In the line of duty

It is said that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. My wife felt like a scorned woman a few weeks back when a certain online retailer did not accept a return as per the conditions given on their site. She first spoke to a customer service representative and then to her supervisor. At the end of this highly emotionally charged call, where the matter was yet to be resolved, my wife said, “I will wait to hear back from you,” and then to my surprise added, “And you have a happy Holi!”

I was amazed! The festive greetings were not in line with how she was feeling about the unresolved matter. I expressed my amazement to her, to which she responded, “She was just doing her job. I am angry with XXX (the online retailer’s name), not her”

Interesting!

A lot of us forget this important distinction! The person on the other end, be it in person or on call, becomes the organisation they represent. We, the disgruntled customers a.k.a victims, end up screaming at the other person for no obvious fault of theirs. While it’s understandable to feel frustrated, even irritated when we are wronged, how often do we stop to think if we are justified in directing our anger towards a hapless professional from the firm, who just happened to pick our call/serve us the cold/bland dish?

And how often do we cross the line from being assertive to becoming aggressive? Does being the victim give us the right to abuse or harass someone else?

As Lyman Abbott, American Congregationalist theologian, editor, and author,  said a long time ago – “Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.”

The next time we find ourselves getting angry about a poor quality product or service, and want to give strong feedback or get the matter resolved, let us resolve to direct the feedback to the right person and in the right way.

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