Illusion, over promised results and unclear or attractive pricing with unseen add-on charges are just some of the tools today's liars/advertising companies use to separate us from our money.
Normally, like most of us, I go about my day just knowing the age old admonishment"Let the buyer beware", is just how we need to navigate through the abundance of offers and decisions which affect our lives each and every day.
So, on my recent trip, I needed to rent a second vehicle and like most of us, I want a decent vehicle at reasonable rate. Not too much to ask, right?
Ah, the wonderful internet. Now I'm on the net searching earnestly for a decent car and price and I find what I believe to be both. I check it out with their representative on the phone and make the "reservation". Reservation is in quotations because it is supposed to denote a specific form importance in our gotta have it culture. In fact one of this writer's favorite comedians Jerry Seinfeld, devoted a monologue to this very word. I find him to be an incredibly funny and socially in tune standup.
When one reserves anything, the belief and understanding is that there is an appointed thing, at a certain place at a certain time, which has been certainly expressed as certainly, yours. Also, anything regarding this reservation is usually negotiated in advance, unless it's a restaurant. Apparently, my car rental company, H**tz, finds reservations only to mean welcome to our universe and now sir, please bend over to receive your gifts.
The departure day finally arrives and I confidently walk up to the reservation desk, because of course, I have a "reservation". It goes like this. Hi there! My name is Steve Lynch and I have a "reservation" for this car, at this time and place on this day. Response: " I'm sorry Mr Lynch, but we don't have that car for you. In fact, today we have no cars at all.
Now, I'm a relatively easy going kinda guy and I am openly attempting to process and pleasantly manage the huge implications of the rather small admission just made to me. Wow! How could this be? I mean after all, I had, a "reservation", right? Well then, what saving grace is there?
Further clarification from the blank faced H***z rep: "You see Mr. Lynch, a reservation is a tentative agreement, non contractual, based on our availability of that item upon your arrival." Oh really, I say, so then my reservation of this vehicle, at this time, location and date, a full week in advance was an absolute waste of my time? " Well Mr. Lynch, I understand your concerns as this is your day of departure, but there is really nothing I can do here. I suggest that you now rent your vehicle from the airport which is about an hour and a half away. They may have a vehicle you can use for your trip."
Now, I'm smiling because, I'm so very happy. I drive to the airport where I am greeted by another blank faced droid from the same rental company who has spoken with the other droid we just left about our, situation. It looks promising but then.
Well, I cannot rent you a vehicle as a one way drop off to Santa Fe, New Mexico Mr. Lynch, however, wait for it, wait for it, I can rent you a one day return to this location and then you can just call in an extension and location change once you are under way tomorrow. It will be no problem. Really I ask, because to this point its been so very smooth. Really Mr. Lynch, no problem. Now, I leave with the car having no other option and wondering, ok, if its no problem to do this tomorrow, why is there a problem today?
Tomorrow comes and I now understand why it was a problem for the blank faced H**tz rep the day before. I am now facing airport fees, rental extension fees, destination change fees and other various add-on fees which were never divulged in conversation during the rental process. In fact, my 8 day, one way rental for $423.00 reservation for an intermediate sized vehicle, has now morphed into a 4 day rental at the low price of $1200.00 dollars! I had a reservation!
So, instead of making my original planned journey which included a stop through Atlanta, Ga. to see my Sister who just had breast surgery because of cancer, I now have to race across the country trying to make it in 2 days instead so I would only have to pay $460.00
One might ask, if indeed I tried to find resolution to this obvious mistake on H**tz's part so that I could make my intended trip in peace, without worry. I called at least three other branches of this company, to include the Corporate Billing/Customer service department.
I could not see the woman with the East Indian accent over the phone, but, I'm sure that she was also a blank faced droid. Not only did she say it was not her problem that the York, PA Hertz location had no cars for me, though I had what I now call a Hertz special noncommittal commitment reservation, which is basically a non reservation although advertised in all media forms as a reservation, she hung up on me, twice!
As a clinical massage therapist, I am expected at all times to act with the highest ethical standards. Any form of advertisement should represent myself and my abilities truthfully and completely. Not only this, but I am expected to be at the top of my game clinically and morally every single minute with every single person I touch. There is no room for misrepresentation.
Since the time of my first professional bodywork session, I have maintained a 100% money back guarantee on my work. In almost 40,000 clinical treatment hours, I can only name 2 sessions which were refunded and those were timing issues. I have made it a mission to study hard, always attempting to better my knowledge and techniques, as well as practicing introspective analysis of how I deal with fellow human beings.
Corporations it seems have adopted the numbers only system of ethical behavior and no longer see the value in human connection. These entities have also lost the pride in a job well done in favor of another unit processed without liability. They are so compartmentalized and disconnected that interdepartmental communication and standing behind a service or product to right a mistake is almost nonexistent for fear of job loss!
There is an ever widening advertising ethical grey area where product and service alike are polished to a luster and the reality of poor product, substandard service and inflated add on costs are hidden from the consumer like the proverbial worm inside the beautifully polished apple. It becomes ugly and distasteful once bitten into. The surrounding beauty is an illusion hiding the rotting mass within!
How can we as humans evolve in any honorable, beneficial way if we continue to allow ourselves to be counted as a mere portion of a profit/ loss quarterly statement? Is it not more honorable and just, to truthfully and fully represent what we are asking other humans to subscribe to about us?
Servant Leadership, is a method of human interaction which I believe to be fundamentally brilliant, straight forward and absolutely truthful every time, with no agenda, hidden or otherwise. This simple concept if practiced by every human to every human, one human at a time could create the Utopia we all seek.
HOW MAY I SERVE YOU, NAMASTE
Steve Lynch, LMT, AAS/Holistic Health, CTE, Trainer