I never thought I’d be saying this, especially here, but it’s time we all stop and take some advice from Phineas and Ferb - if you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it online.
And more importantly, we all need to remember to follow The Golden Rule:
A while back I stepped up on my soapbox to define “fraudulent” for companies, since they seem to be confused about what it means. Today, I’m stepping back up on my soapbox and I’m turning my finger from the companies to us.
Let’s imagine, if you will, that your neighborhood is having a huge neighborhood garage sale on the hottest day of the year and your youngest daughter (or son) decides to have her first lemonade stand to earn a little fun money.
Giving it her all, your daughter breaks out the real lemons, the sugar, and your Electric Lemonade Maker. She even drops orange slices in the lemonade to make it unique. Made-from-scratch lemonade is amazing, especially on a hot day, so it’s in high demand.
Many people have crowded around your daughter’s tiny table while she tries her hardest to whip out enough lemonade to keep her customers happy. But, the Electric Lemonade Maker’s motor burns out from overuse. You and she both knows if it sits and cools for a bit, it will start working again, but the crowd is not so patient.
There are a few people thanking her for trying to keep them cool on a hot day and saying her lemonade is definitely worth the wait, but they are hard to hear behind the people screaming, “This is a scam!”, “I’m VERY disappointed. Ugh. I’m NEVER coming into this neighborhood again.”, and, “I bet you planned this so we’d all be stuck here waiting in your driveway and buy your stuff! People will do anything to make a buck”.
Your daughter was trying to do something nice. Sure, she had an ulterior motive – to make a little money, but she also planned to have fun, make people happy, and help people cool off on a hot day.
The people screaming aren’t just out of line. They’ve forgotten the The Golden Rule.
This situation seems ludicrous, doesn’t it? But it happens every day. No, no one is screaming at a little girl hosting a lemonade stand. At least, I hope they aren’t, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I saw someone doing it. Not in this day and age. And that’s sad.
Every day, when I get on Facebook to visit a Facebook Page for a product or company, I expect to see more complaints than thank yous. I expect to find people throwing a fit over coupons that was $0.55 instead of a $1, a freebie was so popular it took their website down, and contests that are having technical issues.
Companies do not have to hand out any coupons to any customers.
Businesses do not have to offer their customers opportunities for free products.
And, contests are suppose to be for fun.
They do these things to interact with their customers, show their fun side, and, yes, drive up sales.
If a company’s promotion doesn’t go the way you want it to or think it should go, does that make it a hoax? A scam? An outrage?
If something isn’t going the way you want it to, you have the right to walk away! Don’t use the coupon. Don’t get take free product. Don’t enter the contest. But more importantly, don’t degrade and belittle the company trying to do something nice.
Yes, I realize that some companies ignore their customers on Facebook, especially when they aren’t hearing what they want and I think Tracie said it best when she said, “Ignoring your customers on Facebook is like hanging up on them in public.” But many companies do answer their customers and some days it’s a never ending battle on their end.
And I realize it’s frustrating when you want to enter a giveaway and the form won’t work. But when thousands or hundreds of thousands of people hit a website at once it will go down, slow down, and have loading issues…. unless, maybe, you’re Google. If you plan to participate in popular limited-time online offers, expect this to happen.
Your mission today, should you choose to accept it…
I realize it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s a day of love. And while I believe that every day should be a day of love, lets take the time to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a new way right now. Let’s make today of thanks as well.
- Stop by Facebook.
- Visit 5 Facebook Pages for companies or products you love.
- Say something nice to that company and add a little thank you.
- And while you’re at it, stop and thanks someone who lives in your household today too, because we tend to take for granted the people we see most often.
Let me know who you thanked today!
Here’s who I thanked and I even linked each one to my thank you, if you want to see what I said.
- Cafe Escapes
- Nivea for Men USA
- Kingsford Charcoal
- Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
- Coca-Cola (I’m drinking a Cherry Coke while I write this, so they were on my brain!)
And Happy Valentine’s Day!