Just To Help Us Out

At the risk of sounding like a tired-out observational comedy post, have you ever noticed / isn’t it annoying (delete as applicable) that whenever an organisation attempts to further their own interests at the expense of yours, they make it sound like you ought to be grateful.

We’ve already hinted at this practice with Lothian Buses. Just to remind you, they span their 25% price hikes as a favour to customers tired of having to root around for the right change.

The other day, I was tootling along on my computer (blogging probably) when a message from Microsoft popped up, advising me to get a free software upgrade. One of the things it wanted me to install was something called Microsoft Genuine Advantage, which would allow me to obtain the full functionality and security of legitimately licensed and distributed software. In practice, I would judge that the sole purpose of the software is to sound an alarm in Bill Gates’s office should a pirated copy of Windows be detected.

I’m all for buying legitimate software incidently, but why try to promote something like Genuine Advantage as anything other than what it is: a clampdown on copied software. We’re not daft.

Then again, maybe we are. Maybe that’s why our banks keep sending us booklets about the ‘important changes’ to our accounts, in which the details of increased penalty charges are inobtrusively buried. Of course, all this is to ensure that ‘customers continue to receive a first class service’. Not in order that shareholders can receive a hearty pat on the wallet, then.

I could go on. In fact, I think I will.

I was in the Post Office the other day, whereupon I read that a new queuing system had been instituted ‘to enable staff to deliver an efficient and high-quality service’. I’ve no quibble with this, particularly. However, when I got to the counter, I fell victim to the new Royal Mail pricing scheme. You know the one – it takes into account the weight and size of your parcel, combining these with some mysterious hocus-pocus in order to come out with a rather inflated fee for postage. But make no mistake: this is not about Royal Mail trying to increase revenue by the back door. It’s in order to make things fairer for us, the customers. That it always tends to cost me more is just a co-oincidence, seemingly.

Let me conclude with an interesting flipside. When companies really do have our best interests at heart, they try to cover it up. Have you ever noticed that, when your plane takes off or lands at night, the cabin crew dim the lights ‘as is standard practice’. Ever wondered why they do this? Apparently, if your plane were to crash and you needed to get out sharpish, your eyes would find it easier to adjust to the darkness outside if you were not coming from a brightly lit environment.

Why on earth wouldn’t airline staff tell us the truth about light-dimming? I think it’s a very sensible precaution, now that I’ve had it explained to me. In fact, I think that it demonstrates a far greater concern for passengers than most of what the airline staff tell us is for our benefit.

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5 Comments on “Just To Help Us Out”

  1. Neebs Says:

    Additionally, and probably common knowledge, the reason we adopt the “brace brace” position is to protect our teeth so they can identify our cadavers by dental records… lovely really isn’t it…?

  2. Quinnboy Says:

    Ah, I knew about the teeth, but not the light-dimming. ALWAYS wanted to know why that was Doug, thanks for clearing that up.

  3. Doug Says:

    Smart thinking re. the teeth. I always wondered why people are urged to ‘brace brace’. After all, it’s hardly going to increase your chances of survival in the event of an emphatic crash into the ground.

    Of course, there’s also the notion of providing oxygen from above, not in order to assist breathing in the event of depressurisation, but to make passengers docile and accepting of imminent death. Or perhaps I shouldn’t believe everything I’m told in films…

  4. Neil Says:

    Ah Fight Club… where would we be without you? Did you also know that Air Stewards are made out of old, disused rubber and that in-flight meals are made from old, disused Air Stewards (ever seen an air steward over the age of 30?). Another flight-fact, or “flact” as they are called is that planes don’t actually move… the earth moves around them.

  5. Doug Says:

    That’s a point – where do air stewardesses go when when they hit middle age? Perhaps they get paid so much that they can afford to retire when they’re 35, like footballers.


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