Grant McGee: Reputation has no price tag

I got a phone call from “The Better Biz Center” the other day.

That’s not the real name of this organization, I’ve changed it to avoid hassles from the real one.

You know these folks, they’re the people who keep a list of naughty or nice businesses. Sort of like Santa Claus, or so I thought.

Anyway, the nice lady was calling from out of town, telling me, “Our organization has received inquires about your bicycle shop. We don’t have you listed. If you were listed with us we could let people know how good you are.”

I listened to the woman go on and on and whoa, wait a minute, I thought…

“How much does this cost?” I asked the perky one.

“Oh, its just $25 a month but if you pay up front for a year its just $300,” she said.

“Oh sister!” I laughed out loud. “You got me hook, line and sinker. I didn’t see that one coming at ALL. You’re a telemarketer!”

“Well, if you don’t list your shop with us your rating with our organization won’t be as high as if you did.”

I ended the call and pondered that last line. I chuckled to myself as I thought about organized crime bosses looking for businesses to pony-up protection money.

What’s the difference between an organization promising you a higher rating if you send them monthly payments versus someone sounding like Marlon Brando in “The Godfather” saying, “You knows, if youse was to pay us for protection youse guys windows might not get broke accidentally on purpose.” Hmm?

When did organizations and businesses start taking a cue from organized crime?

It used to be a business’ reputation was earned through selling a good product, providing good service and decent customer relations.

It wasn’t about paying up front for respect.

I’m sticking with the way things used to be.