Thursday, November 8, 2012


The other day I saw a car with a bumper sticker that read, "If something can go right, it will." I was outraged. How dare they get everyone's hopes up when we all know that Murphy's Law got it right: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Also, let's face it, there's nothing more irritating than someone telling you things are going right when you truly feel that they are going wrong, wrong, wrong! From my brief Internet research (I Googled, "how do you deal with disappointment"), I understand that this sentiment, the "things all happen for a reason" or "this too shall pass" attitude represents the mentally healthy way of thinking. But, I also found a blog which said that the first step in dealing with disappointment is to let it out. You should be able to experience your feeling of disappointment or anger without being told to "just get over it." Amen! I agree with that, so it must be right.

This week has been a Murphy's Law kind of week for me. By the way, I'm not talking about the election. I'm talking about all those little things that get screwed up and when they are all piled up on top of each other threaten to crush your spirit. I fancy myself a pretty reasonable, even-tempered person, but I have two major triggers that make me a raving lunatic. One is when someone incorrectly attributes something to me that I did not do. I literally can't watch "The Fugitive" because it is so frustrating. Run Dr. Kimble! Figure it out, Tommy Lee Jones, it really was the one-armed man!  The second thing you don't want to do is mess with my children. Just like Beyonce the Chicken, I will cut you!

So the biggie of the week, the big disappointment involved both me as the Fugitive and one of the kids. So you know, I was out of my mind upset. That Scots-Irish in me that wants to kick ass and ask questions later was in full glory. To try to resolve the problem, I talked to two people. One of them was evasive and deflected all my questions and acted so strangely that I started cooking up conspiracy theories and blowing up the issue out of proportion. The other person was lovely. S/he acknowledged errors and apologized. This person told me that s/he understood why I was upset. S/he followed up to see if I had any more questions and gave me guidance on how the problem could be corrected.

This reminded me very much of a recent customer service experience I had with Pure Collection. Pure Collection is a British-based clothing company where I purchased Mom's birthday present. I ordered her gift on line and the sale appeared to go through, but the next day I received an email saying that I needed to call because my credit card had been rejected. My Fugitive-ness was all worked up because we always, always pay our credit card bills and there might be some stranger in England who thinks I'm a deadbeat. So, I called and spoke to lovely Jade. She sweetly told me in that awesome British accent that my "bank card" had been refused, but that this was common as they are an international company. She recommended that I "ring" my bank and "query" the transaction. After I queried my bank, I should call Pure Collection and let them know and they would run my card again. To be clear, her instructions were that I make two more telephone calls to complete this transaction when I have important things to do like blog, make wreaths, and ignore my children. But, I was so charmed by her accent and her manner that I didn't care that I was "ringing" the "bank" (aka American Express) and having to "ring" her back. I didn't care because she was nice.

Now, I know we're supposed to be against outsourcing American jobs, but I'm going to say something controversial: All customer service people should be British. Something about the accent and "keep calm and carry on" manner is so soothing. In the global marketplace, give the Brits customer service. The Americans should stick to what we do best: making lawyers and fattening food.

My point in all of this is, when someone is upset we owe it to them to listen without interruption and to acknowledge their problems. After we've listened to the complaints, then we can go in and try to give them a little pep talk and give them some perspective. And if our job sometimes involves listening to people complain, we should try to be nice, even when the complainer isn't nice. We diffuse the situation more quickly by acknowledging errors and trying to work with the complainer to solve his or her problem. Speaking calmly and in a British accent probably wouldn't hurt either!

When I was perusing bumper stickers for my post (I tell you, these posts are meticulously researched), I came upon this one:

I like that better than "everything is going right" because it's just false. If you change your perception, though, maybe what seems like a nightmare can turn into an adventure with nightmarish qualities, which is slightly less horrible. Just to leave you with a funny, look at this random bumper sticker:

What the? I hope y'all are having a good week!

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