We want grapes without seeds, but we are also at the front of the pack in the March Against Monsanto. We want the highest interest rate and interest-only mortgages, but are also the first to bash the banks and to blame everything on them for an entire decade. We jet around the world with budget airlines, but detest the CO2 emissions. We want to buy six full bags of clothes for 20 euros at Primark, but find the 20-cent hourly wage in Bangladesh scandalous. We don’t mind ordering a cement bucket of KFC chicken wings, but we’re naturally also vehemently opposed to the battery chicken industry.
So basically, we want to have our cake and eat it too. But at the same time we laugh in the faces of companies when they’re presented the Wind-Egg Trophy or are publicly exposed and drawn and quartered by critical journalists. We want Alibaba’s highest quality for the lowest price, but we want it in an environmentally – and employee-friendly bag. We want lots for a little without feeling guilty, otherwise we’ll switch to the competition lickety-split.
Marketeers have spoiled their customers to the bone through their customer centricity. They’ve turned them into a bunch of obnoxious, cynical and arrogant ego maniacs through their neuro research, AB testing, user experiences and customer journey officers. Robert Wolcott of the Kellogg School of Management calls it The King Customer Paradox: the more empowered, the more we lose control.
But enough already of that foot-stomping toddler behaviour. It’s time to teach these irritating pubescents a lesson in responsibility. Our Very Hungry Caterpillars are from now on going to have to give up one of the slices in the Cheap-Quality-Responsibility triangular pie. Cheap responsible is fine, but it tastes disgusting. Cheap quality is also a possibility, but it’s people and animal unfriendly. Or quality responsible but then for a euro more. Fait vos jeux. So you either shut your KFC beak or you buy decent products. It might mean you get one less wing or bag, but you will get a good feeling. Rien ne va plus.