Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday's Traveler

Another week is here & I'm back in New England. I thought with the travel I've been doing it would be nice to bring back Tuesday's Traveler. I've talked about how I travel best (best being best for me) and how I stay on the diet/fit train.

Too often I've seen the worst of people when traveling: Angry travelers yelling at customer service agents when flights are delayed, irritated passengers calling a flight attendant a "Stupid Chink" (and YES, I have heard that & was shocked), self-entitled people delaying takeoff because they just don't understand that "all electronic devices need to be turned off" includes their electronic devices.

Sometimes we all need a reminder of the saying, "Honey catches more flies than vinegar."

The person on the other side of the counter is still a person

Many of us, at some point in time, have been in a customer facing role. Helping people, answering questions, working with our customers.

So why does it seem that when we're on the other side of that customer fence we suddenly lose all sense of decency & humanity?

Was it the person working at the ticketing desk's fault that weather in New England delayed or even canceled flights? Not unless they were working that secret witch doctor voodoo.

Knowing that I (nor anyone else) has any personal control over the weather keeps a scowl off of my face (sometimes I manage a smile) & a little lilt in my voice when working to get re-booked on a flight. You know, Mama always reminded me to use the honey & not the vinegar. She was always right about this.

Did the rude woman who stood in a line that wasn't really a line really need to yell at the desk agent? Not at all. Did she get helped before me? Nope. Did I yell at the agent? Nope - remember, honey. Re-booked on a flight, quick as you can, with a good seat to boot.

I bet he had a little voodoo doll under the counter for all the nasty people he was dealing with yesterday. Bet there wasn't a pin stuck in it for me!

Just because you're upset or irritated or inconvenienced, remember, the person on the other side of that counter is still a person & is doing their best to help you.

Until you call them names or yell at them. At which point the pick up the voodoo doll hidden below the counter & violently stab it with their pen.

My advice? Stay calm. Explain your situation & ask if they can help you. Say "Please" and "Thank You."

You may just find that your charm & smile could result in a better seat. Or maybe it just brings a smile to the face of the person helping you. I bet that will make you smile.


Lexilooo said...

I'm totally with you on the honey! Like you said, they certainly can't control the weather, so why get so upset with them?! The way I look at it, is that I will get to my destination, but if it takes just a little longer, well, I have a little more time to read another trashy celebrity gossip magazine ;)

Anonymous said...


V. ignorant of some people! I usually try and stay calm and always say please and thank you and it's usually "Thank you so much!" because I seem to prefer that phrase?

Say hello to New England for me! Hope your week goes by quickly and with nice weather!

Molly Lou Gifts said...

Amen sister. It amazes me what som people do and say when irritated while traveling. The Golden Rule applies and is oh so true.

Have a great week and stay warm!

Ashley @ KiwisandCocktails said...

Well, at least it is not snowing this week, right?! :)
Very good advice you give!
I was out to eat recently and someone in my party was giving the server a hard time about the food not being up to par...and I was thinking...LIKE ITS THE SERVERS fault!! I felt bad and it was so uncomfortable for me to witness! I was a waitress for TWO summers, and personally I think it is a really hard job! Haha! SO, I always cringe when I see customers yell at servers for something out of their control. Have a good week! :)

MCW said...

As I am reading this I am on the phone with Bank of America customer service! Yelling at the poor guy...I had to stop and say that I was sorry and I know it is really not his fault!

Deelsu said...

Brad is the worst for this. So embarassing!

Brittany Ann said...

So, so true! Although, I've been known - calmly, rationally, and sweetly - to a certain airline (ahem, AirTran) that their "solution" for me was unacceptable and that they needed to change it.

I also wrote them a letter after the whole debacle calming explaining why I'd never fly AirTran again.

The beauty of America. We decide to put our money where we want it. I don't ever get upset, because I rarely have problems, but on the off chance I do, I quietly and sweetly take away what all businesses want: My money and my business.

Chelsi said...

I totally agree. I suppose that I don't travel all that much, but what is the big idea about getting all worked up! Gosh! My favorite example of ignorant people getting mad at customer service people happened on December 17th this past year. I was number 3 in a line of about 6 at a Kohl's store. The lady in front of me was SO irritable about how she was going to "miss her flight." Um, WHY ARE YOU AT THE STORE THEN!?!? It wasn't like she was buying a neccesity such as tampons or something! Good LORD! I was so irritated with that lady and how she treated the clerk that I apologized for her. It was December 17th, did she expect it to not be busy!? Argh!

Jenny DB said...

From the consumerist today

There's dark clouds brewing in the friendly skies and sometimes it's the passengers fault. George Hobica writes, "I was on a plane recently, first class, on American, where the guy sitting next to me shook his glass as the flight attendant was passing by and said "More ice"--the FA said, "What's the magic word" and the guy said, "Oh, you mean I'm supposed to say please? I just want more ice" ... and she said, "You want more ice, it's up in the galley. Go get it yourself."

This was on the consumerist, but i still thought, what a jerk!!

anyway, good to think of honey!!

d.a.r. said...


Samantha said...


Kassie said...

Ooh, couldn't agree more! I can't understand how some people take things like weather and mechanical issues out on the gate agents or flight attendants. Same thing as when people yell at the waitress bc the steak wasn't cooked right...it's not like they were back ther flipping it! manners, people. :)

Notes From the Grove said...

I had to learn this the hard way when those stubborn people at American Airlines wouldn't let me on a flight because I was literally like 14 seconds late. Instead of getting upset and yelling (which I TOTALLY wanted to do), I had to do a little ass-kissing.

It worked!

Neha said...

I totally agree with you. We forget everything when we are on the other side of the table; guess, it's our way of venting what we faced or have had to hear from our customers. My profession as a Customer Support Manager involves all that and much more and thankfully, gives me the patience to handle situations when I am the customer!

Lil' Woman said...

I've worked in customer service since I've started working and it amazes me at how horrible people can act.