Thursday, 8 March 2012

Why do people put up with it?

I belong to quite a few special interest societies that are based in the USA. The USA where, people would have me believe, standards of customer service are much higher than in the UK. Perhaps I’ve just been unlucky, perhaps the strongly male orientated groups I have joined are not typical of the US as a whole. Perhaps all manner of things – the fact is that over the last couple of years I seem to have more than my fair share of negative experiences.

For me it is seldom the initial problem that really annoys me. It is the over-casual approach of some groups to resolving complaints from subscription paying members that can sour the business relationship between us. Ignoring all complaints seems to be standard practice for some groups and I usually have to repeat the same points several times before any answer is received.

Some of these groups seem to be absolutely and genuinely outraged at what they regard as an unfair criticism and yet they seem totally oblivious to the fairness or otherwise of their response. I can still recall receiving a four page tirade in response to a four line comment I made within a discussion group!

Membership perks that mysteriously are declared to be “unavailable to overseas members” despite being advertised within the promotional material sent out to prospective members is another widespread problem. I remember one occasion where ten perks in theory became three perks in practice - despite overseas members paying a 40% subscription premium. I think this is called “bait and replace”.

Coming back to original question I asked. Why do people put up with it? I think the answer lies in the word special, as in special interest society. When there are no alternative groups around there is nowhere else for an unhappy member to go and I suspect the worst offenders are well aware of this fact.


  1. I guess I'm not sure what groups you mean. Are they writing groups? Political in nature? I tend to steer clear of snarky groups--both online and in person--for such interactions give me a headache. I don't need to be part of a sorority, either, but friendliness and fairness are pretty important, I would think.

    BTW, you might want to fix the title so that it says what you mean. Just add the "up."

  2. The special interest groups include amateur astronomy, industrial archaeology, philatelic exhibiting and postal history. The amateur astronomy group is by far the worse!