Screw us, lose us

I made some travel reservations just now. Continental – on which I am a too-frequent flier – wouldn’t give me a seat assignment because their latest trick is to hold them out until 24 hours before and then cause a land rush among the overbooked. I called and said if you’re going to sell me a seat then sell me the damned seat. I got the scripted lecture about their rules. I said this was my rule: The economy’s in the crapper, airlines are in bad shape, if you want me to give you my money for a seat then give me the seat or I won’t buy the ticket. I got the seat.

Next, hotel: Rates for the Hilton are about the same as for the Marriott. The Hilton site won’t say whether they charge for internet access. I call. They charge. I hang up. I book the Marriott, where it is included.

Remember that the economic meltdown only makes us customers more powerful and our money more valuable. At every encounter, teach companies a lesson: Screwing your customers is no longer a viable business model. Screw us, lose us.

: LATER: While I’m at it, how could this conversation not turn to the kings of screwing customers as a business model: cable. Can anyone tell me why on earth they insist on sending a technician out (not cheap for them, by the way) just to put a cable card in a TiVo? I can install phones, mobile phones, alarm systems, routers, modems, anything without having to spend forever on hold with any company and without being required to wait home 8am to 8pm – no exaggeration! – for this to happen. What are they thinking? Oh, for the days of white spaces and wifi on steroids and waving goodbye to these twits.