The was a famous legislation passed in the seventies that provided enforcement for something called a satisfaction guarantee warranty.
After all, the customer is always right. This act stipulated that businesses would have to refund the full purchase price regardless of the reason for dissatisfaction.
Carlin famously named this the advertising lullaby, meaning, the whole purpose of marketing is to lull consumers to sleep. And it may have been revolutionary at the time. But fifty years later, there is massive proof of just how ubiquitous our satisfaction guaranteed consumer culture has become.
That worn and tired phrase is more than just fine print at the end of an advertisement, it’s an entire mythology. Since the legalization of the satisfaction guaranteed concept, people have become deeply demanding of fulfillment in all of their interactions, not just their retail purchases.
Each of us keeps mental ledgers of our disappointments and diminished expectations, and demand payback when the debit column gets a little too high.
We embark on this quest for unrealistic satisfaction, poised in a great ballet of expectation, only to get our hearts broken again and again.
But that’s the challenging part. Life is not a retail shop. Once our experience fails to match up to our impossibly high standards, we don’t get our money back. The product is not replaced within thirty days of purchase.
How do we cope with that?
Cameron’s book on finding inspiration urges us to ask ourselves a question to become more intentional around the idea of fulfillment:
What choice can you make right now that would fill you with pride and satisfaction?
Her question is a hopeful reminder that although life is not set up to meet our meaning needs, we can still wield some control. We can still engage in the enterprise of paying singular attention to something we really want to bring into existence, big or small, no matter how shitty everything else is at the moment.
Perhaps it’s time to amend that famed legislation to something a bit more realistic.
Satisfaction is not guaranteed.
The only thing we are guaranteed is the possibility of satisfaction.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Where can you express appreciation instead of expectation?