If it were just airlines that treated their customers so shabbily, this story wouldn’t have such resonance. But it’s the banks, the cable companies, the cellphone providers, the 30 minutes you spend calling customer service to be told that company X is so sorry about the inconvenience they’ve caused you but there’s nothing they can do to help. It’s company policy, you see.How many times am I going to have to note that cost cutting is not the same thing as productive efficiency, and producing allocative inefficiencies isn't profitable?
I understand the need for companies to create efficiencies and cut costs to maximize profits. Few businesses face greater cost pressures than airlines.
But Mr Trump is a symptom of a deeper rot, not the cause.
But in the pursuit of profits, something seems to have increasingly vanished in American society: common sense and basic decency. Perhaps this is all a result of the national coarseness that seems to have followed the election of Donald Trump. Or maybe Trump’s ascendancy is a result of that coarseness and the sense of powerlessness many of us feel in a society that feels increasingly unmoored.Did you miss the memo, Mr Cohen? Common sense and basic decency are bourgeois constructs. Probably sexist. Almost certainly hegemonic. And the right kind of protected-status mascots get a free pass for demonstrating their authenticity.
Whatever the case, the United story feels like something more than a corporation gone rogue — rather, it’s a metaphor for America circa 2017.