The sign on the dry cleaners window said “We do alterations” down the street from the house we rented in our new town. We had several articles of clothing which needed to be cleaned and I had several trousers which needed alterations, so we stopped by the cleaners one evening before they closed to drop off our goods.
Since we couldn’t get the service their sign promised we collected our clothing and decided to go somewhere else. I walked out of the shop angry, and let down and to be honest feeling a bit cheated. What I felt was that, the shop lied and engaged in false advertising. Even now a year later when we drive by the establishment I look at and the sign is still in place and I wonder if other people were conned into shopping there by their falsehoods (Since there is no place else within an hours drive that provides this service I’m sure quite a few.)
I’m sure many young men have watched the DaVinci code or National Treasure or read on the web about the cool things Masons do and how our teachings will make a “Good man better” and possibly have subsequently left the Fraternity, feeling the way I did as I exited that shop. You walk into a location expecting to receive the service advertised by the business and walk out disgruntled and confused.
When a young man submits his petition and check for his initiation he expects to receive training and guidance in ways that will make him a better man, husband, father and maybe even a better citizen to the country in which he lives. Even more so, a more tolerant man who will learn to serve the deity in which he believes. Does a secretary reading three meetings worth of minutes, for thirty minutes make him a better man? About the same chance as putting a spatula in his hand and expecting Masonic enlightenment to find him while flipping pancakes will.
Anyone who has ever counted on drawing new and returning customers to their business knows you will never satisfy every customer who walks through your door, but to intentionally or even unintentionally use untrue advertising to drive new business to your location will in many cases bring the opposite effect. It might cost you traffic.
Everyone has heard of “Word of mouth advertising”, which is when each unsatisfied customer will tell his family or friends about his dissatisfaction (Or sometimes with is satisfaction) with your services and his experience could prejudice several people who might walk through your door. Think about how many times you have chosen, or not chosen a restaurant after looking at a businesse' Yelp reviews. So when we as Freemasons place “Making good men better” on all of our recruitment literature we had better be prepared to offer that service or we will continue to see our new new members walk right back out the door whence they came, and will tell their friends and coworkers, "...don’t bother joining."
I guess my point is, if one continues to deliver bad service or engages in misleading advertising to a customer base, eventually you will anger most of your customer base and their experience will prejudice others willingness to give you a try. So when we tell young men we “Take good men and make them better.” and we give them shoddy degree work, baloney sandwiches to eat and luke warm Kool-Aide to wash it down before an evening of minutes and arguing over the price of paper towels for the mens room, it might be hard to explain that these things will make you a better man and these poor men will feel hurt and cheated.