OK, I don't really love Comcast
But sometimes, investors can put too much stock in personal experience when deciding whether a company is a worthy investment.
Famed money manager Peter Lynch said we should buy what we know. Products and services we use every day are likely to have millions of others using their products and services every day, too. That means they likely have a sustainable business model generating profits for themselves and our portfolios.
Not my cup of tea ... or coffee
The corollary that Anne and Rick seem to be giving is, don't buy what you hate. That's useful, but we just need to ensure that we don't extrapolate our own personal experiences too greatly onto the general population, and assume that everyone thinks like us.
I had considered investing in Starbucks years ago, but after realizing that I hated their coffee because of its burnt and bitter taste, I figured a lot of people would agree with me. Its stock couldn't possibly be a good, lasting investment.
Apparently, a lot of people do like that swill. Because I let my visceral reaction to its product sway my investing decision, I missed out on quite a few profits over the years.
Jim Carrey at the door
Comcast might be embodying the caricature of the Cable Guy with its customer service issues, but every companywill have problems occasionally. Even that paragon of customer service righteousness Nordstrom gets it wrong a time or two. Just Google "Nordstrom sucks" and you'll find over 1.7 million hits (go ahead and check -- I'll wait). The customer's always right, sure, but sometimes there's just no pleasing some people.
I think it's commendable that a Comcast representative took the time to post in the comments section to Rick's article, saying he found Rick's treatment unacceptable. Of course, the soapbox Rick has will generate a faster response than a regular subscriber with a missed appointment, but it also shows that Comcast does care about public perception. It would have been more telling if the company had just ignored the complaint and chalked it up to (another) whiny customer.
That's what monopolies do, and Comcast is also a monopoly of sorts. While customers could switch to DirecTV
What's the Hulu-baloo?
Comcast's programming is also about get a huge infusion when its merger with General Electric's
Then there's XFINITY, Comcast's answer to Netflix
Where's the love?
Cable in general has often fallen short of its potential, but today's operators aren't necessarily the same guys they were a decade ago. The industry is not as sclerotic as it once was, and its service offerings show that it can nimbly respond when rivals make inroads on its turf.
Manhandling customers could undermine those efforts, and every company has to make sure it doesn't take its customers for granted. Comcast and the others need to overcome the Jim Carrey caricature that's become so ingrained in our consciousness partly because it's so true.
Yet as investors, we also need to check our biases at the door. We must determine whether a company we know and use remains an investment opportunity, despite how late our repairman was, or how much the corner latte-slinger's coffee tastes like yesterday's cuppa joe. For your portfolio's sake, sometimes you still have to say, "I love you guys!"
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Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. Netflix is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.