I’m not to most rabid consumer there is. I don’t expect something for nothing. But sometimes I have to pause and wonder about how craven some business models are. For instance, I blogged before about how it used to be a standard service for gas stations to provide a free air hose to customers — even those who might not be purchasing anything, such as a teenage bicyclist. (Advertising on air machines just adds insult to the whole affair.) Software companies that charge fees for assistance installing and debugging their products annoy me, too. And although they don’t make money at it, the endless voice trees one has to navigate to get to a real customer service agent (often overseas, natch) irritate the bejebus out of me. They’re using up my time without accomplishing anything.
So it was with some disgust that I learned that airports are now making money off of pay-per-use electrical plugs. Profit is king, apparently. Now, admittedly, there are a lot more folks these days plugging in, what with cell phones, laptops, iPods, etc., all of which need charging. And I suppose that the few stray outlets available to visitors to airport, bus, and train terminals have the potential to cause considerable problems in the mad scramble to recharge. But still, does every market really have to be cornered? Doesn’t the public good or customer service mean anything anymore, that a little bit of goodwill might be worth the expense?