Saying you’re sorry.

I have been thinking and rethinking this subject. I dread to even start writing about it because it spiders off into many different webs and I know it’s going to get long. Let’s first start with this clip that just so happened to be on The Talk while I was trying to think about how to go about writing this.

First of all, I know it’s very hard to say you’re sorry. It’s just one of those things that most of us hate to say. It’s hard to admit you’re wrong and it’s hard to admit when you’ve hurt someone. Does it matter to you “how” someone say’s they’re sorry? Is any old “sorry” good enough or like the women of The Talk said, should it should be heartfelt and should it pertain to what was “really” the issue? I know a lot of us like to “defend” ourselves and therefore it makes apologizing hard. Some people will say they’re sorry and then go on and on “explaining” why they did what they did and it almost makes the apology void by the time they’re done. You can tell when someone means it and when they don’t but just “think” they should say they’re sorry.

I’ve had a really hard time in the last 6-8 months with people telling me they’re sorry and not giving one iota about it and they’re only saying it because they think it’s the thing to say. It happened to me 3 times in local eateries that we frequent in a time span of 2 weeks. The Triple R in Kimball and The Waterfront in Annandale. Both very nice places to eat and spendy. They’re not black tie but they’re not coffee shops either.

Last summer my brother was coming out and wanted to go to the Triple R for supper and golf afterwards so I said sure. I’d been craving a Strawberry Daiquiri. I’d looked forward to having it all day. Not a big deal but still, I was looking forward to it. They were out of the mix. “Oops, sorry, we don’t have that.” First of all I really had to question the person doing the ordering. This is a tourist town. It was the middle of July. There is a liquor store right next door and this waitress acted like “oh well, not big deal. Have something else.” Well if I wanted something else, I wouldn’t have ordered what I did I’d have ordered the alternative first. That was what I looked forward to all day.

The same thing happened to us at The Waterfront. We’ve really had such lousy service the last year that we’ve pretty much quit going there because when you spend anywhere from $50-$75-$100, they better have what you order but twice they didn’t have what I wanted to drink OR to eat and then they act like you’re the jerk when you say “no beef medallions? Really??? Oh, I’ve looked forward to having them for a week.” *SIGH*

Now this last one was more severe and happened to me just last week. I thought I was going to go crazy. Paul takes a LOT of medications and I take 2. Mine are every two months so I’ve been able to sync them so I can order them all at the same time. With Paul there’s no way he can do that. Some are 30 days. Some every 60 and so on. So needless to say he, we, Toby, make a lot of trips to Aronson’s Pharmacy in Annadale. Don’t even ask me why we go there but we do. We have gone there for 40 years and God forbid we change anything!! Did you notice the sarcasm key was on for that last sentence??? They never have prescriptions ready. No matter how far ahead you order them. They don’t fill them until you’re there 90% of the time which leads to a LOT of waiting. Then they go through Annandale every night at 4:45 and are there when everyone else is stopping and I’d say once a week, they’re half an hour late. Toby is the one I feel the most sorry for since he’s out waiting in the car.

Okay! Sidetracked!!!! I ordered my last prescriptions 6 days early. So when I went to get them they’d be ready. Two days before I was out, I asked Paul to please stop and pick them up. He brings home only one and I asked him where was the Spiriva? That’s the one I only have one more of and NEED tomorrow. He said he didn’t know so I called the pharmacy. I got some ditz who told me that they had to call my doctor to okay the refill since it ran out in November and they just haven’t called yet. I asked “why haven’t you called him yet? I got my flu shot in October and knowing it ran out I asked my doctor what to do since I have to go see him in February and he said the pharmacy would call and he’d okay it. This is why I ordered these a WEEK AGO TODAY.” The woman said “I’m so sorry. I’ll send a fax right now but they aren’t there now so he’ll get it in the morning and they’d fill it “tomorrow.” I’m getting REALLY mad now. I told her ” I NEED THIS TOMORROW” so what are you suggesting I do? She said she’s have it filled in the morning and bring it to my house! Really? I said. Okay sounds good. She asked me if I’d be here in the morning and I told her I would be.

I waited and waited the next morning and finally I got a phone call at 11:30 and she told me she hasn’t heard back from my doctor yet. WHAT I said to her! I asked her if I should call or should I come in. I’m FURIOUS NOW. She said “no, I’ve called and left a very detailed message and we’ll bring your medicine to you as soon as we hear from him.” I asked her what if they didn’t hear back from him? Then what? I have NO MEDICATION!!!

