They say it takes six good reviews delivered by word of mouth to make a lasting impression, and only one bad one. Whatever numbers represent the truth, it is certain that it is hard to get people to like you, and terribly easy to get them to dislike you, especially if you happen to be a business.

This basic truth also goes for entire industries. For some reason, some people imagine that certain industries are evil incarnate, as if other industries were the paragon of virtue. But neither impression represents the truth. That is simply not the way business works. Businesses are made of people. And people can behave well or poorly at any given moment. Put enough of them together in one place, and any presence of good and evil cancel each other out.

While most industries are viewed with suspicion, some have an utterly irredeemable reputation. Here is a brief look at three of them, and why I think they may have been given a bad wrap. Each of these industries serve a public good that should not be overlooked. Here they are in no particular order:


We live in a credit economy. It would be shocking if the credit industry did not exist. It would also be shocking if the credit industry didn’t have an extremely bad reputation. After all, the industry deals with money, the life blood of our economy. If money and power are corrupting influences, imagine what all that money and power can do.

But it’s not just the industry. Everyone gets a little crazy when money is involved. As individuals, we overextend our credit, making purchases with money we don’t have, and might never get. When a shiny new product is announced by Apple, out comes the credit card with the expectation that the bill will be paid eventually, hopefully, maybe. If, at times, the credit industry goes a little too far, it’s because they are dealing with difficult clientele.

But rarely is the credit industry celebrated when it helps someone get their lives back on track. This heart-warming testimonial video is the perfect example of the good that is quietly done everyday in an industry that is much maligned. Sometimes, the biggest crime of the credit industry is giving us too much of exactly what we demand.


AT&T, Ma Bell, Baby Bells: whatever you call it, the telecommunications industry is one of the most hated of them all. No one loves their carrier. Choosing a carrier is a choice of the least of the available evils. That said, we tend to think every industry is evil when it offers a service that everyone has to have. We can rage-quit one company. But we can’t quit them all. We’re stuck with them.

Then again, every one of those companies allows us to pick up a brand new smartphone every year or so, that costs 462.42 GBP. We were walking out with them for about 132.12 GBP. Now, all of the Big Four have deals that allow you to walk out with a new phone once a year, or more, with no money down on the deal. Despite all their antics, they are helping us feed our tech fetish for less up-front cash than ever before. That deserves some, dare I say, credit.


Have you heard how hard it can be to ditch your cable company? The worst part is that so many people want to cut the cord. They are trying various alternatives. It is not because they don’t want to watch the content offered by the cable companies. They do. It is just that they are increasingly offended by the way the cable companies do business.

But at the end of the day, most people still come back to cable. That is because it is still less expensive than cobbling together an a la cart package that still leaves out local channels and live events. One thing we have learned with the cord-cutting experiment is that the cable companies were not gouging us anywhere near what we suspected. It turns out that basic cable is a pretty good deal.

The credit, telecommunications, and cable industries have a lot for which to answer. But they have also done a lot for which we should be very grateful.