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Suing, instead of serving customers at Lowes

Lowes should work on serving its customers, in the same way that open source requires.

I read with interest about Lowes (DIY/home improvement store in the US) and its attempts to silence a critical customer with a trademark infringement suit. Give me a break. Yes, Lowes (and everyone else) should protect its trademarks, but when you look into the facts of the case, it's fairly clear that trademarks aren't at issue.

Shoddy customer service is. Perhaps Lowes should care more about what this customer is saying rather than how the customer is saying it. I suspect doing the first item will take care of the second.

From the article:

Harkleroad says he complained to Lowe's after a chain-link fence was installed that had gaps big enough to allow his dogs to repeatedly escape from his yard. He says he repeatedly complained to Lowe's but was never able to get the problem resolved. He then refused to pay the remaining money he owed for the work and created the lowes-sucks site documenting the entire incident.

After receiving the threatening letter, Harkleroad has begun to question if Lowe's is trying to trample on his right to publicly criticize the company.

We asked a spokeswoman about this. Her response: "We appreciate the opportunity to respond, because Lowe's takes customer service very seriously. I assure you that our customer service team is looking into the issues raised by Mr. Harkleroad."

I have an even better idea. Instead of "looking into the issues," perhaps Lowes should work on resolving them. Every minute that the company doesn't do this is another minute when people will visit the lowes-sucks website to determine whether they want to do business with Lowes.

We don't live in a world where the customer can be expected to mutely accept whatever products or services we throw at them. The web has given the customer a voice. In the software world, this voice has been amplified by open source, but it's a trend that permeates most industries today.