By Paul Pannone
Through the years I’ve been amazed at people who impose their opinions on topics where they are not experts. I listen politely (some times) and look at the clock, knowing the time to leave the bloviator is fast approaching. On and on people spout the words should, can’t, won’t, sending shivers down my spine. But of course we live in a free society where opinions, discussions and ideas spark innovation and a better world.
Tell us what you think and we will tell you why you’re wrong.
However, there is a danger when personal opinions are inflicted on consumers who rely on the ability of the source of information, especially when the opinion is clearly wrong to everyone– except the source of the opinion.
Warnings about self-proclaimed experts tell the real story and what to look for. The mastery of a topic and to call yourself an expert never really happens. The area of ability continues to change, update and evolve leaving everyone short of becoming an expert. The best we can hope for is to be a student of a topic, always learning and refining what we know.
Over the past year we’ve watched self-proclaimed experts get lambasted speaking out of turn, giving false advice and information to people who follow them. They’re allowed to exist because no one calls them out or takes them to task. As long as they don’t venture too far off the real information there’s no upside to fight every idiot that fits the description.
Jim Duhe, as close to an expert on anything weddings as you can get, set the wedding world on its ass when he called out so-called experts.
In Duhe’s rant he tore apart a competitor he felt was doing a disservice to its readers saying,
“Clearly, Brides editors either don’t read their own research or don’t give a crap as to what their readers want to purchase. Like it or not — the price of the average wedding gown is less than $1,000. Like it or not — more than 85% of grooms will rent tuxedos. Brides editors seem much more obsessed with their own projection of wedding day apparel than with serving their readers needs or the interests of the bridal apparel community.”
Other students of their craft support Duhe denouncing the growing number of experts who have a platform on the internet. But the real harm comes from store owners that feel they’ve earned the right to impose their views to unknowing consumers who walk into stores or their office. It’s fact that you can say anything with enough conviction and never be questioned, especially from consumers who are planning weddings for the first time. Most will say they rely on the knowledge of vendors. All will agree they don’t have time, energy or wish to keep shopping and researching because of work and better ways of spending their time. Many take the advice and get what they paid for. But sometimes it doesn’t work so well. If you don;t believe me watch Judge Judy or read the message boards filled with horror stories.
Last week in my area of knowledge I ran across one of the most stupid display of an expert who actually believes his own bullshit. By his own admission he had the courage to rent a ten-year old garment (I’m being conservative) and admit to it– because a customer was unhappy with a new garment– according to him.
“…it was so bad that the mother paid $75 more to have an old After Six La Strada shipped in! (only reason I did not give her a refund or cover the cost is the fact I advised her against renting the Tony Bowls.)”
True experts reading the story said they couldn’t believe what they read. Most looked at the website and said they’re not surprised, citing how bad it was. But there are others– hundreds– that do the same thing and then wonder why their business is down or failing. Some bring in new styles because of fear and don’t whole-heartedly believe in the product. They never update their website or follow national advertising. They buy a products “in case someone wants it”. The consumer senses the negativity and get pushed into what the vendor likes. In the end the vendor blames everyone else for the failure but himself.
Even in critical subjects that involve a national crisis like wedding piracy, personal opinions and agendas that conflict with a clear, structured and attainable path to a resolution get marred by opinions of others. But, in the end, fact wins over fiction and brilliance over stupidity.
My opinion is to give the consumer the options and factual information and allow them to make their choice. Old outdated products and personal opinions should never be an option. My strong opinion is the culprits will read this and again have their own opinion of why that shouldn’t happen.
What do you think? We’re serious….
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