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This Response is Being Recorded

February 20, 2008

Hump Day Hmm for February 20, 2008.  You can participate just head over to Julie Pippert: Using Her Words to find out how.

Scenario 1: You, two friends, and all of your children are walking out of gymnastics class together. Suddenly, in front of you, and your children, one of your friends starts discussing her son’s upcoming birthday party—to which everyone but your son, it seems, has been invited. How do you feel? Do you say something? If so, what?

* What if it was a playdate the next day? How would you feel? Would you say something? If so, what?

When, if God willing and I can make up my mind about the whole, should I have children question, I would want to be witty and shocking and still as nice as an ice cream sunday on a hot, summer day.  I think I might respond as thus:

Hey, friendly friend of mine and child, we seem to have misplaced our invitation and I don’t remember what time we were supposed to be at your house.”

Ha, so unlikely, as if I could be that composed while I had a child and in a social situation with said child.  My real response would come out more like, “Hey oh friendly friend of my child’s parent, did you forget to mention this party, play date to me or my child?

Hmm, nope still not even close, the me right now that is becoming would look forlorn and hurt and over analyze the entire situation and then analyze the last analysis and pontificate to someone without children about the perceptions formed during the second analyzed analysis and of course never send another Christmas card to the friendly friend again.  (Oh and that wouldn’t really be all that big a deal as I’ve never actually sent Christmas cards in the first place.)

Scenario 2: You’re having coffee with some of your playgroup mom friends when one tells you she has the funniest story. “Some dad wanted in our playgroup,” she laughs, “I told him no boys allowed. He was disappointed, but having a man would be too awkward, and anyway, our group is full, don’t you think?” What do you think? What do you say?

Hmm, first I would ask if this father was married, if he was cute, what he did, you know SAHD or LAD (lazy a$$ dad) and if this was about him joining us out in the nature preserve where the playground is…

Oh, who am I kidding, if the most vocal mom the bigger group  didn’t want him in the group, I would wonder why, ask nary a single question and slowly drift away to watch the girl behind the counter whip foam for the Half-cap-grande-shot-of-expresso-Mochiatta she was making until someone walked over and told me that we were leaving.  Or just sit there quietly waiting for the time to end and/or figuring out how I could excuse myself without looking rude.

Scenario 3: Your mother purchased six months of maid service for you after you had a baby. You know this was a big expense for her, and you know she prepaid for the service. The first two times the maids came, they did a great job, but their service has been slacking off. Last time, you know for sure they didn’t vacuum upstairs. You called the service to notify them about this. The maids said they completed the job, and the service said they believed them. What do you do?

First, lets be clear, the service would be providing a checklist that I signed off on after each and every service visit.  (A checklist, which I probably friggin had to create.) I’m not a hard a$$, but I despise shoddy service and I nip it in the butt from the beginning, especially with service companies.  The maid would not receive my signature meaning that she didn’t meet my standards or the previously established standards.

When calling the company, I would actually first let them know that the call was being recorded (I really do this with business calls, it’s not hard if you have a phone, some free software and a $15 adapter.  It’s also not illegal, as far as I know, WITH A BUSINESS CALL in the US and EU as long as you tell them before they say anything about anything other than answering the phone, please check with a good lawyer though).

The approach would then be one praising and getting them to praise the already established level of service previously provided and getting them to state that this is always the level of service they want to provide.  Then and only then would I mention the failure to meet this expectation of service, which they’ve just confirmed, twice.  Followed by the remedy which would bring them back into my good graces.

I would remind them that while I didn’t hire the service, I  am not happy with the way the service is going and that means I can’t and won’t recommend them to my other friends or family.  Doing this, there really have been only two times that I’ve not gotten what I asked for and wouldn’t you know one time was with a monster company – think cell phone, home phone and dsl service provider with three letters and ironically, the next month, I did have a credit on my phone bill.  So I can say that I might not always get exactly what I want but I am satisfied with what I do get.

