Monday, July 14, 2008

What’s it worth to you?

After a rough ride on the fast ferry from Quonset Point, RI to Martha’s Vineyard, an unhappy customer took the plane to Providence and a cab back to Quonset to get his car. Once there, he asked the ferry owner for his money back. The ferry owner told him to, basically, pound sand.

From there, the one-way passenger wrote a letter to the Providence Journal. So now, everyone can Google ‘Vineyard Fast Ferry from Quonset Point’ and get all the gory details in the letter which comes up fourth, before you even have to scroll down.

So what do you do? In the old days, “pound sand” was probably a safe answer. Now, the business owner may be better off very quietly refunding the handful of complaints along these lines (and they probably are very few). Refunding a dozen tickets a year is less harmful to the bottom line than having this type of letter on the web. However, once the refund number gets too high, you’d have to rethink things.

Of course, in a world where no good deed goes unpunished (and unpublished), the now happy ex-customer would probably reward your generosity by writing a letter to the paper praising you for graciously refunding their money - unleashing a deluge of similar requests.

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