(Planet Me)
Monday, November 26, 2012
Hail The Companyfuhrer!

Companies are stupid. Yes. I know this sounds like a vast and sweeping generalisation, but they are. They think they are clever, and undoubtedly some of them are, but by and large, companies miss a key act about their existence. Most of us don't need most specific companies.

Some companies we do need – the utilities, the train provider, our employers. But if Tesco suddenly vanished off the face of the earth and was replaced by someone else, or became part of Waitburys or Walrose, would we care? Why should we jump through hoops to please them? Some companies make so hard, and so difficult to spend money. Log in here. Press this NOW. You have 8:00 minutes to complete your transaction. Put in this code (hint “Unr3aDaBl3 b0Ilock5”). You will now be charged £17 for typing in your own details and printing off your ticket at home. You must be in at 1:10pm. Or spend all day in your house waiting for the delivery to arrive. We cannot deliver to your office. Our courier tried to deliver, but did not ring the bell, and threw the package over the wall into the bin on bin collection day.

Companies try to mould us to their convenience. But without us, they are nothing.

Companies do not realise that generally we do not need them. With very few exceptions, people don't generally have any brand loyalty. Sure, we all know about the Apple zealots. But does anyone claim that their Samsung TV is the only brand of TV they will ever buy. Does anyone genuinely becomes a brand ambassador for a company? We don't need them. We buy their stuff. Use their things. They provide a service (albeit, sometimes what could laughably called a service), and we pay them. It's rarely a mobile phone, or a PC : it's not what it is, unless it does nothing. If it does nothing, it is either a) a cat, b) a piece of art or c) a broken television.

It is what it does. A guitar unplayed is just steel and string. A spaceship is just a bunch of steel until the engines fire. A phone? No. It's a connection to the outside world. It's also a bunch of invoices, a smelting plant, a factory, robots, payslips, a warehouse, a distribution chain. A PC? It's the whole of The Internet. A car? No. It's the freedom to drive wherever you want until the money runs out.

Every high street looks the same. Go to Sheffield or Glasgow, all the same. Only the accents change.Every company wants to mould us to its will, to spend money in a way that works for them. Companies only exist because we spend money with them. They make products because they think they can sell them. In some industries, they might even like what they make – such a game or a song or a film – but who feels passionate about sausages or burgers or value beans? This is the world we live in. Companies forget that we are not their bitch. Companies that treat us as human beings and value us, make us feel wanted and important : these are the ones that thrive and survive and live and stay alive. The others?

Free market competition will sort them out.

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