Scenario 4: On a coworker’s recommendation, you began using a service that provides fresh, healthy snacks and coffee for your office breakroom. Everyone loves this; plus the quality is better than what you had been getting at the large stock store. However, you’ve noticed that their delivery of products is a little unreliable. Some weeks they deliver on Monday, other weeks on Friday, and there have been a couple of weeks of no deliveries. People are becoming agitated, frustrated to not be able to count on coffee or snacks.

On the day you planned to order and restock office supplies, you noticed the coffee and snacks were finished. So you sent an email to your vendor—the only company that provides this service—that read, “Can you tell me if you definitely plan on delivering products to us this week and if so, when? Today is the day I restock the office, and we are out of products, so I need to know if I ought to pick up some items to hold us over until you can get here. Thank you.”

Later that day you got an extremely angry and long email from the coffee and snack vendor. He told you that if you are dissatisfied, you may leave their service. He added that he’s never had another client complaint.

How do you feel? What do you do?

First, did you get references?  Were they validated?  Yes, see scenario 3 for a more in-depth explanation.  No, hmm, see scenario 3 for a more in-depth explanation and get those references when you call.

Now the one thing that I didn’t really touch on was the fact that Julie asks, how would you feel and honestly my feelings would all be the same.  I would feel slighted and frustrated. I would wonder what I had done for this to happen to me.  I might even for a moment, believe it was my fault some how for not being clear or not understanding some nuance of the situation.

Yet it is much easier to delineate the demarcation of feelings in business transactions (like scenario 3 and 4) as opposed to friendship.  Yet the more I think about it, maybe I have imposed those lines on my friendships.  I have more online friends than offline friends.

Should I start practicing with offline friends now, for the day when I start hanging out with the parents of my childrens friends?  Should I begin not expressing myself in an emotionally manipulative way or closing myself off from the emotional expression long enough to get more background about the situation. Do I perceive my responses now in an emotionally manipulative way?

Gosh Julie, this started out fun, now you want me to think.

It really is different when talking about a service provider because there are firm expectations, which are clearly outlined on some piece of paper, somewhere.    Still, friendships have their own set of expectations, which form based on the perception through which we filter life.  Parenting has it’s own set of expectations.  The funny thing is we create our expectations in friendship and parenting.  Maybe we should write down and clearly outline what those expectations are for the other people.

Nah, it gets too complicated and seriously who is really willing to reveal in print that they use their emotions for manipulation? Also, how do you trust them again if they do reveal that information?

  1. February 20, 2008 12:44 pm

    I think my English really bad, I even don’t understand what the main topic of this post. God, please help me.

    Ok, give me two hours to understand this post. 😉

  2. February 20, 2008 12:46 pm

    I think you make some good points.. and the most important one is that we keep friendship and business separate. They are not the same and the same standards do not apply.

  3. February 20, 2008 1:42 pm

    Business and friendly relationships are definitely different – and I have found it much easier to assert myself in a business environment, than among friends at times.

  4. February 20, 2008 1:57 pm

    I think that the way you deal with businesses is great. If the business says that the “call may be recorded,” you do not have to say that yours is recorded, BTW. In recording it themselves, they have given you permisson. I record calls that I think my get ugly using my cell phone and the voice recorder option. Interesting ways to handle these situations.

  5. February 20, 2008 2:32 pm

    “I would feel slighted and frustrated. I would wonder what I had done for this to happen to me. I might even for a moment, believe it was my fault some how for not being clear or not understanding some nuance of the situation.”

    You know I understand this!

    You know, I think sometimes i blame myself because it’s, in a weird way, easier. I can deal with myself. Myself can’t leave me. It can’t reject me. It has to make peace with me. It’s okay to confront myself. You know what I mean? In myself, I have control, I have say, I have a comfort.

    Other people maybe not so much.

    What I like best—beyond your good points—is your honesty here, and some good ideas about ways to handle these sorts of things.

    Thanks for playing!!

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