I just got back from an EPIC trip to the Walmart. One of those trips that takes planning, lists, more lists and a shot of caffeine to get things started. I was READY!! Planned for early morning so I wouldn't have to run over small children in order to shut them up, all my re-usable shopping bags collected, pen that actually worked in my purse, strategic plan through the store mapped out. I just had to do one small thing before I began . . . I had to return an item. . .
I arrived at the customer service desk at 7:50. There were already 4 people in line ahead of me (WTF?!) and there was one woman working. She had to call the manager for help in every. single. transaction. 15 minutes later, I was BEYOND irritated. FINALLY it was my turn. By this time, I was feeling quite snarky. I mean, it's not even the holiday season and the line at customer service takes forever to get through?? As I approached the counter, the customer service woman apologized profusely for the slow line. Let me say that again - she APOLOGIZED. And you know what? That made it better. She acknowledged the inconvenience and pain-in-the-assness waiting in the line was for me. The significance of this apology didn't really hit me until after my shopping trip.
After spending $200 on enough household supplies & groceries to keep me stocked until January, I decided to swing through McDonald's for a celebratory not-in-any-way-healthy-but-oh-so-delicious breakfast. I just wanted a sausage biscuit and a coffee. There was a bit of a line, but, whatever. I paid at the first window, and at the pick up window I was asked to pull over to the side as my order was not quite ready. I was assured they would bring it out to me shortly. Fine. I pulled over. And waited. And waited. And waited. Then I got out my phone and flipped on the stopwatch, just to have visual proof to remind me that I should get more pissed off with each passing second. All the cars behind me got through the line and left. There were no cars in the drive through. And still I waited. . .
Finally, when my stopwatch read 7:36 (I didn't start it until I'd been waiting about 4-5 minutes) a young man brought my food. I asked, "Is there a reason I've been waiting over 10 minutes for this?" His reply? "You have a GREAT day!" I wanted an apology. I wanted an acknowledgement that they had fucked up and forgotten me. Instead, I got a passive-aggressive asshole response. I may or may not have yelled "You're welcome!!!" to him as he walked back across the parking lot. Which I realize made me sound like a sad, crazy person.
After unpacking my groceries and eating my now cold sausage biscuit it dawned on me just how important a simple apology can be. I was so irritated at the Walmart, but an apology made it all better. I was irritated at McDonald's and am still irritated an hour later. Makes me wonder if I would even be writing this post if I had gotten an apology from both places.
It really is a simple thing, an apology - but it can make all the difference. Note to self: apologize more often.