October 22nd, 2018

Annual vote is just a popularity contest

By Letter to the Editor on March 2, 2018.

It’s that time of year when Medicine Hatters get an opportunity to vote for the best businesses in our city, and in the past I have diligently voted for all my favourite businesses.

Unfortunately this contest can’t really be considered a legitimate way to judge various businesses. Without any criteria or standards to make a true comparison, how can one vote for one business over another.

Take house builders for example. Can people truly compare builders who build million-dollar homes with builders that build $400,000 homes? In order to make legitimate comparisons there has to be a set standard, like running the 100-yard dash where the first person across the finish line is the fastest or sports where the final score determines the best team.

For more subjective businesses like personal services, you need a fair judging system. For instance in the Olympic figure skating all of the skaters have to carry out a set of precise moves and tasks as well as show artistic form. But it is done in front of the same judges using the same criteria for judging.

Another problem is the fact most people haven’t even had contact with the other businesses in the contest. So how would someone know whether their plumber is the best, if they haven’t used any of the other plumbers in town? The same can be said about veterinarian services. How exactly is that judged? And again most people may have experience with one or two but not the others.

So while the Best of Medicine Hat seems like a nice idea, and most people like me vote for their favourite businesses in each category, it really turns out to be nothing more than a popularity contest.

Lutz Perschon

Medicine Hat

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