“He shot for the prize, and missed the target.”
It’s been my observation that whenever a company starts pushing its employees to sell credit cards, that company is on a downward spiral. I’ve seen it at Beall’s Outlet, I’ve seen it at Books-a-Million, I’ve seen it at Wal-Mart. (Who had the sense to eventually quit that.)
Now it’s just started at another place I prefer to leave nameless. I doubt it will go any better there than the other places. Those who want a company credit card generally go looking for them voluntarily. The vast majority of customers who don’t, seriously get annoyed at the waste of time when they’re trying to get out of the store. Needless to say they take this out on the ground-level employees, instead of the upper management who had the delusional brainstorm that this would bring in more profits.
Because that’s what this is; an attempt to bring in short-term profits, no matter the long-term costs to the company. And those costs are not just money and lost customers. There are employees who will quit over this. Customer service means dealing with jerks often enough already, without deliberately antagonizing people.
Employees who quit need to be replaced. Replacing people takes time and money to train them – and also impacts customers who’d gotten used to finding a clerk who knew them and what they were looking for. When a company is already shorthanded, this is nuts.
Some people would blame capitalism for this. Me, I blame the fact that a company has gotten large enough that the people making decisions don’t get hit with the consequences of those decisions straight in the face.
This is something you should consider for story-writing, especially if you have a Massive Secret Conspiracy. There may well be good reason so many of these turn out to be a hidden source of evil. Not necessarily because anyone starts out aiming for evil, but because the people with power are insulated from what actually happens to the people they manipulate in the course of “protecting them” from Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.
Seriously, if you want Fridge Horror, contemplate all the Muggles who end up Obliviated in the Harry Potter ‘verse. The Aurors apparently don’t care what a wizard was doing, or why, or how much they hurt people; they just make sure Muggles forget it ever happened and clean up the evidence. Also see the World Security Council SHIELD was supposed to answer to in Avengers, that thought nuking NYC was a valid response to an alien invasion coming through a portal from somewhere else entirely. They weren’t on the ground and wouldn’t face the results. Fortunately, Nick Fury was….
Consider how close your characters are to the front lines of the fight, whatever the fight may be. Then consider how close their bosses are, and their bosses’ bosses. Think about what orders might come down from which levels. It makes a difference!