He’ll keep calling and calling and calling….

“He’ll keep calling me, he’ll keep calling me until I come over. He’ll make me feel guilty. This is uh… This is ridiculous, ok I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go. What – I’LL GO. Shit.” – Cameron Frye, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off


Seth Godin posted up a blog entry about businesses that begrudgingly do a “out of spec” service “just this once” and I think he gets things just a tiny bit askew.

Because everyone is a Ferris Bueller who believes that anything is customizable, that you can have your burger your way and not be expected to pay extra for it. Because Google has made everyone an expert in your business without knowing or caring about the real costs of what it takes to deliver goods and services to a market that increasingly expects custom service without additional cost. Because everyone is an expert at knowing what skills you have and how you should be applying them. (How are butchers and surgeons interchangeable? They both work with knives.)

Or, maybe because we are living in a world where there are increasingly fewer and fewer craftsmen and when a customer finally finds one, they find it less work to try and convince the provider to add this special service or do this one-time modification rather than find a new vendor who specializes in what they are asking.

Naw, I think customers are becoming a pack of Ferris Buellers who have never been told no, think the rules never apply to them and pride themselves on being able to convince everyone around them to do what they want, when they want, selfishly and without regard for the resentment it adds to the relationship.

As a customer, if you ask for something special and out of spec, be prepared to accept a no gracefully, pay the true costs of the “one time thing” or at least acknowledge you are getting something above and beyond and be grateful. By continuing to “call and call and call and..” you set up the business to relent and say “but just this once.”

But, it worked for Ferris and look how that movie ended. Cameron wrecked his dad’s car, but Ferris just got hugs and kisses from his parents, even though none of the devastation would have happened if Cameron had just stuck to his guns and said “no.” Ferris fans might argue that no good things would have happened either and they outweigh the bad, but Ferris never stuck around to clean up the messes his selfish indulgences created. Any parent who has been left to clean up a teenage car wreck knows what I’m talking.

Please, please, please, please.. just this once, I won’t ever ask for anything more, please, please….

Yeah, right. We don’t believe you. But, we still hope this time will be different and it will lead to more business, more respect, better rates, loyality or higher value, which is why we eventually relent.

Selfish bastard, you screwed me again, didn’t you?