July 21st, 2006

question

I tell you, you tell me.

1. Whether you are a magazine, a bank, an insurance company, a grocery store, or some other business entirely: "That's our policy!" does not constitute an explanation. "That's our policy, and if you don't like it, you can go somewhere else!" is often true. It is not, however, informative. It doesn't answer the question, "Why do you do it that way?" This is a good thing to notice when that's the question someone has asked.

If you are not at the top levels of management, feel free to say, "You know, I really don't know. I'm not in charge of those decisions." If you want to be a really good customer service provider, you can offer to register the customer's dissatisfaction, to pass them along to someone who is in charge of those decisions, or to find an alternate solution. But at the very least, acknowledging that the question has been asked and that an answer has not been provided is a good idea.

2. truepenny invited people to tell her something about themselves. What I said was: I have a birthmark on my right wrist, a little squiggly brown mark, and when I was little I pretended that it was a map of the island where we were really from, and someday we would go back there and wade through the snow to retake our castle, which was made of light grey stone and had big fires burning in the hearths all the time. (It is, incidentally, proof that my body does have melanin in it somewhere. It's capable of producing melanin. It's just sulking in the corner on this topic, has been for nearly 28 years now.)

I'm going to repeat the invitation: tell me something about yourself. Or about your older brother Noel who has lived in the closet (literally) since birth, or about the island on my wrist. Your call, really.

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