I called my doctor myself despite what this woman said and there were people FLYING around. First of all, there had been NO phone calls and NO fax’s from the pharmacy. I then proceeded to tell my doctors nurse what had gone on and I need my medication. I’ve never not taken it and was really scared. She told me she’d call me right back. I also told her I wanted it sent to the Target in Buffalo. I’m done with this pharmacy. What kind of incompetence is this??? So in 20 minutes I had my medicine sitting at Target.

Then I get another phone call from the pharmacy in Annandale and guess what?? They’ve been calling my GP and not the doctor I see on a regular basis. I said “why would you be calling Dr. Smith when Dr. Meier is the doctor I see?” She said “I’m not really sure. We just looked in your file and saw Dr. Smith was your primary physician so we called him and that must have been what the hold up was! So Mrs Erickson, we are VERY SORRY but your prescription is here, should we bring it out???”

I really didn’t even know what to say. Now I have two of them which to buy them both would cost $500! So I said to this woman, “why would it matter who you had to call? I ordered this 7 days ago. ONE WEEK ago and this is what you’ve put me through?” I told her I was finished with them and would now be getting my medicine at a pharmacy who would fill it when I call and it would be ready for me when I came to pick it up. AND I said my husband will be in to pick it up! Have it READY!” They tripped all over Paul when he went to get it but he said to her “what good does “sorry” do when you don’t have your medication” and walked out.

What’s wrong with customer service? Why do people make you look like the jerk to be disappointed when you order something that’s on a menu and they just glibbly say “sorry, we’re out of that” and giggle and sit there looking at you to order something else! Or what happened to me with this medicine. Why do people say they’re sorry without one single part of them meaning it and what good is saying how sorry you are when you aren’t sorry at all and what good is the “sorry” you get? Does it fix anything or do you have to say it?

I think people say this way too much and think it excuses everything. I’m so sick of “I’m so sorry” and then you have to act like it’s all fine and good. Don’t people who own restaurants know that we look forward to coming to their establishment for a reason?Something they make, we really love. Why is it our fault when they’re out of something? Why do they expect us to order something that we really didn’t want and if we act disappointed, we’re the ass hole?

How do you guys handle stuff like this? Do you voice your concerns? Do you just order something else even though it’s not what you want? Do you just take not getting what you order or do you speak up? Paul was giddy that I lost my temper with the drug store. We’ve been waiting for years. Why don’t more people speak up???

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13 Responses to Saying you’re sorry.

  1. SKL says:

    Well, I tend to be forgiving for the most part. I think servers say “I’m sorry” without meaning it because it tends to calm people down. Usually it’s someone who just had too many things going on or not enough experience (or sometimes maturity). What bugs me is like in the pharmacy case you describe, where there’s an ongoing problem and they had to have realized it but just blatantly didn’t care. They figured people would just put up with their laziness because they had no choice. Good thing you corrected them on that. I will do that too, if it is bad enough.

    As I get older, I tend to put up with less.

    Today I went to Bob Evans and planned to use a coupon for a free kids’ meal that expires 12/31/10. Well, I take it up to the counter and the dude tells me (not gently or apologetically), “this coupon has expired.” I didn’t like his tone so I said back in a strong voice, “no it has not.” (Usually I would meekly request that they check again or whatever.) So then the guy tries it again and says, “oh, it’s because you didn’t order a kids’ meal.” (As my two preschoolers run around my legs.) To make a long story short, he gave me the discount grudgingly and half-whispered, “sorry bout that.” Like it really pained him to have to say it. Ugh. Not a big enough deal to get “angry” about, but kinda irritating.

    I also had a situation the other day where I had ordered photos for some photo ornaments. It was Christmas Eve and I went to pick them up. The 4×6 prints I ordered came as 8x10s, obviously not useable, so I made them refund my money. The woman acted as if I’d made her scrub my toilet. Again the word “sorry” was forced out, but it sounded more like “screw you.” I feel sorry for anyone who is that miserable on Christmas Eve. But, I chose not to make it “my problem” and just went home to re-do my photo order.

    I love what Paul said at the pharmacy. That could have been a matter of life and death, and they deserved to be told off for their laziness and carelessness.

