Prime Ministers can be like fridges: same manufacturer, different model, writes AIMN reader Steve Laing.
We got our last new fridge in 2013. It wasn’t the one I personally wanted, but it apparently came with a long range of new features and we were given a list of items that we were assured would be the same as our last fridge. And that was important to us.
Well it wasn’t long before we started to have problems. It turned out that some of those new features that we’d been promised were not as well-developed as the brochure had implied, and the features that were going to be the same as the last model turned out to be just not the case at all. I complained to the salesman. “Don’t worry” he said. “If you don’t like it, you can change it”.
“Great” I said. “When?”
“In 2016” he replied.
“2016! Are you kidding?”
“Sorry, that’s the system”.
When I went online I found a lot of people that were having the same problem with the fridge that I was. And they weren’t happy. As time went by, it went from bad to worse. The savings that I was told I’d get weren’t materialising. And it was getting noisier and noisier. And then the leaking started. And the complaints on the Internet were getting louder and louder. Something had to give!
And suddenly, the manufacturer has decided to replace our current fridge with a new one. “Why now?” I asked. “Surely in a year I get a chance to pick a new one”.
“Well” they said, “we think if we give you this one now, you’ll be more likely to keep this one when you get to choose next year, and not the one from that other brand because you just can’t trust that brand”.
We’d had the other brand in 2010. It had a few issues, but largely it seemed to work OK. However the newspapers weren’t big fans. Apparently the way that we’d had this model given to us wasn’t the right way of doing things, and one of the features wasn’t as it had been described. (Well, it was if you read the whole feature description, but apparently we should only be judging on the sub-header). Anyway, there was a lot of noise, and apparently this fridge was so terrible that we were in mortal danger of going broke if we didn’t change it, so it wasn’t surprising that it looked like we were going to get a new model in 2013. Six months before though, that manufacturer also gave us a new model too. They used the same reason. That change didn’t work for them at all…
It’s a bit ironic. The main reason the current brand told me that their brand was better than the other brand was because it wouldn’t just change its model unannounced. Apparently if there is one thing consumers hate it’s when manufacturers decide which fridge consumers get. But now they’ve now gone and done that exact same thing, and apparently its now OK. But really, four fridges in four years? And whilst I know that there are plenty of models out there, I can only get the one that the manufacturer decides I’m allowed.
Is it any wonder that people don’t trust fridges. However, the thing that people seem to miss, is that the problem isn’t the fridges. It’s the manufacturers …
About the author: Steve Laing, is politically unaffiliated, but politically astute. A believer in social justice, but also properly regulated free-markets, he believes that the current political system is moribund and broken, and that if it doesn’t get repaired soon, the world will return to a modern feudalism run by capitalist barons (before destroying itself by not addressing climate change…). He believes that features of the current Australian system actually make it well placed to evolve to fix the problem IF people were given an alternative to the current party driven approach, and that using more of the best practice techniques used in business to be innovative and flexible in resolving problems, would result in a more dynamic and prosperous environment for Australians, and through example, thence the rest of the world. He is documenting his thoughts on www.makeourvoiceheard.com where he has so far outlined the problems, and is about to start proposing solutions.