We have a BBB - a Better Business Bureau - to help us to watch over businesses on behalf of consumers, and to try and make sure that those businesses are treating the people they do business with fairly and honestly - at least reasonably fairly and honestly.
It's like a central clearing house for complaints against businesses that consumers feel just don't make the grade.
It almost seems counter-intuitive, but the BBB actually works in favour of the businesses, just as well as it does for the consumers who consult the BBB records before making a purchase or hiring a service or whatever else.
People don't always feel comfortable complaining when they feel they've been badly treated at a business.
Instead, they just don't go back. But some of those who feel they've been badly handled will register their complaints with the BBB.
In the case of a business that really has a habit of sticking it to its customers, the BBB complaints clearing house makes other would-be customers aware that they might just be better off looking somewhere else to find the high-end widget they need.
Just call the BBB number or check the BBB website and get a tally of how many people have complained without having their complaints resolved.
But if a complaint is lodged against a business that prefers to take good care of its customers, that business has a chance to make good - it can patch things up to regain it (deserved) favourable rating.
Without the BBB intermediary, the business might just end up watching a slow, relentless reduction in its clientele as word gets around that somebody who was looking for a better mousetrap just got cheesed off instead.
And the business is also protected from frivolous complaints from chronic complainers, or from people who had entirely the wrong expectations before they walked into the shop.
Some people will complain because they couldn't find their favourite brand of fishing rod in a lingerie shop.
Such a complaint is easily recognized as non sequitur by potential new customers, instead of festering in a dank background, and unfairly stinking up the business atmosphere.
If the system is well-used, both businesses and consumers are well-served.
All well and good, but what we really need is a BPB - a Better Politics Bureau - modelled after the BBB: a central clearing house for complaints against politicians.
Certainly, many people feel comfortable calling their MLA, MP, city or district mayor or councillors, or school trustees and giving them what-for when it appears that commodities offered at election time - mostly in the form of promises - are not delivered in a timely fashion.
Good, caring politicians, like good, caring busi-ess people, will take heed.
The others will not. The injured party can (and often does) contact the media - but not all media react the same to such complaints about politicians' perceived infractions.
Besides, all the complaints, whether they become letters to the editor, turn into news stories, or sift to the bottom of a waste basket, become individual concerns.
A BPB telephone number could keep a running tally and a fair - independent - indication of the number, if not the severity, of concerns.