19 July, 2008

Why Christian Businesses Should Advertise As Such

Ron at Bay of Fundie narrowly missed getting fleeced by a Christian business. Fortunately, they gave the game away by attempting to proselytize. While searching for a replacement hard drive for his iPod, he discovered a page on one seller's site that announced its mission to bring people to Jesus. That told Ron to look elsewhere:

I decided to look around a bit more, just to make sure that iFixit really was the best place to get the drive.

Ultimately, I ended up buying a drive on eBay. There’s an eBay shop that was selling a new 30 GB drive for less than iFixit was selling a used one. I guess they shouldn’t have tried to sell me Jesus. They ended up not selling me anything.

I'll argue that from the point of view of the business, that's undoubtedly true: they shouldn't have tried to sell Jesus because of the subsequent loss of a sale. But from a consumer's point of view, they absolutely should try to sell Jesus. It warns the rest of us to be on the lookout for scams.

A person who will lie to you and tell you that everything in the Bible is true isn't even going to blink at selling you shoddy goods, and charging you more than you'd pay for a better product elsewhere.

Self-proclaimed Christian companies are just as moral as the self-proclaimed Religious Right: i.e., not moral at all. I've noticed a pattern over the years: if a company is busy trying to tell you they're a wonderful Christian business you can feel good dealing with, once you've scratched the surface, you'll find a raving bunch of shysters under that pretty gold paper. Take Servicemaster's slogan: "To honor God in all we do." It was a company based heavily on Christian values. This translated to breaking federal labor and environmental laws, lying to employees, lying to customers, and milking every customer for every last penny possible, especially when the customer was being charged for an error the company had made.

This has not been an isolated instance. Remember: I've been dealing with small and mid-sized businesses for a decade now, and the pattern has held true. The more the company tries to convert its customers, the more likely it is they're needing to create a pool of guillable victims. Even if they're genuinely motivated by a desire to save your soul from damnation, there's still a strange pattern of fundamentalist Christian businesses providing worse service and goods at higher prices.

That being so, I hope they continue to advertise as good, honest Christian companies. It makes it so much easier to avoid scams.


Anonymous said...

I have a perfect example of that in my home town, As you know I was raised a good Catholic boy and I had friends in good Catholic families. One of those families ran a pretty successful Optometry business and I remember going in one day and the oldest brother, who now ran the family business asked me if I had had an eye check in a while and offered to check out my vision for free because I was considered part of the family and he had a few spare minutes. the outcome was that my eyes were slightly imperfect (I know, your as shocked as I am to hear that I was not then, as now PERFECT!!)he also told me that if I was just a general man in the street he would have prescribed glasses, but as the script was for such a small variance and as I was essentially family he wouldn't bother wasting my money. I personaly blame the Catholic Confessional for all this. A Catholic businessman can rip everyone off all week, and on Saturday he can go to confession, say a few "Hail Mary's" and drop a few ill gotten dollars in the poor box, then on Sunday he can get is fill of the Eucharist, have his holy spirit renewed, ready for Monday morning opening of business so he can start the whole cycle again.
Now while I am still good friends with all the family and still get invites to family functions, I won't use their business because I don't agree with their ethics (but don't tell them I said that)

Cujo359 said...

I've always been leery of businesses that advertise as being for a particular market that doesn't strike me as requiring any specialization. One could say, for instance, that a company that offers kosher foods doesn't fall into that category, since there's a process required to make food kosher, and not everyone is willing to pay for it. On the other hand, why would anyone advertise as a purveyor of "Christian food" unless they are offering certain ceremonial dishes?

While I've never had occasion to be ripped off by such a business, any such advertising, whether for a particular religion or some other market segment, I'm always suspicious.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen a pattern, though I don't completely trust businesses that troll for customers using religious hooks.

My husband came home a few years ago swearing by a new editor he'd found that was perfect for editing software code. Since I'd been swearing AT the equivalent Microsoft product at the time, I checked out the website. It had this huge fundie witness page, which boiled down to "I know Jesus loves me because I've actually been able to make money selling this editor." Bleh. I mentioned it to my husband, who'd completely ignored it. The fact that he liked the editor was all he cared about. I suppose that's a reasonable attitude, but I was still creeped out.

Then I discovered that an old favorite open source editor from the *nix world had been ported to Windows, and gave the Microsoft tool the heave-ho, without lining a fundie's pocket.

Nicole said...

"[W]hy would anyone advertise as a purveyor of 'Christian food' unless they are offering certain ceremonial dishes?"

I was raised in a very conservative fundamental church (with which I am no longer affiliated in any way except to share information like this), and we were instructed to shop at stores run by our brothers and sisters in Christ and to eat at restaurants that were owned by our congregation members. Their logic was to keep the business from people of "the world" who, I guess, only use their profit to buy sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll...or...whatever.

Leaving that church got me closer to heaven than staying in it ever could!