In comparison to the problems our society faces it appears somewhat childish to be annoyed at the failure of a large multinational car hire firm (Alamo @London City Airport) to provide me with the service they had contractually agreed with me this weekend. However, something about the way the situation was handled has nudged me from ‘annoyed consumer’ to ‘amateur activist’ within a 24-hour period.
I’ve already vented my annoyance in a suitably middle-class manner. I’ve taken to twitter (much to the bemusement of my 89 followers), written the blog you are reading and have penned several factual letters to the customer services of this franchised operation.
The reaction has been quick and positive from those not directly affected, with Which? Magazine, the London City Airport media team the Evening Standard and Enterprise UK offering their ears, help and advice and within 24 hours.
The response from Alamo will be within 10 days.
Harnessing the spirit of Michael Young (founder of the Consumer Association / National Consumer Council / Which? Magazine), I’m determined to use this period to see what I can do to stimulate collective buying power and stand up to poor service.
From inefficient public services with expensive helplines and unethical employment practices, banks who fail to provide their customers with money (never mind the rest), to large energy companies who run what I consider to be a monopoly, we all continue to appear to shrug, fail to panic and of course, carry on and moan.
It’s time to act
Given the lack of a revolution here in Bethnal Green, I’m assuming that most people want a fairer society to quietly emerge from our capitalist economy. Surely we can use our personal buying power to demand more. We can all begin with 3 simple actions;
1: Join Which? Magazine and find a common voice to hold organisations to account
2: Buy social and use our pounds to grow revenue for values driven business
3: Change your provider. If you’re unhappy either leave or campaign for them to act differently. Buying shares in Barclays for example, enabled Citizens UK to successfully campaign for fair pay through their Living Wage Foundation.
I’m hoping we can find our collective voice to demand a fairer society. I’m pledging to change my bad habits. What about you?
Keep up with my pledge and hold me to account via twitter @inside_inn