Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Should

Staying on the theme of authenticity and integrity, here’s more of my thoughts…

The other day, my mind got to wandering like it tends to do, and I got to thinking about a prior job of mine. Now mind you, I haven’t thought about this job in years. It was an okay job, as far as jobs went. The pay was decent, the co-workers were okay as well, and the general working conditions were fine. But there was one thing that was a thorn in my side about this particular job:

The company found a way to screw its employee’s out of over-time. Something to do with DOT regulations or whatnot. I’m not exactly sure what they found, or where exactly they found it, but find it they did. Or so they claimed. So because of these DOT regulations, we as a company, fell under some umbrella of sorts and so the company didn’t have to pay us over-time. I was thinking about this old job when I wrote the tweet.

Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

What is the first rule of business? To make money.

What is the second rule of business? See rule #1.

I understand that being in business is about making money, I really do. I understand it completely. If your goal isn’t to make money, you have no business being in business.

That being said, there are ways to go about doing business. Sure you can fuck your employees over. You can do the same to your customers too. Or you can do things where you make money, provide a valuable service or product, your employees are happy, and so are your customers. Or you can just fuck everyone over. Yes, I know, I repeated myself.

I repeated myself because it seems that that is the way of business these days. Tell the employees and the customers what they want to hear, and then fuck them over.

I want you all to understand this:

Any business you are dealing with, wants your money. Or they want you to make them money. Refer to the Rule Number One of business. Nothing wrong with that. You can shear a sheep many times, but you can only skin it once though. Seems that a lot of businesses have forgotten that one.

Awhile back, I remember going with a friend to a comedy club. We were going to see Pauly Shore. I bought the tickets online, that way we wouldn’t have to wait in line to buy tickets, and it was also a way to insure that we had tickets in the event that the show sold out.

We get to the venue, and since the club served alcohol, they required ID to get in. Everybody had to show theirs, including me. Then a problem arose. My friend had accidentally let their ID expire. It had expired by two days. Because of this the club would not let us in to see the show. I thought for sure that I was out a hundred bucks because of this. (The tickets were 50 bucks apiece.) Since it wasn’t the fault of the club, I figured that they would tell me “too bad, so sad.” But they didn’t. They actually offered a refund. And a few days later, lo and behold, the hundred bucks was back in my account. Do you think I’ll be going back to this comedy club in the future? You can bet your sweet ass I’ll be going back.

Now let’s fast-forward to another bar that I went to recently.

It’s an outfit that’s not too far from where I live, and I’ve been there multiple times over the years. I walk in on a Friday night and the place isn’t packed, but it’s not dead either. Basically it’s about average for a Friday night. As I’m walking up to the bouncer to have him check my ID, I overhear some sort of drama going on at the ticket booth that this place has. There’s a girl standing there, in tears, talking to the gal in the booth. Apparently the girl was trying to get a refund on her ticket. Apparently the band that she paid to see had cancelled and wasn’t coming. Apparently that band was supposed to show up that same night that I was there. Who knew?

Anyways, I don’t know all the particulars about why the band wasn’t showing up, hell to be honest, I had no idea that they were even coming and that they were supposed to be there that night. But they weren’t coming for whatever reason. This young girl, probably 22 to 26 if I had to guess, wanted a refund. Sounds reasonable to me. I would want one too. The gal inside the booth looked at the girl’s ticket, pointed at it and said, “All sales are final. We reserve the right to change or cancel shows, with or without notice.” It was right there on the ticket.

The girl was devastated. I felt really bad for her. I totally got her disappointment. If I had paid for a ticket and the band didn’t show up, I’d be disappointed too. The bar was legally in their rights to not offer a refund. After all, it said right on the ticket, “All Sales Are Final. No Exchanges. No Refunds. We Reserve The Right To Change Or Cancel Shows, With Or Without Notice.” Just because they could, doesn’t necessarily mean they should though. I would think that the bar would value her business, especially her repeat business instead of keeping the money from that ticket sale. But hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they don’t care about her business in the future. Maybe their motto is, “We got her money, fuck her.” Seems that way to me.

As the girl was about to leave the bar, I pulled her aside real quick and said, “Hey, I overheard what happened there. That doesn’t sit right with me. May I see your ticket real quick?” She showed it to me and that’s how I know about their legalese and their no refund policy. I asked her, “How did you pay for this ticket?” She said, “I bought it online from their website.” I then asked her, “Did you pay with a credit card, debit card, paypal?” She told me that she paid with a credit card.

I then told her, “You should contact your credit card company. Tell them you would like to dispute the charge. Now that’s not a guarantee that you will get your money back for sure, but you just might.”

I used to work in the credit card industry, and as far as I know, the dispute process hasn’t changed much.

Here’s basically how it works:

You buy something on your credit card. You decide you don’t want whatever it was, or it was defective, or you never received it, etc.

The credit card company would usually like you to try and work it out with the merchant at first, if possible. If not then you dispute the charge.

You call them up (you might be able to fill out a dispute form online these days) and explain what the charge is, the day that it was made, ideally the day it posted to your account, and why you want to dispute it.

If you meet their minimal criteria, the credit card company will put the charge in dispute and issue what is called a provisional credit. You also won’t have to pay for that charge that is part of your balance while it is in dispute. It won’t accrue any interest while it is in dispute either, nor will it be penalized as late.

The credit card company then will contact the merchant to get their side of the story. This is all done in some form of writing and/or documentation.

After the credit card company has heard both sides, they will either make the provisional credit permanent and you got your money back, end of story, or they will take the provisional credit away and tell you why they think you need to pay the charge. This too will be done in some form of writing/documentation.

Most of the time, the credit card company will side with their customer, not the merchant. Most of the time. They want to keep you happy, they want to keep doing business with you. They want to keep making money off of you. Honestly, the odds are in your favor. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s worth a shot.

Over the years, I’ve had to dispute a handful of things, and the credit card company sided with me on almost all of them. So for me, it was worth the time and energy to enter those items into dispute.

By the way, you usually have a window of when you can put something in dispute. It can vary from 60 days after the charge posted, up to 2 years or more. That timeline depends on which credit card company you are going through. You’ll need to check with them as to the deadline for disputes.

If the credit card company decides to favor the merchant, you’re not totally shit out of luck. In some cases, you may be able to recover your losses through legal action via civil courts and attorneys. It may not be worth the time, money, and effort to go this route, but you usually have this option as well, but that one is up to you to pursue.

One thing I’ve done either way, win a dispute or lose it, is I won’t do business with that particular merchant again. If they weren’t willing to work something out with me and I had to go an alternate route, then fuck them. You can shear a sheep many times, but you can only skin them once. To me, they don’t care about me, even as a customer, they just want my money. Vote with your wallet and shop/go/attend somewhere/something else.

Oh, and if you were wondering about that bar that I went to the night the girl got refused a refund? Yeah I left. I didn’t stick around and buy a bunch of drinks. I haven’t gone back there and won’t be going back there either. Because fuck them.

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