Monday, September 15, 2008

Bait and Switch or Not?

Is it just me or is this a case of misrepresentation? Last week I heard the gate intercom go off and so I checked to see who it was. A strange woman whose car was parked outside our property asked me if I wanted to learn about global warming. I hesitated because I had a little niggling feeling that said "beware", and I responded by telling her that I was pretty au fait with the subject, which is true. I have read widely and my family and I have gradually been implementing little measures to ensure that we decrease our carbon footprint – these include switching appliances off at the plug when we're not using them, installing a bioseptic tank to recycle grey water and sewage, switching off lights in the house at night in empty rooms, using cloth bags for groceries at supermarkets rather than plastic ones, and so on. We have a long way to go and ideally we'd love to get solar heating and have one of those energy efficient houses where you pump electricity back into the grid rather than sap it, but this will take time. 

Anyways ... I told this woman that I was fairly well read and she hesitated – I got the sense that she wanted to be invited in to speak to me one on one. She then asked if she could give me some literature. I said I couldn't come out because I had something on the stove (which was also true) but she could leave it in the post box. She said she would follow through. 

The way she phrased things to me suggested that she may have been a local council representative or somebody from one of the many environmental groups that are springing up in educational and activist roles, but at the back of my mind I had a sneaking suspicion that the woman in question may come from a religious group. My instincts proved to be correct. About ten minutes later I retrieved the literature in question which turned out to be two magazines from a well known door-to-door religion. There was a short cover article on global warming on one of the magazines in context of the religion in question, but the other content was of the ilk of "do this now and be saved".

I'm all for religious freedom and respectful of people's points of view and belief systems, but this approach is a bit suspect. I do not want to be converted to anything – I like to read widely and form my own opinion about the nature of humankind and the divine – and I especially don't want to be subjected to religious bait and switch sales techniques which I believe this one to be. Authenticity and transparency ... that is the key to building trust between people, as well as marketers and prospects. Let the latter decide what they want to do and whether they want to partake based on full disclosure and no secret agendas.


Meredith said...

A classic example of mis-representation by an organisation/group who one would expect would be above this kind of behaviour. I mean really, using an issue we should all be concerned about to get a foot in the door and preach to you, it's a low tactic!

Julie said...

Thanks for your feedback, Meredith. It's sounds more and more like my instincts were correct!