American Marketing; Pervasive Rot Extends to All Areas

by Kung Fu Zu   4/30/14

Many of the pieces published on this blog concern the corruption and dishonesty, which has invaded our political system. While this cannot be denied by any objective observer, I am just as concerned with the dishonesty which has spread throughout our business culture. In particular, I am fed up with the dishonest use and perversion of language we so commonly encounter today.

I received a small example of this type of thing from my internet provider, Time Warner Cable, in the mail yesterday:

Dear Fu, (nom de plume)

We hope you’ve been enjoying your special monthly promotional rate. Currently, you pay a total of $34.98 per month, which includes your promotion and any additional services and equipment you’ve ordered. As this promotion is set to end soon, your next bill would reflect the current standard rate of $52.98 per month.

As a thank you for your continued business, we’d like to extend you another special offer on your services.

When your promotional rate comes to an end on June 5, 2014, you’ll keep enjoying the services you love for a total of $44.98* per month-that’s still a saving of $8.00 per month off the standard rate. Your new monthly price includes a promotion that will expire on April 22, 2015.

No action is required-this great new rate will begin automatically with your next bill.

Thank you for being a valued Time Warner Cable customer.

Oh how is this dishonest, let me count the ways.

Dear So and So, 

TWC used my first name which even in America suggests familiarity of a sort. This despite the fact I have never met anyone from TWC and spoke to a TWC representative on the phone once. I find it charming that such a warmly worded letter was signed “Time Warner Cable”. So a business entity, not a person, is sending me a letter written in a phony bonhomie style pretending we have a familiarity which does not exist. Priceless.

We hope you’ve been enjoying your special monthly promotional rate. Currently, you pay a total of $34.98 per month, which includes your promotion and any additional services and equipment you’ve ordered. AS this promotion is set to end soon, your next bill would reflect the current standard rate of $52.98 per month.

The first sentence of this paragraph starts with a lie. At no time during my discussions with TWC was the term “special promotional rate” used. The TWC representative simply told me the rates available, I chose the one which suited me and that was that. In this paragraph they are trying to have me believe that they have been giving me a “special” rate till now and hope to convince me that a price hike is simply the price at which my services would have been available TWC not been such great guys.

As a thank you for your continued business, we’d like to extend you another special offer on your services. 

In this sentence, TWC is trying to fool me into believing that by raising the cost of the service I presently use, they are giving me another “special” deal.

When your promotional rate comes to an end on June 5, 2014, you’ll keep enjoying the services you love for a total of $44.98* per month-that’s still a saving of $8.00 per month off the standard rate. Your new monthly price includes a promotion that will expire on April 22, 2015.

No action is required-this great new rate will begin automatically with your next bill. 

In this paragraph TWC gives themselves a smarmy pat on the back stating that I “love” their services. I find their services to be mediocre, but clearly that does not dent their self esteem.  And again, they try to convince me that they are giving me a “special” deal by raising their charges, by using the term “promotional” rate. In the separate line, they seem to hope repetition of “great new rate” will assure me I am getting something special.

In truth, TWC is sending out a notice informing me that they are raising their prices for the same service I presently receive. Apparently, they must think that either soft soaping this will act as a palliative of some sort, or that customers are too stupid to understand what is happening.

Perhaps I am being too harsh in my judgment, cough, cough, urrr. Not…. Let me stress that I am not a Pollyanna who believes in the inherent honesty and goodness of businessmen. But I have noticed a sharp drop-off in the honesty of large corporations, I have encountered, since the late 1970’s. It first hit me when dealing with the airline companies. This dishonesty has been accompanied by a similar debasement of language, particularly when used for marketing purposes. I noticed this in the hospitality industry.

