Irate consumers strike back

According to retail observers, consumers are exhibiting an increasingly short fuse. Whereas a frustrated shopper may once have put items back on the shelf and left the store, these days shopping carts are regularly abandoned right in the checkout lines while customers stomp off demanding to see the manager. Writing letters to senior executives, complaining to the Better Business Bureau and suing in small claims court are tried-and-true options, but nothing quite beats the satisfaction of a public flogging.

National Post
October 11, 2003

Irate consumers strike back
They get mad and even
David Menzies

Rule One of consumer protest: the media are your best friends.

Case in point: In 1995, when this writer requested that the Toronto Blue Jays provide a refund for two $23 tickets to a game that was never played due to a players' strike, the organization went to great lengths to give me replacement tickets instead of my cash.

Exasperated, I ended up suing the club in small claims court, and prevailed: I was awarded $355.37, covering the price of the tickets, court costs, interest and penalties against the Blue Jays.

But I didn't get what I really wanted — an apology — so I decided to go on the offensive. I used my entire monetary award to purchase 100 custom-made hats and gave them away to anyone who shared my chagrin with the team.

How did I find them? Simple: They contacted me after the media avalanche I orchestrated.

Indeed, part of my game plan after winning in court was to send a one-page press release outlining my battle — along with the cap — to various media outlets.

I wasn't disappointed: My fight with the Blue Jays ended up garnering international media attention. I'm confident I parlayed that $355.37 into six figures' worth of print and broadcast exposure.

Bottom line: Revenge can be sweeter than icewine.

© Copyright 2003 National Post


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