Arrogance seems to be a common theme among many politicians and company executives these days.
Or perhaps it has always been there, and we’re just hearing more about it now thanks to social media.
Take United Airlines, for example. If it weren’t for smartphone cameras and YouTube, we might never have known how the airline treats passengers when it overbooks it planes and forcibly “bumps” paying passengers so its employees can hop a free ride somewhere.
Indeed, the company blamed the bloodied passenger for refusing to give up his seat.
In other words, they will take your money, but they can’t promise you’ll actually be on the flight you paid for.
Yes, there’s something wrong with an industry that allows overbooking and the forced removal of paying passengers. And there’s something wrong with airlines that go along with it. They obviously don’t see customers as human beings with families and such. Passengers are mere numbers to them.
Canadians have also witnessed major arrogance at the corporate level, with links to both provincial and federal politics. Aircraft maker Bombardier went with hat in hand to Quebec and Ottawa seeking bailout money, and and shortly after receiving it, awarded its senior executives obscene bonuses.
When the news hit the social media and mainstream media fans, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded with arrogance, saying it was up to Bombardier to compensate its executives the way it saw fit — even if it was with taxpayer money we are likely never to see again.
Bombardier also responded with arrogance, saying that such compensation was typical in big corporate entities like them, and that they have to give their executives millions in order to keep them.
Bombardier only backed down — to a point — after public outcry.
Then there’s Hydro-Quebec, a Crown corp. that we learned recently has been overbilling customers for years. Again, arrogance from all parties concerned, though this story is still developing.
No doubt, readers here can tell tales of arrogant companies and politicians in their part of the world. They’re everywhere.
When it comes to arrogant politicians, we salt of the earth types can do something about them: we can vote them out of office — and that is looking more and more likely now for Quebec’s Liberal party. For many, they appear to be the embodiment of arrogance and insensitivity.
But there’s not much we can do about arrogant companies that either have a monopoly or that we don’t do actual business with, like Bombardier.
In the case of United Airlines, though, I have little doubt that some people will be boycotting that company. I, for one, would never travel with them in light of the obscene removal of a poor passenger just trying to make his way home the other day.
Photo: United Airlines Boeing 777 landing at London (Heathrow) Airport. Taken by Adrian Pingstone in August 2004 and released to the public domain. (Wikimedia Commons)