Thursday, August 14, 2014

It’s our policy

How many times have you heard the phrase, “It’s our policy”? From personal experience, it seems the larger a company becomes, the more it tends to initiate policies in how to deal with certain situations.

Here are some examples:

“Our policy is to only give store credit for returns.”

“Our policy is that you must have two forms of ID before I can help you.”

“Our policy is that if you want to upgrade your phone, you have to pay a processing fee.”

Here’s the thing. I’ve been in rooms where policies have been decided. Sometimes, they are logical, and it seems like a good rule to follow. Sometimes, no one knows for sure how to handle a problem, so they come up with something that they hope will work. And sometimes, the “policy” is put into place strictly for the betterment of the company—not the public.

Case in point: I have a business account for my authoring revenues and expenses. I received a letter from my bank recently that they were “upgrading their policies.” (Notice how they chose the word “upgrade”? Makes it sound like an improvement, right?)

Basically, the bank used to process deposits starting with the largest amounts first. The “upgrade” is that they were now going to process the deposits in chronological order. This may not seem like a big deal, so let me clarify.

When I opened the account, one of the benefits they sold me on was that they process the largest deposits first. That way, if I have expenses leaving about the same time, I’ll be covered.

Now, by doing the deposits in chronological order, those businesses which live on the hairy edge of money coming in and out are going to start to get hit with all sorts of fees.

The kicker? The letter included a section in big bold letters which read, “How this benefits you!” What was the first of these so-called benefits? To paraphrase, “This change will help you stay focused on the timing of your transactions as to avoid fees.”

How is that a benefit? When I think of a benefit, I think of something that works in my favor.

I happened to be in that bank a few days later to make a deposit. At the teller line, I asked about this new deposit policy change. How did the teller respond?

“It’s our policy not to discuss the pros or cons of our policies.”