Strange word selection, no? I’m not sure how common a phrase this is. Having heard it first in Econ 101 in “the ago,” I always envisioned large swaths of eligible voters sitting on stools at their election places, slipping off their shoes (a chilly situation in November in the eastern states!), and depressing (pun intended) the levers with their toes. Not exactly what my prof had in mind, no doubt, but internally amusing nonetheless.
I recently considered this phrase when confronted with an unpleasant situation. Unhappy with being declined for a number of concert ticket requests from my favorite band’s “fan club,” I considered how I might handle this state of affairs. To whom could or should I complain? Do I even have the right to complain?
In these times of expected instantaneous responses, reasonable or unreasonable demands for service, and the now constant presence of a nuclear option – social media – it can be hard to rein in one’s baser and less attractive impulses when dealing with unsatisfactory business situations. I could jump on my Facebook page and blast this band because of my unfortunate experience. I could try to contact the organization and find a helpful or sympathetic listener. I could feel sorry for myself, lamenting my poor fortune and reminiscing about the “glory days,” when we would be approved for as many concerts as we wanted with fantastic seats.
Or, I could vote with my feet; that is, don’t go to as many (or any!) of this band’s concerts.
Spending my time at alternate concerts or activities might be fun and different. Making new friends, listening to new music, visiting new cities and new venues, having new experiences – all possible if I move my allegiance away from this one band who has seemingly undervalued my loyalty and patronage.
Will this “fan club” notice my defection? Unlikely. My guess is that if they are so stingy with offering long-time fans options on concert tickets, then they probably have plenty of other fans to buy. I might be missed by friends who have gotten used to seeing us at certain concerts over the years, and I know I will miss the music, spirit and camaraderie developed over more than a decade of dedicated fan-hood.
Sometimes, though, voting with your feet, choosing a different supplier, vendor, restaurant, is the clearest, cleanest and less fraught way to solve a problem.
Listen to my friend Trombone Shorty singing about complaining, and think about his words…I know I did…