This afternoon I had a couple of phone calls from a gentleman who was really wanting to make the best decision on mattress choice for his wife. The gentleman, I’ll call him John, sounded elderly and clearly understood the value of researching a product before purchasing so he called to ask me some very specific questions about details he’d found on a website he trusted.
Although I’ve been involved in bedding for over 35 years I found it difficult to challenge the rather excessive and misleading statements that John was repeating from the website. In doing so I risked firstly, questioning John’s judgement and assessment of the content and secondly, appearing to have my own agenda by casting doubton a product that we don’t sell.
My guess is that John was making his assessment on values that seem to be largely missing or ignored in the world of the Internet. Perhaps John assumed that because it was in print that ‘it must be true’. That people were accountable for statements that they publish in the guise of unbiased information.
John was impressed that, on this websiteaimed at assisting shoppers to make informed purchasing decisions on their new mattress, 2 mattress names were mentioned repeatedly in testimonials as being superior to all others. The fact that the site gave very specific instructions about choosing very specific mattress components,excluding all other options, made it easy for John to make a decision by narrowing the field and appearing to remove the need for further research.
Sadly this behaviour is now widely accepted in marketing and advertising regardless of laws and regulations. Each business manipulating the facts a little more than the last guy, until it becomes a race to the bottom of the ethics barrel.
I have no doubt that our policy of providing accurate product knowledge, approaching each enquiry as a request for genuine information and an opportunity to build long term business relationships does not always successfully compete against the ‘creative sales pitch’ and the fake discounts. However after 36 years we agree that it’s too late now to change our philosophy. Besides, we love what we do.