Friday, December 30, 2011

Greed, alas, is eternal

From time immemorial, merchants have relied on a simple axiom when pricing goods or services: Charge whatever the market will bear. Or as the uber-capitalist Ferengi of Star Trek would put it: "Why offer a fair price when you can hoodwink your mark into paying triple?" But all is fair in love and free enterprise. Well, almost all. Yesterday, the pinstriped Ferengi of Verizon Wireless unveiled plans to charge customers a $2 monthly fee for the f**king privilege of paying their bills online or by phone. The blowback by said customers was massive and instantaneous. By sunup, one online petition against the fee had garnered 95,000 signatures, per Reuters. Today, Verizon blinked and quickly scrapped its bid for robber barondom. "We take great care to listen to our customers," bleated Verizon CEO Dan Mead. Suddenly, the mea culpa went, there was no "need to institute the fee at this time." Yessir, nothing like getting your hand caught in your customer's pocket in broad daylight. Clearly, the mobile phone giant forgot Ferengi Rules of Acquisition No. 203: "Customers are like razor-toothed gree-worms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back." Heh.

(Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

No comments:

Post a Comment