We Don’t Trust You

Jerry’s Brain And The Heresies It Contains at The Social Customer Manifesto asks why some great thinkers of the past few centuries are getting ostracized. In the end, it boils it down to the idea that those in charge (business, government, society, etc) do not trust you.

There are myriad examples where “We Don’t Trust You” is the rule in business with how customers are often treated:

* DRM: We don’t trust our customers with music and movies
* Product Warning Labels: We don’t trust our customers not to harm themselves
* Fitting rooms: Take a card to prove the number of garments you are taking inside
* Onerous contracts: We don’t trust you to do what you said you’d do
* Misinformation or lack of information, and feeding uncertainty: We don’t trust customers to make good decisions based on good information.

To be honest, I think the product warning labels are a bit of a stretch. When you can sue for having hot coffee (not the GTA issue, the McDonald’s issue) spilled on your lap because there was no warning label saying it was hot, that doesn’t instill a lot of trust in the American customer. But why do we have to bring a numbered card in the fitting room? Why can’t I take the new Dave Matthews Band CD and listen to it on an iPod? For that matter, why can’t I take an MP3 of the Minibosses from one iPod and transfer it to another? Why do people who buy Half-Life 2 have to wait hours, assuming no errors or problems occur, before getting to play the game?

It’s because of trust. Or rather, a lack of it. Whether someone comes up with an alternative theory of the universe (“The Earth revolves around the sun”) or an alternative theory of how software should be treated (“Software should be Free”), that person becomes someone you shouldn’t trust. After all, who is he/she anyway?