Monday, July 30, 2007

Houston Loses a Friend of Consumers

Marvin Zindler (August 10, 1921 - July 29, 2007), the one time founder of Harris County's Consumer Fraud Division in the Sheriff's Department, went on to become one of the most influential consumer advocates and journalists in Houston's history when he went on to work for KTRK. Recently it was reported that Zindler was combating pancreatic cancer.

For some reason, this tough and determined man in his 80s was not the person one wanted to bet against. He survived prostrate cancer in 1994 and heart bypass in 1996. I simply believed that he would overcome this as well. The situation was only announced a few weeks ago and he passed away over the weekend. Pancreatic cancer is one tough disease. It took the life of my aunt, so I was aware of its horrors. But there was something about Zindler that made me think he would overcome.

During his decades of work, Zindler used embarrassment and exposure to turn business behavior around overnight, that government agencies often couldn't seem to do with huge amounts of money and bureaucracy. No restaurant wanted to be found with "slime in the ice machine" and roaches in the kitchen. Businesses didn't want to be caught by Marvin for failing to honor a warranty. Zindler did a great service to protect consumers without taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, he took every opportunity he had to get the surgery a child needed or even fought for a person's second chance. Marvin was a good guy, good for Houston, and good for consumers. He will be missed.

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