If you don’t read Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut on a regular basis, you should. His column from February 25th is a jewel. It’s entitled, Customers Rule. In this opinion piece, Steven’s main point is this: Why in the hell does the American public and media get themselves all worked up into a lather and put all of their focus on the occasional bad practices of the private sector but rarely focuses this same level of outrage on Bad Government. Here’s a great quote from Steven’s piece: “No matter how demonstrably bad the government may be, legislators, and even many regular folks, focus much outrage at the private sector – the only portion of society that works relatively efficiently and humanely.”
I wonder this, too, Steven. It’s a great question.
Yes, there are bad people in the business world and there are bad businesses, too. Yes, there is no excuse for fraud and abuse and for the bad people who took Enron down. But where’s this same outrage over BAD government? Sure, JetBlue screwed up badly during the recent snow storms and left a bunch of people on airplanes for WAY too many hours. These people were abused for sure. But JetBlue came right back and offered to make it right with customers and create a customer Bill of Rights. Now consider the abuse we take from the government, day in and day out? Steven asks a great question on this subject, “When was the last time the government offered to reimburse you for being stuck on one of its highways or in one of its offices?” Can you say “NEVER!”
At least the majority of businesses listen to the customer. We can’t say that about government. But it’s about time the American public started demanding that government start listening to it.
As it stands now, the American public is sliding down the razor blade of life as long as we do not demand better service from our government officials. There is nothing worse than energizing incompetents and this is what the American public is doing by not complaining more about our incompetent government. Start complaining and holding government officials to the same standards we profess to hold business executives to.
As Steven states, “Government always seeks to stop, regulate, control, tax and put the kibosh on new ideas and entrepreneurship.” I couldn’t agree more. In business, one has to think to be successful. Not too many government officials know how to think. In our capitalist economy, if you know how to think, the rewards are sensational for those who can make things happen.
It ain’t brain surgery.