In my ongoing opposition to the Card Mill/MLM companies, I am often asked, “Why can’t the Card Mill/MLM travel agencies and the traditional agencies co-exist?” Just last week, someone contacted me for an opinion. They were investigating all methods of entering the travel industry—independent, host affiliated, franchise, consortia, and yes even MLM. Of course, that all too familiar question came up. While I have almost 600 reasons detailed in a personal blog, I decided to put one of the main problems in a light that hopefully anyone could understand. Let me tell you a story…
You are out for a Friday night with your family and on your way home, your luck takes a turn for the worse and you are involved in a car accident. Everyone is injured and you are transported to the nearest hospital for treatment. The ambulance siren wails through the night as you are sped to hospital where you all will be treated for your injuries.
Since none of the injuries are life threatening and you are conscious, when they wheel you into the emergency room, you notice something very strange. Everyone is dressed in white lab coats with the name “Doctor Smith” embroidered on the left breast. There are hundreds of these people milling about and you wonder just exactly where it was that Konrad the Paramedic had transported you.
Finally, a woman named Gale, in her white lab coat with the name “Doctor Smith” embroidered on the left breast, approaches you and asks you to select your doctor. Offering not much more than a puzzled look, she explains that this is a new program at the hospital and you now have to pick which doctor will treat you. She explains that this new way of medicine will be taking over the world in a few short years.
How do you decide? They all look alike wandering around in their white lab coats with the name “Doctor Smith” embroidered on the left breast. You ask about their credentials and perhaps inquire as to which medical schools they attended. Gale, in her white lab coat with the name “Doctor Smith” embroidered on the left breast, explains that many of them took a new online course through WeBeDoctors.com; and in today’s world of medicine, that is all that is needed. Some had been practicing emergency medicine for years. And there were even a few that were even considered true experts in their specialties. How do you choose? Then, you notice another person with a white lab coat with the name “Doctor Smith” embroidered on the left breast, pushing a trash can on wheels. And another one behind the cash register at the cafeteria. All of a sudden, iIt dawns on you that the doctors, nurses, janitors, candy stripers, volunteers, and patients all look alike. They all call themselves “Doctor Smith”.
So, how do you get the proper treatment you need? How do you know that the person wandering around in a white lab coat with the name “Doctor Smith” embroidered on the left breast is indeed someone qualified to treat your condition and not someone qualified to operate the trash compacter. In this instance, your choice could literally be life or death. How do you choose?
Hopefully the Card Mill/MLM crowd never decides to get into medicine (and I am not holding my breath), but this is exactly what they have done to the travel industry. If a consumer is looking for a specific, or even a generic, travel experience; right now, it is very difficult to determine if your “travel agent” knows the difference between the real Outback and the one next to the mall—much less how to get there. As a result of the Crd Mill/MLM companies promising riches and perks beyond compare, there are quite literally hundreds of thousands of people pretending to be “travel agents” with no further interest in the clients’ experience beyond a meager commission. And, just as the real doctors with the white lab coats with the name “Doctor Smith” embroidered on the left breast would be concerned, so are the real travel professionals. Last week I spoke of winning little battles. This one is no different and this is one that needs to be won.
Now, back at the hospital, you are laying on a table in the Emergency Room preparing for surgery, you are hoping against all hope that you will get legitimate, trained, and experienced care. All of a sudden, you hear a page over the public address system, “Paging Doctor Smith, paging Doctor Smith..please report to the ER stat.” A gaggle of people with white lab coats with the name “Doctor Smith” embroidered on the left breast make a beeline for the ER. I wish you luck. How are you going to choose?