Monday, February 15, 2010

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Really Stupid.

Re Kevin Smith: Dear SWAir: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You morons....

Not that I enjoy anybody being treated like crap, but I loooooove when shit like this happens. LOVE IT. Why? Because people are treated badly every day, and, most of them don't have a voice. When someone WITH a voice gets treated like shit, the whole thing becomes exposed for what it is. if a corporation has that right. And you don't have to be overweight for this kind of thing to happen to you...anyone who has ever been lectured on their financial situation by "customer service" at Wells Fargo knows exactly what that feels like.

Me! Pick me!

I've worked in public relations of some variety for my entire adult life, for big companies and small companies, and have discovered that there is one thing that all companies should know:

Whether you like it or not, public relations IS the job of every single person in your company who EVER has ANY contact with ANY customer.

Further, you are foolish not to make it the business of every person in your company. Do you know what happens when public relations becomes the business of every person in your company? Shitty customer service goes away. Embarrassing, ridiculous policies go away. If even the lowest employee is give stock and responsibility for the image of the company, they take care, they speak their minds to their bosses about things that just aren't right, and most importantly, the are not only allowed but also encouraged to do so.

Most employees at big companies detach themselves from the greater corporate picture, and are not discouraged from doing this. Listen up! The LAST person you want working for you is someone who doesn't question your policies. If they don't question, that means that they don't care. With only "yes" men, there are no checks and balances, and eventually, the whole thing topples over.

Public relations isn't just smoothing over the uproar when your bosses are thrust into the spotlight for doing something stupid to the wrong person, or worse, smiling and pretending everything is just fine when there is evidence to the contrary. Most of what your job should be, is PREVENTING this kind of thing from happening by having the balls to say something THE FIRST TIME you see it, and not waiting until it affects some celebrity with a large following on Twitter. Guess what? By the time that happens, YOU ARE SCREWED. I mean, there is literally NO WAY that SWAir can talk themselves out of looking like complete assholes right now. None. Oh, they can drop hints or plant stories that Kevin Smith may have been drinking, state that he "usually" buys two seats (uh...isn't that private information? Hello???) and imply that he "needs" two seats all they want. The good old "blame the victim" tactic. It's bullshit--never works. Never.

Bottom Line: Without a carved in stone height/weight/width policy ("you must be this tall/this fat to ride this ride....") they've got nothing but a vague, arbitrary policy, open to interpretation by employees not trained with the larger corporate picture in mind. It was going to bite them in the ass, eventually. Maybe they had nothing on the books because they were afraid of being labeled as a company that discriminates...wouldn't that be delightfully ironic?

I'm not an anti-corporate person. I work for a huge corporation. But here's the thing: like all of the other employees at my company, I am a human being. There are no automatons here--nobody controls how I FEEL about how we do things. There are no mind-control drugs floating through the ventilation systems of this or any other large corporation. No corporation in the world is so powerful that they can wave a magic wand and take away my feelings about the company or its policies, whether I'm an employee or a customer. This is true of every human being. REAL public relations, REAL customer service, acknowledges that, every minute of every day. What separates the men from the boys in Corporate America is a willingness to do right--right by their employees, who are the ones who have to explain, defend, and implement all of these policies, and right by their customers, the ones whose good will (read: dollars and willingness to spend them with us) allows us to continue doing what we do.

Duh, Southwest....but thanks for the entertaining example, of how not to do it.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. SPAM....

    Oh spammers....please don'e make me turn on comment moderation! It's such a pain in the ass....!

  3. Here is a Huff-Po piece about this--it's good.


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