    For me, I have this motto I tell myself when I’m in a charged situation: “apologize first.” Even if I don’t think I’m in the wrong, I will try to think of some way to make the other person feel like I accept and understand his feeling of being aggrieved. Or if I can’t honestly do that, I’ll try some other way to use soft words to calm the person. However, this is actually harder to do if I actually feel half guilty. I think it’s harder to admit to my own self that I’m in the wrong, when I really am. So it takes a while to get there, but eventually I apologize and everyone gets over it.

  2. Nikki says:

    The word, “sorry” to me ends up being an empty word if it is said too much by the same person, and they continue doing the same thing. I think people get used to just saying it, and moving on. For me, to really accept it and feel that they are truly sorry, I have to be able to FEEL it. I know when an, “I’m sorry” is heartfelt. And I know when it is said because it’s just the thing to say.

    My niece who is 4 now, is forced to say it by her dad. I have told him time and time again, he is teaching her that all she has to do is say, “I’m sorry” and she’s not in trouble. Well I know full well, that she isn’t sorry. But she is saying it so she doesn’t get in trouble, not that she’d really ever be punished (which is a whole other topic!)

    So, all in all, it depends on the person, the situation, and the way they apologize. I don’t always accept them, and I don’t even always tell them that I don’t accept them, I just end up pushing them away. Which probably isn’t very good either.

    • SKL says:

      “Sorry” is an interesting concept for kids. I sometimes make my kids say it just to point out that they have in fact done something to be sorry for. Like accidentally tripping their sister – it is still their fault, they should still be sorry. Or causing me some unnecessary inconvenience.

      So of course they try to use “sorry” to avoid getting in trouble. However, that does not work around here. If I think actual learning has occurred, I might give them one chance to do better next time. However, “sorry” is not a consequence, and sometimes an actual consequence is necessary to ensure learning has occurred. I wish it were otherwise.

    • Joy says:

      I’ve also seen this in parents. Just making their kids say they’re sorry and then they avoid punishment. I saw it a lot while working in the school for 15 years. Kids will do and say almost anything in order to not have to face a consequence.

  3. mssc54 says:

    TRANSMITTED VIA CERTIFIED MAIL #1111 2222 3333 4444
    Decemer 31, 2010

    Diane Yager,
    Pharmacy Manager, Aronson’s Pharmacy
    43 Oak Avenue North
    Annandale, MN 55302-1199

    Dear Diane Yager,

    I wanted to take a few minutes to write you this letter to let you know of a couple of concerns I have.

    I and my family have been purchasing our medications from Aronson’s Pharmacy for (insert time here). We do enjoy the convenience of your location and your friendly pharmacy staff.

    It is my genuine hope that you may be able to assist me with a couple of issues I have growing increasingly concerned aboutand very frustrated with.

    Both my husband and I call in our perscriptions days in advance. However, they are rarely available when we come in to pick them up. Since we live some distance from your pharmacy it is a great inconvenience for us to have to, either wait an aditional half an hour or too especially have to come back to pick up the perscription we called in a week previously.

    In the most recent case I called my perscriptions in and my husband stopped by to pick them up several days later. I suppose I should take a bit of responsibility here since I did not give my husband a detailed list of the perscriptions he was picking up. I just asked him to stop by and pick up my perscriptions. Upon arriving home I found that your pharmacist or pharmacy technician had failed to fill my Rx for Spiriva. And of course that was the “critical” medication I needed. I immediately called your pharmacy staff and was told that the reason the Spiriva Rx had not been filled was because the refills had run out the previous month and they had to call my doctor to have him authorize a refill and that they had not called yet. Excuse me? Is this routine, that your staff forgets or is to busy to perform necessary duties to ensure that those of us who rely on Aronson’s Pharmacy for our medications receive them in a timely fashion? Surely as the pharmacy manager you have necessary steps in place to ensure this is not a routine occurance.

    Ms. Yager, this may seem like a trivial matter to you but actually it is the proverbial straw that has broken the camels back. Your pharmacy staff seems to think they are doing us a favor by (eventually) refilling our much needed Rxs. As previously mentioned in this letter our perscriptions are routinely not filled on time. Having to wait for thirty minutes each time to get them filled after we have called them in days previously is just simply and plainly the epitome of the poorest of customer service.

    So Ms. Yager, please tell me; what can I do to help you better accomplish your goals of superb customer service? Should I make the extra effort to call your pharmacist each time before I or my husband physically stop in to pick up our medications? Would it be better if I asked your pharmacy technicians to call me when the perscriptions are ready? Please, just tell me what it is I can do to help you help me.

