I Should Get What I was Promised

I rarely use this forum to respond to readers who disagree with me. I figure if I want to engage in an argument, that’s what Facebook is for.

However, a number of people made similar comments about last month’s column. Those comments — relating to a delivery company failing to deliver an appliance by the agreed-upon time— need to be addressed.

One reader called me a fool for believing that any delivery service would be on time in the first place. He claimed that most trade professions are untrustworthy. That sentiment is not only inaccurate — it is insulting to the tens of thousands of trade workers in America who break their backs to get a job done on-time and on-budget.

The more troubling sentiment came from those who said that I got what I paid for. Here’s their claim: Since I bought the appliance online (and saved a lot of money), obviously the only way the appliance company could cut the price was to use an unreliable delivery company. Some readers called me a fool for expecting anything better.

Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t believe in the principle that you get what you pay for. I believe you get what you are promised. In this particular case, I was promised phone calls that weren’t made and a delivery time that wasn’t kept. I only complain to companies that promise one thing and deliver another.

I was raised that — in business or one’s personal life — if you make a promise, you keep it. You aren’t allowed to say, “Well, it was a cheap product. What did they expect?” If you aren’t happy with an arrangement, you renegotiate before you make the promise. You don’t find ways to short the deal afterwards.

This is the reason I think classes in business ethics are pointless. Frankly, if someone doesn’t know right from wrong — if they aren’t willing to do the hard thing because it is the right thing — why would you hire that person in the first place?

I conduct dozens of low- or no-cost workshops for non-profit organizations each year. No matter what the fee is, I show up early, wear a suit and tie, and deliver the best session I can. I don’t think, “These guys aren’t paying much. Where are my jeans and sandals?”

And it’s not because I am afraid of bad word-of-mouth or a poor evaluation. I give the same effort for a low-cost job as a full-fee client, because that is what I promised to do. And it is the right thing to do.

I didn’t need an ethics class to learn that, I had a mom and dad.

In the movie, K-PAX, the character of Prot claims to be from another planet. A psychiatrist interviews Prot, looking for inconsistencies in his story, to prove he is actually human.

When the subject of crime and punishment arises, Prot says that the planet of K-PAX has no laws because there is no need for them. When the psychiatrist presses, Prot simply says, “Every being in the universe knows right from wrong.”

It isn’t often you can gain wisdom from a movie ( Ghandi notwithstanding). However, I agree that everyone, at almost every age, truly knows the right thing to do for any situation. When we hesitate to act, we are not confused about what to do — doing the right thing just seems like such a hassle.

I receive a monthly magazine about the speaking profession. One section poses a new ethical question each month — issues like “How would you handle being offered a fee that is higher than what you typically charge for the same service?” Members are invited to chime in with what they would do in that situation.

I always find that section useless. Everyone knows the right thing to do — without question — they just find it difficult to do. How often have we adults used the same tactic as children by seeking support for inappropriate decisions? We ask others to see if they have done the same thing.

No matter how many people do it, wrong is wrong. If any of my employees excused their poor performance with, “You get what you pay for,” there would be serious doubts about their future with my company.

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2014/08/not-a-fool-for-expecting-to-get-what-promised.html?page=3

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