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You Bet Your Glass: February 2014

Corporations behaving badly

February 6, 2014  By Frank Fulton

It’s been a long time coming. I knew it had to happen again one day. 
It’s been so many years since I did this, I can’t even remember the last

It’s been a long time coming. I knew it had to happen again one day.  It’s been so many years since I did this, I can’t even remember the last time. I had to order cheques. Yes, cheques!  Those blank numbered slips of paper you print dollar values on to give to people on occasion so they can take them to their bank and get money for them.

Of course with internet banking being the convenience it is, nobody uses many cheques anymore and I count myself among this group. As it is, I manage to go through about a dozen cheques a year, mostly to pay for OGMA events and an assortment of miscellaneous payments. I think the last time I ordered cheques was about ten years ago and I think I recall paying about $12 for two hundred of them. I never did use them all before I moved away from the address printed on them seven years ago.

I fully expected that getting new cheques would be a pretty routine task. I didn’t expect to be enraged by the process. The entire episode made me recall how giant corporations behave once their focus shifts from providing good customer service to their core group of clients to management stock options and shareholder value. Let me explain.


I went to my internet banking site, easily enough found the link to order cheques, clicked on it, entered a bit of information and was directed to the Davis + Henderson (D+H) Corporation website where a message popped up informing me that they could not process my order online and directed me to visit my branch for assistance, or to try my online transaction later. You’ve no doubt heard of D+H as they’ve been around since 1875 and boast that “You will find D+H cheques in purses, wallets and desk drawers of more than 20 million individuals across the country.”

Immediately after that, I went directly to the Davis + Henderson “Personal Cheques” web page. There they show the optional cheque designs they offer, but nowhere to be found is the price of the various options. I guessed they must tell you this information on the order page and proceeded to click on the “Cheque Ordering” link that a few clicks later brought me back to my internet banking site and eventually back to the D+H page telling me to visit my branch.

Now I’m a bit miffed. Unlike the good old days, I use the internet for practically everything: research, information, and particularly for shopping. If I can avoid going to a store to shop, I’m happy. I just hate shopping, I hate schlepping, I hate hunting around malls, I hate wasting time looking for stuff. Now, I hate being told to go out of my way to make a mundane purchase that should be easily taken care of online. The opinion I have of companies is determined primarily by how they present themselves and their products to me on their websites. A good company’s presentation is clear: I can easily navigate to the information I am seeking, I know what I’m getting and how much I’m paying, and I know when I will get what I ordered. They’ve considered all my concerns, anticipated all my questions, and addressed them and presented them to me in a direct and easy-to-follow way. It is clear from their behaviour that they consider good customer service an important priority. I am given the sense that they care about earning my business.

A week or so later, I had to go to my bank for some routine banking and told the teller about my difficulties in trying to order cheques online and how I was directed to inquire at my branch. She told me that this happens pretty routinely and proceeded to click away on her terminal to place a cheque order for me. Then the bombshell…

I hate to leave you hanging there, but I’ve run out of space for this issue, so you’ll have to wait for the next issue of Glass Canada for the thrilling conclusion.

Frank Fulton is president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting. He has been in the industry for 30 years and can be reached via e-mail at

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