Is An Apology Too Much to Ask?

I hate to complain. In fact, I have been working on a post on complaining and how change complaining into problem solving. However, I can’t help it. I have to address something. We have lost the art of apologizing.

Friday night, I went to check out a clothing store. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but that never stops me from shopping. I found a pair of shoes and an amazing dress. When I got home, I discovered that the security tag was left on the shoes. SO frustrating! It was too late to return to the store that night, so I headed over on Saturday.

As if it wasn’t bad enough to have this happen, it got worse at the store. I walked up to the return counter and the security sound went off. I have no idea why it didn’t go off when I left, only when I came back. Interesting. The lady (her tag read: shift supervisor) looks at me, points her finger, and says, “You just set that off.” You think? I was trying so hard to just be nice, and get this over with.

I take the shoes out of the bag at the counter and tell her that the security tag was left on the shoes last night. She takes the shoes out of the bag, takes off the tag, puts them back in the bag and says, “Here.” I can’t lie. I didn’t move. I just stood there looking at her. Part of it was shock, part of it was frustration, and part of it was just good old fashioned anger. That was it. No apology! Not even a lame, “Sorry.”

I think sometimes these things are allowed because managers and people who are in charge don’t realize what their employees are doing. I asked for a manager and explained the situation. There was no need to make a huge deal out of it. It was just a quick 2-minute conversation about what happened and just the fact that I thought it would be nice to just have someone apologize. She agreed and asked who it was. I discreetly pointed her out and went about my way.

Sometimes things happen in life that I think have more meaning than meets the eye. Here are some things I came up with:

We accept being treated poorly and very weak customer service. We don’t have to. This can be addressed with management or in a broader sense, we can chose to not return to these places and spend our money there. (I can’t lie, this one would be so tough for me!!)

When it is addressed, it doesn’t need to be a big dramatic scene. Some people believe that the louder they are and the more outrageous they are, they will be taken seriously. It is unnecessary.

How sincere are we when we apologize? Do we even know what we are apologizing for?

Any other ideas on this topic?


missmaggie said...

I always say "I think you meant to say you were sorry." smile and walk away. I can totally relate to you on this. Or I hate when I say thank you to a clerk when they are finished ringing up my purchases and they just look at you, or worse yet say "yeah".

Moxymama said...

Good post. People aren't taught to apologize anymore; this is especially true in any realm of customer service. On the other hand many aren't taught how to accept an apology and move on. Just this week a lady went off on an Old Navy employee despite the fact that the employee had profusely and sincerely apologized. It's like she expected some type of permanent penance to atone.

Anonymous said...

I work in customer service and you are right! When something goes wrong, 9 time out of 10 they arn't looking for something for free, they just want someone to know the consequence of their action or lack there of and show you care. This is done easily with a sincere
"I am Very Sorry" The key word is SINCERE. Not just a "sorry", are you still here or have you left so I can go on with my day. PS. I don't plan on taking this and changing anything or evaluating myself. The sorry was just so I could get on with what I was doing before you interupted me You Should be very sorry for wasting my time. This is an epidemic.