Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

May 1, 2008

Do You Treat Prospects like Idiots?

I was in the toilet at a large local department store the other day and there was a sign on the (empty) paper towel dispenser saying “In order to reduce our carbon footprint we longer offer paper towels in our toilets. We apologise for any inconvenience caused”. So … let me get this straight … because we’re REDUCING our carbon footprint, we’re now forced to use a hot-air dryer? A hot-air dryer that consumes high levels of electricity (it’s core component is an incandescent heating element) and blows unnaturally hot air out into the atmosphere (thus contributing to the greenhouse effect)? That’s BETTER for the environment? Or is it perhaps just a little cheaper for the store budget?

That got me thinking (yes, I know – it must have been painful – ha ha!) that we sometimes make decisions for very good reasons, then get scared of telling customers and prospects why we made the decision. So we trump up some flim-flam that makes us look like socially-responsible citizens but doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Is that okay? You’ll get different answers, but I don’t think so. I don’t like dealing with people and organisations that patently think I’m stupid – they may be right, but they’re not making me feel special, are they? I’m not saying that I’ll never go to that store again, but it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t trust them any more.

I’d far rather that they had just told me the truth – they’re budget-conscious and they felt that having a hot-air dryer in the toilet was sufficient to the needs of customers. It wouldn’t have damaged the relationship.

What do you think?

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