I remember being at a store and overhearing this one woman who was going absolutely nuts.
She was returning some item of clothing and apparently she didn't have a receipt.
The salesperson politely reminded her, it didn't look like an item from this store. Perhaps she was confused?
"You're the one who's confused," she said. "And stupid."
She went on and on until the manager came out and had the line of the century: "You appear a tad upset, Ma'am."
I don't even remember what he did or didn't do. But that line stuck out: "You appear a tad upset."
But what would happen if this sales manager told this lady outright: "Look honey, you no more bought that item from this store than I'm Donald Trump's latest Apprentice. Get out of here."
Of course, he couldn't do that and he didn't do that, because in this politically correct world, we're fired for doing stuff like that.
And that's the problem. We don't say what's really on our minds.
Like the police constable who "regrets" the guy who was gunned down last week in the London Underground (search). I can tell you that guy's family more than "regrets" it. They're fuming about it.
So why not say: "Hey, we goofed, but put yourselves in our shoes. The guy wouldn't stop, wouldn't take off his jacket on a hot day. We felt it was wiser to protect the hundreds of passengers we did know than the one odd character we did not."
Just be real, be frank, be strong and yes, go ahead... be rude.
NASA (search) finds it "disappointing" that the shuttle's been delayed. Have at it: You're freakin' steamed. Discovery's more than two years late and now a faulty sensor? You're fit to be tied.
That's a news conference I'd enjoy.
But we try to stay calm, just like we try to tell our kids to stay calm. Even when it might leave a more lasting impression to say "we're not calm." Not by a freakin' country mile!
But again, that's just me.
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