Few Guinea Pigs in Capitalism

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Owning a Samsung phone -- but not a Galaxy Note 7! -- as I do, I have watched the news regarding the company's inexcusable response to the burning handsets with an unpleasant mixture of concern and incredulity. Set aside why someone might want to hide bad news and just consider the question of how they could believe something like this could be swept under the rug:

Only a handful of handsets appear to have been affected, but that does not excuse Samsung's sclerotic response to this incident. The company's first reaction to last week's plane incident was to downplay it, emphasising that there was "no evidence" it was linked to one of its new phones.

Several days elapsed, during which Samsung said nothing except to question the reports. It could easily have put sales on hold, or warned customers to shut them off.

Samsung did neither, and its first priority appeared to be managing the story. When one unlucky owner with bronchitis was rushed to hospital after a burning phone filled his bedroom with smoke, a cordial conversation with the company ended with a mistakenly-sent text message to the customer from a Samsung representative: "I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it," it read. [link omitted]
Absent some heads rolling and a spotless safety record going forward, I don't see how this doesn't sink Samsung. (Galaxy Note 8, anyone? I didn't think so.)

I am sure that many in our leftist media will, wrongly, trumpet this poor behavior as damning evidence against capitalism, but nothing could be further from the truth. This isn't some state-run (or mandated) monopoly. The only guinea pigs in capitalism, barring criminal behavior like this, are volunteers. And, fortunately, since free markets reward quality, I am sure that, if Samsung can't deliver it, someone else will.

It took only a few years for Nokia to fall to irrelevance from its place as industry leader, and I don't recall anything like this happening. I suppose this story could be down to misfortune and a few bad apples within the company, but management sets the tone in numerous ways for what constitutes acceptable practice, so maybe not. Whatever the case, I'll be paying close attention, and probably considering another vendor the next time I need a smart phone. Thank goodness there will be a choice.

-- CAV

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