First the carrot, then the stick

There was a news report the other day about several large organizations penalizing people for not behaving in the way that the organizations wanted them to behave. Specifically, the organizations wanted people to pay their bills using direct debit, if they didn’t use this method, they punished them with a ‘fine’ of approximately five pounds a month.

This is the thin edge of the wedge people. Actually, it’s more like the thick end, so obviously crass is the approach.

In the early days, these large organizations discovered they could make huge savings if they automated bill payments, so they used a carrot to encourage people to pay by direct debit; get ten pounds off your bill. Clearly, the ten pounds didn’t reflect the amount the company was saving (otherwise they wouldn’t have offered it) so when a large proportion of their customers took advantage of the carrot, the companies profits must have shot up.

Now there is obviously a hard core of people who want to retain control of their finances and refuse to switch their preferred payment method in exchange for a paltry, withered, carrot. These people are a thorn in the side of the companies profits. If they could get everyone to pay by direct debit their profits would shift from merely greedy, to obscene. Something had to be done about these people. So they brought out the stick – ‘make the switch or we beat you to a bloody pulp (well, we’ll give you a bloody nose at this stage).’

This sounds like extortion to me but I suppose if a legitimate company is doing it then it’s okay.

The problem is we all know what bullies do; they escalate their bullying until someone stands up to them. I think that time has come; shame on you British Telecom for one.

This is just another insidious step towards total control by the multinationals. The number of times I have attempted to telephone one of these companies only to be presented with menu system that ultimately asks me to key in my account number, a password, my blood type etc. you get the impression they don’t have staff anymore, just a server in a dark room. Of course the companies love this, they don’t have to do any work anymore, we do it all for them and we pay for the privilege as well!

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