I want convenience and accountability for Christmas


I don’t want to play the “peace on Earth, goodwill towards men” card but I would like the following five things, which I think would benefit other people besides just me.

1. Mandatory Online Cancellation Policies

If a company lets you sign up for service and manage your account online without talking to anybody, it should be mandatory that they let you cancel the service online too. I’m looking at you, Real Player, Sirius Satellite Radio, Comcast, almost every bank, most credit cards, Vonage, and thousands of other digital charlatans. No more using the “for your security, you must call us on the phone to cancel your account” excuse. Bullshit. If signing up online, putting our account information online, and letting us pay our bill online is safe then let us cancel online too. I’m sick of talking to retention people.

2. Free, Ubiquitous Internet Access

Make it something that our taxes pay for. We pay for libraries, why not throw a little wireless into the mix? Sure it’d probably be wonky if the government was in charge of it, but let people who need a more reliable connection pay a private company for an in-home, hardwired connection.

3. Management Salaries Based on Customer Satisfaction

This will never fly, but it’s nice to dream. Paychecks for the heads of companies should directly correlate with how happy their customers are. There are too many companies out there that provide inferior products and services, yet continue to make money hand over fist every year. Certain airlines, Big Oil, and telecommunications and cable companies, to name a few.

4. More Flex Scheduling, Telecommuting, and Results-Oriented Work

It’d be nice to not have to go sit in an office all day if you don’t have any work to do. Or if you get done with your work at 11 in the morning, you should be able to go home and work online for the rest of the day. This won’t work for every industry, of course, but there are plenty of people out there who have to drive to and from work every day just to sit around in an office e-mailing and instant messaging each other. Do it from home and use webcams if you need to have the “face to face interaction” that’s apparently so important.

5. In-Store Pickups Everywhere

Every store that sells stuff online and also has brick-and-mortar locations should offer in-store pickup. I know exactly what I want from Target and the grocery store, but I have to go there and find everything each time. Circuit City has, by far, the best in-store pickup model around and it could work almost anywhere. It’d be a dream to be able to pick out and pay for all the stuff online that you needed to get while running errands and then just drive around to each place and have it loaded in your car. And how cool would it be to have a drive-through attached to every store?