About two-years-ago Henry began to notice noise from planes coming out of Mascot. He says they wake him up and keep him awake. It was a very peeved Henry who decided to complain to authorities and began noting details of those aircraft buzzing his house.
As we have recently observed, and I refer to online petitions peddled by activists to create chaos, the internet has become the path of choice for complainers. No longer need they bother writing letters, licking the stamps, toddling off to the mailbox or suffer time-wasting phone calls and being passed from one department to another. Bitching these days is easy, you don’t even have to get dressed, or clean your teeth, or comb your hair, you do it in your pyjamas, and one click of the mouse sets in motion the well-oiled cogs in a bureaucratic complaint process. Then you go back to bed with a degree of smug satisfaction.
Henry’s degree of satisfaction should be substantial if based on number of complaints registered. An Eastlakes resident, only a couple of kilometres from the airport, also an avid button-clicker, has made 4,312 complaints in one year. But Henry, perhaps trying for the Guinness World Book of Records, wins the day with 19,600 official protests in the same time.
Also, one has to wonder about Henry’s hearing. Airservices Australia advises that on average, aircraft that depart Sydney Airport would at the 30km range where Henry lives have attained and altitude of between 2.6km and 4.3km. Henry claims he is not a nuisance and vowed to continue sending complaints until planes stop flying over Kellyville. “Tonight I'll have a glass of red and complain,” he said. It sounds like Henry is not drinking enough of that plonk, or perhaps too much.
But Henry’s nonsense is only one avenue of complaint nutters of his ilk use to cause strife. There is many Henry’s roaming our society who feels seriously aggrieved over precious little—they are obsessive whingers. If you gave them a gold ingot they would complain that it was too heavy. They are usually people without jobs who once made signs on a stick and beat a track outside the local doughnut shop because the chocolate fudge drizzle had apricot instead of strawberry jam filling—no kidding.
Some angry people will go to the trouble and expense of registering a web site but satisfaction is only achieved through spite and a psychotic revenge that can last for years. Dunkindonuts.org is one of those registered by David Felton of Hartford, Conn. He became outraged when his local Dunkin’ Donuts shop did not carry 1 percent milk, his favourite coffee lightener. He was also upset that the world's largest doughnut chain did not offer a “decent” low-fat muffin. His site is no longer. Important stuff!
Starbucked.com is another. The Starbucked Web site documents the saga of onetime Starbucks customer Jeremy Dorosin and his battle against Starbucks' corporate greed, all stemming from a defective espresso machine Dorosin purchased. His site is still operational. Take a look and “mania” will be explained.
As was evident from the Sydney radio 2GB incident where Alan Jones’s advertisers were coerced into dropping their advertising. Those making the threats are just one group of many of many to use the Internet “complaint” Web sites to create a form of blackmail. Such sites have become the preferred weapon for frustrated customers, disgruntled employees, political activists, and anyone with an axe to grind or with nothing to do but air a gripe, even if it is not their gripe. The button clicking throng cower behind the cloak of anonymity and thrill to the notion of a global audience. More than half of the Fortune 1000 companies have experienced some type of web action smearing their business.
Companies that experience cyber extortion must resist this new phenomenon as the threats are hollow. To give in is like running before a raging bull, it will chase you down. Airservices Australia will learn that lesson with Henry and use software to block his submission—it’s very easy to do.
Thought for the week: The vagaries of English. One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese?