How financial jargon destroys investor confidence and keeps them from investing

There is a particularly poignant scene in the movie English Vinglish where Shashi Godbole (the every woman character played by Sridevi) attempts to order food at a New York cafe and ends up running away in tears.

To me, this encounter is illustrative of the wide chasm between investors and the investment management industry which speaks a different language from its customers. This creates undue stress, leads to poor investment decisions and, more often than not, frightens away prospective investors.

I wish every marketing and product person in the business would see this movie and walk away inspired as I did. (There are other reasons for you to see this movie not least of which are the excellent performances, a heartfelt storyline and of course Sridevi!)

Here’s a transcript of the encounter which my colleague Sameera diligently typed out:

Cafe sales person (Sales person): How u doing today ma’am?

Shashi Godbole (Customer): I want …
Sales person: I asked how u were doing today
Customer      : I am doing..Uh.. (Tries to figure out the menu)
Sales person: You cant take all that time, I got a long line here
Customer      : Sorry, what to eat
Sales person: Are you kidding me right now?! Please hurry up lady
Customer      : (Confused) Umm, vegetarian…
Sales person: Vegetarian is fine. What do you want to eat?!?
Customer      : (Scared) Only vegetarian
Sales person: A bagel, a wrap, a sandwich..?
Customer      : A sandwich (relieved)
Sales person: And what kind of filling do you want inside? Do you want cheese, tomato, lettuce
Customer      : huh?
Sales person: (voice raised in frustration) Lady, do you see, you are holding up my line? This is not rocket science. (Lifts up a slice of cheese) Cheese?

Customer      : Haan cheese
Sales person: Just cheese?!
Customer      : (looks embarrassed, other cafe staff laughs)
Sales person: Anything to drink?
Customer      : Water
Sales person: Still or sparkling?
Customer      : (Confused) Only water..
Sales person: (Frustrated but trying to maintain her cool) Still or sparking?!?
Customer      : (scared at this point) coffee?
Sales person: (rolls her eyes) Americano, cappuccino, latte?!
Customer      : (looks around confused)
Irate customer from the back of the line: Lady, I dont got all day!
Sales person: (slowly, talking down) Americano, cappuccino, latte…?
Customer      : (almost in tears) Yes coffee
Sales person: What??
Customer      : Nice coffee
Sales person: Yes we have nice coffee, we have the best coffee in Manhattan. You know what; I’m going to give you an Americano. Small or medium?
Customer      : (tense and uncertain) Small
Sales person: Small.. Is that it?
Customer      : (nods)
Sales person: $10.20
Customer      : $10? (Fiddles with the bag.. totally stressed .. takes time).. Sorry
Sales person: (Rolls her eyes)
Customer      : (coins falls all over the counter. Manages to give the money and steps away)
Sales person: Hello?!? The least you could do is say thank you!
Customer      : Thank you (Walks away in a hurry .. keen to get away)
(Runs into another customer – plates fall – food all over)
Sales person: I am not cleaning that up!!
(Customer in tears runs out of the cafe, still hungry, sits down on a bench and cries)