What empowers a business or institution, outside of the legal system, to fine, charge a fee or otherwise penalize people for mistakes or tardiness? What are the criteria?
Does the government issue fee licenses? And if so, what’s the fee to get one? Whatever the case, I want one.
For weeks I listened to a coworker make phone calls trying to get her son’s school records transferred from New York to Florida. Apparently there was some slipup at the previous school and now the new school wants the kid to repeat some classes.
This clearly wasn’t the woman’s fault; the school did not fulfill their obligations. Why can’t she fine them for each day that the problem remains unresolved? (Yeah, yeah, I know, we’d just end up paying more in taxes for schools. But the bastards aren’t motivated to get things right!)
I want to fine my apartment complex every time they’re late on a maintenance call, or fail to even acknowledge my request until I call them a second time – which is more frequent than I care to mention. Not that it’s ever happened, but they’d charge me for being late on rent, correct?
Penalties aren’t always financial, however.
I once showed up a few minutes late to a doctor’s appointment because I was stuck in a meeting at work. When I arrived the receptionist told me my appointment had been cancelled and I would have to reschedule. So, in the future, when I am sitting in the waiting room well past my scheduled appointment time, what kind of penalty can I impose? Nada.
True, some places have a “satisfaction guaranteed” policy. Like some video stores penalize themselves if they run out of stock of a new movie. But they penalize themselves on their own terms. When you get to determine your own punishment, you usually give yourself the minimum. A true deterrent should be placed in other hands.
Nor is goodwill toward the customer like one sometimes encounters in a store (as above) a prevalent practice in the business world. It’s time to spread the power around to where both sides have responsibilities and both sides pay penalties. I'm talking in a very real and binding way.
I guess at the core I am just ticked that we're expected to forgive the mistakes of others because they are "human," yet we cannot expect them to show us the same consideration. Didn't know you weren't supposed to park there because there was no sign? Tough titties!
So, I’m calling “foul” on the one-way street of one-sided penalties. Transgressors of the world, get your asses in the box, lest I be tempted to put your “pretty little head(s)” in there!