Monday, September 17, 2012

Corporate Impositions

I recently joined some friends to watch a couple of NFL* games. Last year the second batch of Sunday games started a little after the hour, but this year I discovered that the games would be starting a half hour later after that. Uh … okay. Four hours later I was done. Done with watching football live. Forget it. Too many breaks, commercials, stupid delays, annoyances and impositions on my time and patience.

Apple just rolled out the iPhone 5. It’s most dramatic feature: a new plug hole*. Fine. The smart play would be to give consumers the adapter for free—acknowledge that it’s an inconvenience. But, of course, Apple is charging, yes charging, it’s customers $29 for the pleasure. It’s like Apple is the hot, young Hollywood starlet high on cocaine*** who thinks she can run over a person**** in a crosswalk without consequences. Something to consider the next time you upgrade.

Along the same lines: Want access to your favorite websites or phone apps? Better agree to the whole user agreement. Not that you have the choice of striking out any parts (how is this a contract?). Take Facebook, for example. When it rolled out its Timeline feature, it served it up as a choice: “Hey, bro, check out this new Timeline feature. All of your friends are using it, but you don’t have to if you don’t wanna.*****” So I didn’t. And then, recently, I got Timelined******. My point: Roll it out or don’t, but don’t pretend I have a choice (other than closing my account). 

What’s my solution? It’s easy; just stop. Stop watching football until they stop with the stupid commercial timeout after the kickoff. Stop buying the latest Apple product as soon as it comes out. Stop clicking the “like” button and giving Facebook tons of valuable data for free.

It may not be a perfect solution, but it’s a start.

*NFL = Not For Long
**Or iPlugHole, if you prefer
***Cocaine = Stock Price
****Person = American consumer and/or Asian assembly line worker
*****Not an exact quote
*****Like getting clothes-lined, but online