People just don’t like to be told they made a purchasing mistake

July 11th, 2005

The recent posts about Dell that Ed Bott has been making have been quite interesting. Interesting not so much because of what they say (they say nothing new to me, although to many others they may come as a surprise) but what really interests me are some of the comments that his posts are attracting. I means specifically the "stop bashing Dell" comments.

Now, assuming that these comments aren't part of Dell's new customer services initiative and that they are not the work of one troll, I would hazard a guess that they come from Dell owners themselves who haven't had any major troubles with their purchase yet but fear the day it comes.

Why do I say that? Because I've seen it many times before. In classes that I teach, websites that I write for and books that I've had published (not to mention talking face to face with people) I've learned over the years that one of the things that upsets some people is when their purchasing decisions are criticised (usually inadvertently). It's a taboo area that people like Ed and myself have to be careful about and sometimes tiptoe around. We're not making comments based on out experiences but instead making a comment based on the experiences of many people. OK, I have to admit that because of what we do we tend to see more broken or malfunctioning devices that most people (it can be quite depressing at times). We pass on advice and suggestions to people (usually for free) and try to help the best that we can. It's not a vendetta against a company, product or service, it's reporting on the general state of affairs. People are absolutely free to buy or subscribe to whatever they want - what I won't do is give advice to people that makes then unfold their wallets and part with hard earned cash if there's a higher than average chance that they will run into problems down the line. Period. People's individual experiences might vary greatly and I accept that. I might say that XYZ is great and yet you might get three replacements for it and still have no joy. Equally, I might say that ABC is rubbish but you have years of trouble-free enjoyment and use from it.

But back to my initial point - some people get very emotional over being told that they made a bad purchasing choice. It's like it's an insult of their judgement or something and they react strongly to it. It come from a combination of not wanting to appear foolish, hence the "Oh, I didn't make a bad choice" and fear of things going wrong in the future and being left high and dry, resulting in "well, my XYZ is still going fine, I don't see what the problem is".

Just remember folks, don't shoot the messenger!

This entry was posted on Monday, July 11th, 2005 at 09:09 and is filed under PC Doctor's Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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