Exploding Phone Debacle: Samsung Management Fiddling While Rome Burns

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I remember the first time I heard the name Samsung. It was 1984 and I was selling audio and video at Leo’s Stereo in Southern California. Samsung was the name of our dirt cheap entry level VCR: $199.

The quality was so bad that the front panel would bend when I tried programming it for a customer. We tried not to sell them but when we failed and sold one, they would usually come right back. Broken.

That’s when we broke into our “I told you so” mode. See! Korean stuff is junk. So is American. You need a Japanese VCR! Like this fully loaded 4 head with wireless remote and…. slow motion!

Me and my boss (now friend) Ofer Trudler 1984-2016
Me and my boss (now friend) Ofer Trudler 1984-2016 (notice the Chinese brand in 2016)

Yep. That was my job through university. Selling audio and video. On commission. And it was hilarious. That job taught me everything I needed to work in the real world. Of course we had a Columbian drug dealer there. A couple of alcoholics. Me included.

Samsung stunk to high heaven. But that was a long time ago. And times have changed. Today Samsung makes fine products. Until they don’t. As is the case with the Galaxy Note 7.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s pretty. It’s a very nice looking phone. But it has one small problem. It blows up and catches on fire. And burns your house down. So there are negatives to it. But besides that it’s amazing.

Unfortunately, Samsung’s management seems to not get the seriousness of the ‘burning your house down part’. We can see this by looking at their pathetic recall. It’s patently obvious that Samsung’s management simply doesn’t want to face the facts of it’s disaster of a phone. Every step of the recall has had to be forced by uproar from consumers. It was obvious from the beginning that Note 7’s should have been recalled worldwide and Samsung should have launched a major goodwill PR campaign to mend fences with consumers. But no…

It reminds me of when Korean Air Lines used to have a nasty habit of flying into mountains. Suffice it to say that it’s not good for consumer confidence.

Samsung recalled outside China. Then recalled inside China (after Chinese consumers went mad: for good reason) And then Samsung replaced the exploding phones (none too quickly I might add). But there is a problem. The replacement phones exploded.

So Samsung is really up to their old 80’s VCR tricks. The problem is that it isn’t the 80’s, they cost as much as iPhone’s and the internet has been invented. On top of that, they endanger human life. Even the post office is scared to death of them and forced Samsung to send out reinforced, fireproof coffins so that if start burning in the mail, they won’t burn down the post office or airplane.

What we've got here is failure to communicate
Samsung: What we’ve got here is failure to communicate

As Boss said in my favorite movie, Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”. But don’t fret. Samsung is gonna pay. Unlike Paul Newman’s indomitable spirit, they are gonna break. The consumers of the world will take care of it.

Many say the cause is Samsung’s insistence of squeezing every last feature into their phones. Bloatware. But, honestly, the causes don’t really matter to consumers anymore. What matters is that a company that they trusted, they no longer do.

It doesn’t help that there are now reports of, I’m not kidding, “exploding Samsung washing machines”. Can things can’t get any worse?

The latest is a recent Forbes article talking about exploding Galaxy S7 Edge’s. What isn’t exploding at Samsung? That should be the next press release.

Attention: It’s come to our attention that the Galaxy S6 is not catching on fire or exploding like Russia’s new missile the Satan II. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Explodes And Sets Jeep On Fire
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Explodes And Sets Jeep On Fire

An honest report like that might solve some trust issues. But have you heard anything from Samsung? Has the president thrown himself to the floor like Japanese presidents do every time they misspell “election” with an “r”? No.

I went by the Samsung shop to look for something out of the ordinary like a video of the president jumping out of a window but I couldn’t find anything. It all looked normal. No special notes. No video’s. No big signs. ‘Sorry for burning your house down’ might have been nice. Or ‘please take your Galaxy 7 coffin so you don’t get sued by the post office”.

Everything was hunky dory at Samsung. Except for one problem: No one was there.

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