It is bad enough when words are used to cover outright lies. But I find the continual use of exaggeration and superlatives to be perhaps more insidious. The public is constantly bombarded with such verbiage. And I believe after repeated misuse, the definitions of words can become so vague as to have little or no meaning to the public. In the best case, those who pay attention and understand “words have meanings”, will become even more cynical. But a large part of the population will, no doubt, believe that words are so flexible as to mean almost anything. This will lead to sloppy thinking, which can lead to sloppy choices in life.  I think we already see this outcome.

What I find so disheartening is that TWC is simply doing what virtually every other large corporation in this country does. I have also used Verizon and they are just as bad as TWC, if not worse.

Since this dishonesty is so pervasive in our culture, I am not sure what can be done except to reward those companies and individuals, who do not pander to their own vanity and greed by the use of weasel words and outright lies to the rest of us.
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8 Responses to American Marketing; Pervasive Rot Extends to All Areas

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    As it happens, we get cable etc. through Times Warner. If the Comcast merger goes through (and Comcast is a big supporter of Big Brother Barry, so it probably will), the current plan (announced today) is for Charter Communication (where a friend worked until his health problems caught up with him) to take over locally. We shall see what this means in terms of services and prices.

    Who knows, they might even be honest, which hasn’t been entirely the case for either Times Warner or AT&T (our previous cable provider).

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Mr. Kung, maybe you need to change companies. Here’s the letter that I got recently informing me of a rate increase:

    Dear Mr. Nelson,

    Thank you for choosing Fly By Night Wireless. We don’t really give a rat’s ass about you personally, but we like that you’ve always paid your bills on time and have not bothered our Indian tech support department (who can barely speak English anyway) with inane calls for help with stuff that any moron should know how to figure out. You know the type. You tell them to hit “any key” and they look all over their keyboard for the key with the label “Any” on it.

    Because Obama and his Marxist fiends are such assholes, the cost of business for us has gone up substantially over the last few years — not to mention that the typical worker in the marketplace today now expects cradle-to-grave benefits (health, dental, vacation, sex change operations) and then we’re lucky if he or she will spend an hour doing their real job instead of being paid for screwing around on Facebook.

    Yes, Mr. Nelson, it really does suck that it is ultimately honest, hard-working people such as yourself who have to pay for this stuff, but what can we do? If we threaten to fire any of these loafers they’ll sic the NAACP or some other huckster agency on us and claim discrimination.

    Therefore I reluctantly inform you that we’re going to have to raise your rates. Life sucks and then you die.

    Sincerely,

    Bart W. Smith
    Customer “Service” Representative
    Fly By Night Wireless

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      At least your fanciful provider’s letter has the advantage of being forthright.

      I am extremely concerned that the American public is becoming, if they have not already become, inured to the unending stream of dishonesty spewed by all sectors of our society. This will inevitably lead to a lowering of standards as many will rationalize honesty away by saying, “everyone else does it, why shouldn’t I?”

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Thanks for my second belly laugh of today.

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Another pervasive lie is one which school districts lead with after someone in the district has screwed up, it is”

    “The safety and well-being of students is always our priority.”

    Given the legal system in this country, it is perhaps not surprising that school districts like other entities try to cover their asses first.

  5. Anniel says:

    Dear Mr. Kung Fu Zu:
    As a lover of belly laughs in particular, may I request a selfie of yours? I don’t mean to be too personal of course and I don’t know your rates, but I’m certain they are reasonable. Your humble servant and etc.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Dear Anniel,

      Due to a change in eating habits, my belly is shrinking thus there is less to watch and enjoy. When thinking of belly laughs, I envision Santa’s paunch as described in the poem commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”. The perfect stomach for a belly laugh.

      Faithfully yours,

      Confucius (Fu to my friends)

  6. steve lancaster says:

    I think that the time is not too far off that what we call television cable will be wireless for entire communities. If that technology is perfected than we could suddenly have hundreds of companies competing for our business. If our rat bastard legislatures do not jump into the regulation game than prices could drop and customer service improve until then I stick with basic cable and pay for movie services from netfliks and amazon.

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