Defect Toleration at Christmas


My Consumerist Christmas Wish

The Defect Toleration abuse (DT) is a two-part process: It begins with Corporate DT based on the calculation that most consumer complaints about defects can be dodged. It ends with Consumer DT based on an assumption that there is no defense against defects. At Christmas it accelerates. There is no defense—but there is an offense.

The more toleration by consumers, the merrier Christmas will be for corporations who bet on consumer inertia with defects in Christmas gifts: clothing sizes as unreliable as they are unpredictable, fruit that looks ripe but which will never be ripe, toys in which Tab A works better in Slot B than A, and anything labeled Cashmere—unless there is certificate with the picture of the shaven goat and its certified hoof-print.

If allowed to get away with them, Christmas will be merrier for corporate executives who tolerated defects. Their self-serving defense is that nothing can ever be perfect—presumably with the exception of payment in perfect dollars for those products. But if forcefully challenged on the basis of obvious defects, the DT crowd is likely to pay up. It’s not because they have imbibed Christmas Spirits. It is all about damage control: Dodge the many complainers and pay the few who get through the barricades.

Consumerist Takeaway: Here’s my Consumerist Christmas Wish: May all the presents you give and receive be defect free. If any are not, relax on Christmas. Enjoy the holiday week. But starting on January 2, become noisily intolerant of defects. Make the DT perpetrators pay for your time and trouble.

Starting on January 2, get some help from my next posts on the other three abuses that flare up in the post-Christmas mess: Quality Fade, Fulfillment Failure, and Customer Disservice. (Sign up above for my blog if you are not on the list. I don’t sell or rent names of recipients.)

Happy Holidays from The Consumerist Guy

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