Friday, January 8, 2010

Speaking With Your Feet

No, I'm not advocating trying to teach your toes to talk - or even trying to teach yourself how to write/paint/sculpt with your feet. Rather, the title of this post is more along the lines of the old adage of "voting with your pocketbook," a course of action to which I subscribe.

Simply put, spend your money where they treat you well. Customer service is still alive and well in the United States and businesses that know the importance of treating the customer with respect deserve to be patronized. By the same token, the ones that don't deserve to go belly-up.

Don't tell me that you have to trade with a particular business because it's "the only game in town." Usually, it isn't, although you may have to look around a little. (OK, your utility company might be another story.) All too often, we put up with poor treatment because we think we don't make a difference. Pish and tosh, I say. Call the company when they treat you well - I guarantee you'll get a positive response. (In part out of shock. Hardly anyone compliments a company or business, so expect a little suspicion and outright skepticism at first.) And yes, politely yet firmly voice your disappointment when they neglect to treat you properly. (The "polite" part is important - insulting someone's family lineage is no way to win an argument and your opponent will rightly think that you're a blockhead.)

Folks are fed up just now. I live near (but not too near) Charlotte, NC which was a major banking center until the meltdown hit. Suddenly, mega-banks (you know, the ones that were deemed "too large to fail.") were taking bailout money, yet not making loans to get that money in circulation. Frustration turned to indignation when the higher-ups continued to take bonuses for driving companies to the brink of disaster and for continuing mass layoffs.

So think about this. Speak with your feet - bank elsewhere. It's past time to look at the small, solvent community banks. The ones that didn't make the high-risk, subprime loans and therefore, didn't need bailing out in the first place. You know, the ones that were responsible with depositors' money. The ones that are run by folks in your community, not in glass skyscrapers several states away. Think George Bailey rather than Mr. Potter.

Watch this and see what you think.

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