My Hands Are Tied

By sethmsparks

You hear it a lot as a consumer in today’s marketplace. You hear it almost every time anything goes wrong from the “service” representative that is “assisting” you.

“I wish there was something I could do, but my hands are tied.”

I have heard this so many times in the last two months that I can actually see the flicker in the service reps eyes before they say it.

Example: I was picking up my car from a local dealer after having warrantied repairs done. Over the last couple weeks, the technician had called multiple time to keep me updated on the status of the reapir. This afternoon he called and advised me that the vehicle was ready for pick-up. With a skip in my step I waltzed through the doors to the receptionist to pick up my keys only to find out there was a $130 bill holding my car. What?!? Where did that come from? We spent an hour investigating the situation since my assigned technician was off for the night. Well, it turns out the the original warranty on the car had run out, and I was now on the extended warranty which constitutes a $100 deductible. Ok then, why wasn’t I told this when I dropped the car off, or one of the 15 times I talked with my tech?

“Ummm… I don’t know.. It’s just how the GMPP goes… My hands are tied.”


Where am I going with this? It seems due to the availabilty of millions of technologies business use to get things done, the training on these advanced systems must have been half-baked. As I went to pay for a rented car I was told that I would be charged an extra $25 a day ($150) for being under 25 when I specifically asked before renting if that would apply.

“Well, I can’t justify what soandso told you. All I know is what the system tells me, other than that (eye-twitch) … my hands are tied.”


Moving out of my apartment to a new house was a nice experience. Except I was told by the staff at my complex I could turn in my keys the last day of the month… but of course when I go to do so, I find out that it’s a state law to provide 30 days written notice before vacating a rented residence. Why wasn’t I told this on the phone when I called a month ago?

“Well.. there must have been some mis-communication. Since it’s a state law.. there’s nothing I can do.. My hands are-“


In Bryan and Jeffry Eisenberg’s new book “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark” they discuss the necessity of businesses in the 21st century maintaining a high level of transparency. Basically stating that customers can now get information about your business anywhere and everywhere. No longer to we have to rely on friends and family (which still most of us always will), but we now have this amazing thing called the internet where I can bitch about stupid companies on MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo Local, and millions other places where the most curious of people can find and read about my negative experiences. The result you ask.. deflated customer experiences, faded brand, declining revenues, and the eventual “Closed” sign hanging in the window as your competitor, who is and always-has-been upfront with customers flips you a stiff thumb to the nose and drives off through the cheers of his masses of customers.