I’ve recently read three news articles over a period of a few days that all had the same frustrating theme: A lack of responsibility on the part of consumers.
In one article, a young couple got amazing first jobs so they went out and bought a HUGE, expensive house… only to have their jobs end due to a change in the marketplace. The couple went to the news because “life had become very difficult” and they were having a hard time affording their house.
In another article, a woman got an Associate degree from a for-profit college and now refuses to pay her student loans back because she feels that the school lied to her: as it turns out, she needs a bachelor’s degree for her job rather than the Associate degree she received but she didn’t know that a bachelor’s degree was required until after she graduated and started looking for a job.
In a third article, a couple went to a car dealership to have their car fixed and ended up buying a new car. They paid the deposit then went home and realized that the couldn’t afford the car so they went back to the car dealership but couldn’t get their deposit back. So they went to the media to voice their concern and forced the dealership to get their deposit back. In the interview, the woman said that it wasn’t until she got home that she realized she couldn’t afford the car.
In all three cases, the newsmedia was framing these people as victims of a system built against them. But what I see is that these people rushed into a decision instead of doing do their own due diligence and figuring out first what was right for them.
Take some responsibility, people!
Yes, there companies that use unethical practices to try and sell aggressively, and perhaps that happened (although aggressive sales strategies was only mentioned in the second story)… and we have several tools at our disposal to deal with that, from ombudsmen to the Better Business Bureau to the Federal Trade Commission to social media.
But from what I read, even in these biased-perspective stories, had nothing to do with unfair treatment or even aggressive sales strategies. Each time I read that these people were actually just people who rushed into a commitment, realized later that it was an error, and were trying to play the victim to get out of it.
There may be times when “I’m the victim!” is the right response and you should go to the media. But were you REALLY the victim or did you just do something in a moment of stupidity? And, did you exhaust your other options first?