Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Not A Problem

A friend of mine is having difficulties with his Google login. It appears that someone has hacked it, and taken over his accounts. One of the first things they did was change the password, so of course, he's locked out. Trying to get through to Google doesn't seem to be doing him much of any good. To a certain degree, this is unsurprising. Part of the cynicism that people have towards corporate America stems from a belief that corporations tend to be very diligent about shielding themselves from the problems that their customers might have with their products - perhaps more diligent than they are about creating quality products in the first place. Let's face it, if you go to the store and buy a loaf of bread, and it spontaneously combusts and burns down your home because some company bigwig decided that some flammable chemical was just the thing for the packaging, there's likely a disclaimer on the package that says that in purchasing that loaf of bread, you agree that nothing's ever the company's fault.

Of course, part of this is likely a pitfall of "free." People who represent a revenue stream tend to get faster service than people who a corporation looks on as freeloaders. But there is a certain amount of cynicism that is engendered by what seems to be a common idea in the modern United States. That "not MY problem" equals "not A problem." Corporations aren't the only ones who fall into this. It seems to be a general attitude across the nation. Ever notice how issues that tend to affect mainly poor and/or minority communities are minor - but when the white middle class starts feeling it, then suddenly it's a major crisis? For example - how much did we hear about offshoring when the only people affected by it were textile workers in the southeast?

So it seems the thing to do here is try to put the word out. Not that I'm expecting a sudden public outcry against Google or anything. But in making more people aware of what seems to be a pretty serious customer service lapse on Google's part, there's a better chance that they'll see this issue as being in part their problem. And while companies may ignore other people's problems, they rarely ignore their own.

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