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Overpromised and underdelivered

December 1, 2008

I was in Jakarta over the weekend. My agent usually does my travel arrangements if it involves hotel bookings but because it was a snap decision and I was still sore at them for messing up my last trip, I decided to use an alternative – someone in Jakarta who was recommended by a friend of a friend.

So after a couple of emails and phone calls, I settled on what seemed like a bargain. One low price for a return ticket, a complimentary transfer to and from Jakarta airport and hotel, 2 nights at a 5-star hotel, a 2-night dinner pass at an exclusive restaurant, and a car with a driver for the duration of my stay. The driver would also be my personal guide for the trip.

The contact also sent me photos of the hotel, the exclusive restaurant I’d be dining in, and a uniformed driver who posed in front of a couple of new Toyota Camrys. Friday was busy as hell for me so I left it at that and went about my business.

The flight to Jakarta and back was alright but that’s where alright ended. My hotel transfer came an hour late. The hotel wasn’t a 5-star hotel but an old serviced apartment complete with a malfunctioning bathroom light. The exclusive restaurant turned out to be nothing more than an ordinary local restaurant with better-than-average furniture. The chauffer was uniformed but he didn’t drive a Camry. It was a 10-year old Honda Accord.

Now I am no stranger to cheap motels and dinky rides and if the package was honestly presented, in all frankness I would have accepted it for the price he was charging. But those visuals, man that was unadulterated false advertising. Even though in hindsight, I know I got my money’s worth, I still feel shortchanged. The expectation set was too high. The agent was trying too hard.

In our desperation to convince others, many of us overpromise and underdeliver. It’ll get you the attention but most times you don’t get second chances.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 1, 2008 10:11 am

    Great expectation comes great disappointment. If you can’t deliver, then don’t promise. Being honest with your clients does pay off most of the time.

    Yes honesty begets credibility and credibility begets trust. In a throw-away society however, trust seems overrated. People rather buy low-fares like Adam Air than spend more on Singapore Airlines. It proves people do substitute credibility for low price – up to a point.

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