The “S” Word
I recently had to apologize to a friend that lives, oh, some 80,000 miles away ... in the West African country of Coté d’Ivoire, to be exact. He’d (I figured you’d want to know who it was) done something I thought was unjust ... and well, I let him have it (via e-mail, of course). However, after having had a week or so to reflect on my response to my Ivorian friend’s unjust deed, I sent him yet another e-mail—this time, expressing my sorrow for the things I’d previously written. Thankfully, he accepted my apology, and in his best “Frenglish,” wrote back: “Today is one of the best days for me! Really, it is true that you wrote me this e-mail?! I’m dreaming and so happy to know you can do that!”
I smiled when I read it. I know you did, too.
I learned something from this experience: While we don’t have control over what others do, we certainly have control over the way we respond to their actions. Although you may be justified in your response to an injustice, it is sometimes necessary to take the low road in the interest of peace. I found that saying the “S” word—that would be “sorry”—is not that difficult; in fact, it’s downright empowering! And besides, sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.
In the world of business, saying sorry for an error that may not necessarily be one’s fault, is the order of the day, hence most retailers’ policy: “The customer is always right.” Why not take it a step further by throwing in a gift item that will really get the message across? It’s sort of like putting your money where your mouth is. Our industry lends itself well for gift items that can squash ill feelings of every kind. Check out the following suppliers for some ideas: Fresh Beginnings, www.freshbeginnings.com; Wine Creations, www.winecreations.com; and Cozy Faux, www.cozyfaux.com.