    Regards,

    Sick N. Tired
    Neglected Patient

    • Joy says:

      This is awesome. I’m going to send it. Thanks Michael. I’ll tell you, I was getting really scared not having that med. I’ve been fighting a cold and have needed my oxygen so it did really scare me thinking “what will happen” without it.

      Wow. I can’t believe you did this. Thanks.

    • Joy says:

      How did you find all this stuff out? I can’t find Diane Yager anywhere and I spent a long time looking. I’ll tell you one thing, I won’t go there anymore. It’s much easier for Paul to pick up our meds in Buffalo during the day. He just really likes keeping money in the small town but this last time put me over the edge. They treated this like it was no big deal.

      • mssc54 says:

        I Googled the name and got the phone number then called and asked for the name of he pharmacy manager. The lady who answered was very suspicious and asked my why I wanted the name. I told her that I just wanted to drop the manager a note in the mail letting her know how pleased I was with the service I’ve gotten. She was eager to help then. lol

        Now take the extra time to format the letter just like I did across the top. You will need to either have your letter carrier leave you a certified slip with a return receipt or go into your post office to get it.

        Use CAPS AND BOLD to type; TRANSMITTED VIA….

        That is commonly used to really get the addresee’s attention. Let me know how it goes.

      • Nikki says:

        Cub In Buffalo is GREAT! Just an FYI. 🙂

    • DM says:

      that note totally rocked Michael. you’re hired as my personal assistant.!

      • mssc54 says:

        Thanks DM. If I were sending this out I would have printed it out and read it to correct the mistakes.

        When do I get started? And I will take apples as payment!

  4. Laura says:

    Alrighty then. I haven’t read any of the comments, because I have my own thoughts, and then I’ll go back and check what everyone else said.

    I have a ‘deal’ with apologies, too. When I make them, it really depends upon who I’m making it to, and what I screwed up. Being honest, when I apologize to Steve, if I’m still in a temper, or smarting from whatever it was that we argued about, I tend to do the “apology with explanation” thing. Because I always feel like it’s both our faults that we ended up squabbling, so it’s something like, “I’m sorry I was rude to you. I was reacting to the fact that you were rude to me.” Which ends up being an apology followed by an accusation, which, honestly, isn’t helpful at all. It’s a thing that I really need to work on. I am working on it, and truthfully, it’s extremely difficult. I have an over-developed sense of justice, and I’m highly offended when I’m expected to apologize, but have been just as wronged as the person I’m apologizing to, but I’m not getting an apology back. Does that make sense?

    I also have an issue with the “Uh. Sorry” apology that is often given by people when they’re not really sorry at all. They just throw out that word, and use it as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. To combat THAT, I’m passing it forward… teaching Josh that the proper wording for an apology isn’t, “sorry” and then run as fast as you can. It’s, “I’m sorry for ______.” And then continue from there. If you need to say, “it won’t happen again,” or “I’ll pay for the damage,” or whatever is appropriate, you adapt to the situation. But he’s never (ok, rarely) allowed to get away with the “Sorry Sniper”.

    Finally, in the case of Customer Service, I really have no patience for people who are rude to me. If that happens, I go to a supervisor, or I go home and write a letter. I write some wicked letters, and have gotten some pretty good satisfaction out of them. But in the moment, if I’m really feeling confrontational, I’ll get into the face of the rude person and let them know that their treatment of me isn’t acceptable. I’ll ask to talk to someone different, take my business elsewhere, whatever. If it was my pharmacy that was doing to me what your pharmacy did? Oh, man, they’d TOTALLY get a nasty letter, and then I’d still take my business over to Target. It’s closer anyway, isn’t it?

    • Joy says:

      Target isn’t closer to our house but it’s very close to Paul’s work and it’s a lot more convenient for him to run over during a lull in the afternoon rather than go through this. We’ve just kind of overlooked the waiting but this was beyond that. I won’t put up with this and I don’t know what pharmacy’s make off drugs, but between Paul and I we spend a lot of moola on them and if they make money on them, they’ll be losing money and not only that, if they don’t stop this it’s just going to be one more mom and pop little town business to bite the the dust. Wouldn’t you think they’d be grateful for our patronage instead of them thinking how lucky we are that they’ll fill it?????

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