mean…spiritedness! A Rant

Mean-spiritedness in business – a rant



Some of our most famous name businesses are mean spirited. The mark-up on some products in order to make mega profits rather than human-scale reasonable ones is meanspirited. The way customer complaints are dealt with are often mean spirited. Airlines are meanspirited. Hotels are meanspirited. Holiday firms are infamously meanspirited. The Body Shop is meanspirited in the prices it charges. Of course, in every industry there are exceptions and generosity of spirit also exists. Portion control is mean spirited. Invoking the small print in helpless cases is meanspirited. Longlife milk cartons are meanspirited. One teabag in a large teapot is meanspirited. Paying 20pence to use toilets is meanspirited. Charging enormous markups on trains before 9am is meanspirited. Hiding the small print or making it incomprehensible is meanspirited. Designing products not to last is meanspirited.  Banks who charge fees to use cash machines is meanspirited. Telling lies on adverts is meanspirited. 

Mean-spiritedness is about being a rotter. It is about being shameful in relation to the goodwill of others who have done you no harm. It is about trying to take what is theirs without giving anything, or giving the minimum. It is about putting up prices way beyond any real increases in your costs. It is about exploiting surges in demand beyond what is reasonable. It is about dishing up food, which is out of date. It is about putting dangerous preservatives or additives in food to save money. It is about making special offers which turn out not to be special. It is about charging a pound a minute for computer help line It is about forging and faking. It is about hiding real extra charges in the small print. It is about free gifts which turn out not to be free. It is about putting pressure to buy on vulnerable people. It is about withdrawing aftersales support for a discontinued product. It is about putting radiation in food to make it last longer in the name of profit rather than health. It is about saying something is free range when it is factory farmed. It is about saying something is organic by stretching the definition. It is about squeezing small suppliers for price cuts and never passing these on to the customer. It is about calling tap water spring water. It is about charging £1.60 for a small bottle of water or an orange juice. It is about adding a service charge and then pushing for a tip. It is about taxi drivers taking customers the longer way. It is about selling software that must be updated for a premium. It is about forcing people to reveal personal details to you in order for you to later push them to buy your goods. It is about selling all-inclusive holidays that really contain hidden extras. It is about advertising the best room, in the hotel then giving customers the worst rooms on arrival. It is about charging a lot more for food just because it is an airport or on a motorway. It is about charging 20p for a call on a payphone and not letting the caller use part of the remaining money to make a further call. It is about taking the money as soon as the phone is answered even if an ansaphone kicks in. It is about not boiling the water hot enough so the coffee will be drunk quicker. It’s about not enough oil pain in the painting by numbers kit. It’s about It’s about making a profit on exchange rates by making buying back different to the selling rate and the charging commission on top of that. It’s about charging single people a supplement on holiday or for a hotel room. It’s about fireworks that last no more than a few seconds. It’s about introducing charges for national health service dental treatment. It’s about making a pensioner pay on a bus when she has forgotten to renew her pass. It’s about charging £40 for a small bottle of perfume. It’s about not providing toilets in a shop for customers or even in a whole shopping area. It’s about not providing benches for tired travelers at a railway station. It’s about providing carrier bags in shops that will break when the customer has left the shop with their goods. It’s about hidden bank charges. It’s about charging £30 for a theatre ticket in London so many people cannot afford a good seat. It’s about selling powdered milk to a developing country at a low price simply in order to create product dependency.  It’s about checkout by 9am. It’s about charging thousands for funerals. It’s about charging to watch football on satellite TV. It’s about, it’s about, and it’s about…

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