Cotton candy and little enterprise deceptions

Cotton candy and little enterprise deceptions

Summary: At what point does pleasing product presentation become genuine deception?


Cotton candy photo by Michael Krigsman

While browsing the instruction manual for a professional cotton candy (PDF download) machine, the following phrase jumped off the page (emphasis added):

Many experienced operators prefer to lift the ring out of the pan and, with a flick of the wrist, turn the ring into a figure eight and whip it around the cone. This leaves giant air pockets and makes it appear that you are serving a larger portion.

Of course, sales people want to minimize weaknesses in their product or service offerings, so this kind of presentation happens all the time in every sphere of life.

In the enterprise, where products and their organizational impact are intensely complex, the situation is magnified a zillion-fold. The many lawsuits over IT failures testify to the significance of mismatched expectations between vendor claims and buyer understanding.

At what point does beneficial "product presentation" become outright deception and is there a solution for the enterprise? Please share your thoughts.

Topic: Legal

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  • RE: Cotton candy and little enterprise deceptions

    This is sort of the opposite answer, but it's what I though of upon reading this article:

    Remember back in the days of 8 bit computing, how little the picture on the package of your cool new game actually resembled the graphics on the game itself?

    Nowdays, though, you could use a screenshot for your packaging (and I'm sure many games do).

    Ah, the joy of massive processing power and zillion core graphics boards.
  • Point and answer

    1. There is no point: honesty is a continuum. You need subjective judgement.

    2. I'd start by fining companies where their ads. could not be supported by the majority of evidence in the target market. So:

    - in the LYNX advert where angels fall from the sky I would fine the company $1,000,000 and see whether they understood the word 'honesty'.

    - I would ban all 'small print' e.g. reduced* to $100
    * available at a ridiculous price which we didn't expect anyone to pay on hidden shelves for 1 week prior to this false claim of a reduction

    Regretably ads. are often the most artistic part of viewing, so intense is the work and thought involved in their production.

    My 'favourite' was 'capable' as defined by M$ in VISTA, meaning 'does not support several of the principal architectural improvements in the new product'. I would have fined them $1,000,000,000 for that deliberate deception.

    As you see, there will be no shortage of funds for my new watchdog :-(
  • RE: Cotton candy and little enterprise deceptions

    I wasn't so much concerned about truth in advertising because it never really existed. But so many "specifications" today are false or fraudulent as well, and vendors are given passes for lying on a daily basis. We did audits and load tests on many of our major circuits last year and found that performance and reliability were far below what our network vendor had committed. Then our CIO basically slapped them on the wrist and said "please don't screw us anymore" instead of trying to get some of our money back.
    terry flores
  • As Tom Waits put it...

    "You've got it buddy; the large print giveth, the small print taketh away"