05 October 2009

Fight like a man

In days gone by, men had a simple solution to resolve their differences: violence. These days, all you need is a camera, YouTube and - ehr - the ability to carry a tune.

In days gone by, men had a simple, one-size-fits-all solution to resolve their differences: violence. If you stole my favourite mammoth skin cave slippers, I’d whack you on the head with my club. If you offended my sense of honour, I’d challenge you to a duel to the death - you, me, a sabre each, on the field behind the cemetery at 5 o’clock. If I caught you cheating at poker, I’d extract immediate retribution via my six-shooter, right there and then in the smoky saloon.

Alas, those times are over. These days, guys have more civilised methods of conflict resolution, the most common of which is to simply ignore the problem. Take poor service delivery from companies, for example. Yes, we might whinge to our mates about having been schnaaid, but for the most part we simply stand in line and accept what’s dished out to us, the good and the bad along with the downright unacceptable.

With the aid of modern technology, however, there’s now a way to fight back without having to resort to brute force; a way to get your own back even against corporate giants who spend more public relations dollars on ignoring valid grievances from little nobodies like you and me than most countries spend on public health care. All you need is a camera, YouTube and - ehr - the ability to carry a tune.

The approach was recently perfected by one Dave Carroll, a Canadian musician. After his beloved guitar was manhandled and broken by United Airlines staff during a trip to the USA, he spent nine unsuccessful months trying to get compensation. Carroll was sent from pillar to post, making phone calls to Omaha, Halifax, Chicago, New York and India, without finding anyone in the company willing to compensate him for his losses.

So he made a video telling his story to the world:

“So what?!” you say. Well, since it was first posted on YouTube in July, the video has been watched over 5.6 million times and Carroll has become an overnight media celebrity. Very belated efforts by United Airlines to make amends notwithstanding, the company’s public image as well as its share price have taken a major knock. And all over a situation that could have been averted in good time by just the teensiest morsel of common sense.

Carroll has recently published a second musical installment and a third is coming soon:

So the next time you get a raw deal at the hands of a so-called “service provider”, why not air your gripes in public? Chances are you’ll have their attention faster than you can say “public relations debacle”.

(Andreas Späth, Health24, October 2009)



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