April 22nd, 2021
As we know all too well, there are many forms of injustice in our world: social, racial, environmental, and numerous others. Today, I want talk about economic injustice and how this affects you. Afterwards we will go over methods of empowerment to even the playing field.
People often feel disenfranchised and pushed aside as if their consumer rights do not matter, as if it is acceptable to receive poor service or be overcharged for products or services. Many of our consumer laws are being eroded- for example, a consumer you can no longer have a class action suit against Comcast as it has removed that right from their contracts. That means arbitration is the only means of moving ahead with a case if you have a problem that needs to be resolved. Arbitration oftentimes benefits the company and not the consumer.
A major percentage of our economy is run by the purchases we make; cell phones, internet/cable, groceries, & big-ticket items. And through our buying strength, we are indirectly paying the salaries of the people that work at the company’s you shop at. We buy many of the same products and services that a millionaire buys and we should be treated just as well. Remember: A company needs you more than you need them!
Think about this when someone is acting disrespectful; they are dependent upon you and should strive to do a good job for you. The company should be happy that you are shopping in person or on-line and act accordingly. It is survival of the fittest, only the businesses that can provide you with value, service and competitive pricing will stay in business.
We all have leverage and more power than we realize; companies would rather make a little than nothing at all. Companies also know they make more money on some people and less on other people. Remember the store has already paid for the merchandise or the car and they would rather sell something than nothing. Let other people pay more money then you.
Many times, you do not have to take “no” for answer. Recently I met with a client that was switching health providers and the phone rep said it would take at least 3 to 4 weeks to send the health record to the new provider, and I said that is excessively long, most providers can do it in a day or two. They gave them another number to call and confirmed it could be done within one to two days. If the representative seems unsure, is unreasonable, or if you want to see if you can get another answer, call back at a later time/day to see if you are receiving accurate information.
- Remember you have tremendous power as a consumer because you can select where you shop… You have more power than the store or service provider!
- You are the bee, and the stores are the flower. The bee can go to any flower it wants and the flower is happy to have the bee visit it.
- Try and do your research about the companies you are interested in online; see how other customers rate their service and pricing/value. Call several stores before visiting, go online to see if they have coupons, deals or promotions. If you find the salesperson honest and credible, take down their name and ask about their work hours so you don’t have to start the process again with a different employee.
- By being polite and firm, you can let businesses you are also “cross shopping” at several other cable, cell phone, auto, etc. stores. This informs the shop owner or salespeople that they must try and give you the best price and service even though you have not mentioned price at this point. You can mention that you wanted to give an opportunity to offer the best price as you will be visiting other stores that day.
Here are a couple of ways to start the conversation:
“I have heard many good things about your pricing and value from other people in the community, what is the best price you can offer me?” Or, “If you give me a good deal, I can refer others in my community to shop here.”
You are trying to demonstrate that if they reduce the price, they will obtain repeat business from you and others and more than make up for the discount through increased volume. It is a win-win.
As you begin to think about what you’re offering a business, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable and empowered to advocate for yourself.