It goes like this: “You give me money and I’ll give you ABC.”
Rarely, however, does ABC live up to the hype. Rarely is it even a dim shadow of what you were led to believe. This is the essence of the art of selling: Always Be Cheating.
Even better is when they say: “Give us money and we’ll give you something we can’t be bothered to define.” That’s when they cackle with glee. You don’t even get the false promises and lies.
Take iTunes for example.
Who is lying to you? Basically anyone flappin’ their gums. But who’s really lying? I think the probability goes off the charts when it’s someone in retail and/or someone trying to sell you something.
For example, one group conducted a study and found that one-third of seafood sold in the United States is “mislabeled.” I think that’s the nice way of saying, “fucking liars.”
The study found that 50% of tuna sold in Washington D.C. restaurants was something described as “cheaper” and that 87% of the time seafood described as “snapper” was actually something else.
Talk about having a whale of a good time!
In other news, the “biggest US honey supplier admits to laundering, mislabeling Chinese honey.” Yeah, Chinese honey is banned from U.S. markets. That doesn’t mean it’s not for sale down the street, though. Why use the real thing when you can acquire “cheap honey” from China? Because, profits.
Earlier this year Apple agreed to pay $450 million to settle claims it colluded with five major publishers to inflate book prices. As part of the deal, Apple, of course, admitted to no wrongdoing.
Also this year Whole Foods Market, as part of a settlement, was ordered to pay $800,000 for overcharging customers. For its part, Whole Foods claimed their prices were accurate “98% of the time.”
AT&T agreed to pay $105 million as part of a settlement for “adding fees that customers didn’t authorize” to phone bills.
When you stop to consider that these are most likely outlier cases, in terms of actual consequences, it is easy to imagine the vast majority of fraud goes completely unpunished. And you can take that to the bank.
Banks? Never mind. Don’t get me started.
Drop on the deck and flop like a fish! You can trust me, your humble guru. I’m not selling anything.
A. Fraud. The NHTSA calls this a “serious crime and consumer fraud issue.” Additionally, between 2002 and 2005 the NHTSA Office of Odometer Fraud says there was a “definite escalation in [odometer] fraud.”
Q. What do you call it when a woman falsely claims to have a tubal ligation?
A. Tom B. Taker, Jr. Or, as I like to call it, a 21-year donation to The Human Fund.
Today’s axiom is a simple one.
Tom’s Law #42
There’s no such thing as a free market.
You think I’ve gone too far this time? You say, “Open your eyes, Tom. Look around. You’ll see free markets everywhere you look.”
Bollocks! (If only those had been tied instead.)
Continue reading →
So you want to be in the mail order business. Whether traditional “brick and mortar” or hanging out your shingle online, you have decided to ask the same question: How easy is it to rip me off?
Mail order is a retail system where fulfillment takes place at a remote location outside of your field of view and control. Think of it as the fog of war. By definition you are operating with less than full information. By design. Remember, this was your choice.
You might as well go in a dark alley and roll some dice. You might get better odds.
Here’s a typical scenario:
- Customer/criminal visits your website and loads up on plastic crap made in China. (Let’s be honest, that’s all you sell.)
- Payment is made with a credit card.
- You rub your hands together in glee, shout “Squee!” and box and ship the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend receives the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend then claims crap was never received and “disputes” the charges with the credit card company.
- The credit card company (aka The Vig) is, in this situation, the sole arbiter of truth, justice and the American way. You agreed to this policy.
- You submit all of your detailed records regarding the transaction including: customer order, shipping receipt, emails, phone records, retina scans, DNA samples and a electronic facsimile of thumbprint.
- The credit card company says, “Well, there just ain’t no way to know!” and decides in the
customer’scriminal’s favor. There’s a giant sucking sound as the money is extracted from your account.
Let’s review. What just happened? The customer isn’t out one single penny and the customer has your stuff. Bazinga! And there’s no magical fairy in the universe that’ll ever do one thing about it. Welcome to your new reality.
Those of you who watch Orange Is The New Black may recognize this tactic as employed by the criminal mastermind Lorna Morello during her pre-prison flashbacks. People really get caught for this? No. Remember, OITNB is fiction.
The bottom line is that shipping product mail order to a customer is a supreme act of faith. You’re basically hoping it’ll all work out. And when it doesn’t, there’s isn’t too much you can do about it.
The point is that when this happens the boss is furious and that, of course, is hilarious.