Posted by: David Kiley on March 17, 2005
About my blant (blog entry that becomes a rant) on being charged (had I gone through with it) $200 to change a Continental Airlines flight reservation two months before the flight:
From one reader: “…when you bought the ticket on Continental or if you buy on an other carrier either via web or phone you were advised of the penalties for change…Most domestic tickets have a minimum $100 penalty for change and have had that for a number of years and international tickets vary by the rules of the particular fare. All the airlines are very competitive and to single out just one because you didn’t…read what you were agreeing to when you purchase the ticket is not the airline’s fault.”
My response: Certainly, I bear some responsibility for changing my mind. The larger point here is that the airlines move in lockstep to deny good customer service and handling, and to ultimately create bad feelings toward themselves as an entire industry. By singling out one, I am citing all of them, because with a very few exceptions, airlines have become a commodity business sold purely on price, especially when it comes to the leisure traveler.
About my criticism of President Bush’s choice of Karen Hughes to a State Dept. post where she is in charge of marketing the U.S. abroad, especially to the Muslim world: many of the responses were obscene (no surprise) from right wing zealots. A few criticized me for being an openly liberal Democrat. (For the record, I have voted for candidates in both parties, including on the Republican side—George H.W. Bush, N.J. Governor Tom Keane and the late Congresswoman Milicent Fenwick. But my voting record is not the point). I was also criticized for writing about politics in a marketing blog. But in case those critics hadn’t noticed, there is a helluva lot of marketing baked into politics, and on many a day, it’s more interesting to write about than the latest ads for Crest. Just yesterday, President Bush defended the use of fake news reports distributed as video-news-releases to TV stations as a marketing device for his Administration’s programs. In any case, it’s my blog. Get your own if you don’t like it.
The cleanest response I could find to recent political marketing entries was this: “Hello! Mr. Kiley must be in hibernation. Doesn’t he know that Bush’s push for Democracy in the Middle-east is the biggest foreign policy accomplisment since the demise of Communism. And it was accomplished by Bush and his think-alikes such as Karen Hughes?”
My response: “Have you ever taken a cake out of the oven and try to cut it before it’s done?”
And one from the dull crayon brigaide: “Do you understand the difference between a “lie” and a “mistake”? If Bush believed his WMD statements at the time he uttered them, then they ARE NOT LIES? Got it you fat * Kiley says our attitude is that it is “our oil” under the Middle East, yet why did I just pay $2.30 a gallon if we see it as “our oil” huh *?? Stick to subjects you know about like DONUTS you fat *! Geez…..”
I enter this response because one of the reasons I sometimes blog about the intersection of marketing, media and politics is that the quality of debate in the U.S. often sinks to the level of second graders at recess (i.e. Hardball, Insanity and Colmes, Scarborough Country, Michael Reagan, Air America). And I learned a long time ago that when someone has absolutely run out of rational things to say about their argument, they resort to calling someone “fat,” “ugly,” “n**ger,” “queer” or worse. Show me a person who can’t discuss an issue or problem without calling his opponent names, and I’ll show you a…..current or future member of Congress.