When We’re the Victim

Every week we learn of unfair, ridiculous, illogical, stupid, lose – lose situations. Sometimes we’re unexpectedly in one of these situations as they threaten to spiral down:

  • You and your family are on vacation at Disney World and after the payroll service finally acknowledges not making your direct deposit, they promise to get a check by 5:00, to your office.
  • It’s almost two hours after the timeframe your cable provider promised the installer would arrive and their automated system instructs you to call back in an hour for a status.
  • HR can’t find any record of your job posting and insists that the cutoff was yesterday.
  • The car rental company that you reserved a car with doesn’t have any.

Sometimes the situation swells up and pulls the victim down so far that they not only behave in a matter they later regret, but they also get into trouble, serious trouble like getting thrown off a plane or their career track or getting arrested.

Recently director Kevin Smith and a Camden, NJ couple admirably avoided melting down in situations that could have brought out the worst in the best of us. After being allowed to fly standby and seated, Smith was abruptly told to leave a Southwest flight because of his weight. Bob Thomas, a Camden, NJ police officer and his wife somehow endured a bizarre experience with the TSA regarding his four year old son’s leg braces.

Here are a couple of tips to preclude your regrets and possibly mitigate the problem when you’re in similar situations:

  1. Lower expectations and go for the minimum goal: to board a flight, get a car/room, get the job offer…
  2. Don’t argue, but try sympathy: “If the situation was reversed, how would you want to be treated.” “If I was your child, mother, father, grandparent,…”
  3. Don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t want your mother, children, or boss to hear about.
  4. Calmly, and unobtrusively take notes
  5. Plan to get even later

Kevin Smith used his renown and social media to put pressure on Southwest, they have now promised to review their response to similar situations. The Thomas’s too did not let the matter drop and TSA ultimately acknowledged that they did not handle the situation correctly and the screeners will be re-trained.

Here’s to not having similar experiences.

Lasting Words

"You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails." - Anonymous

"Patience and persistence makes good things happen." - Ann Clifford

If you have a particularly good, or bad, customer service, management or other performance experience, observation or practice that you’d like to share, TellUs