I’m Sorry.

Is that so hard to say? Is it okay to be wrong? If you admit you are wrong will the world end? What are the consequences for an employee who lies to a customer? Can you apologize for my feelings?

Recently I had an unacceptable experience with our insurance company regarding a prescription. The employee claimed we were not in the system, even after confirming the spelling of our name, she was unable to type in our plan number because she needed six digits and it had 12, asked for my husband’s SSN (a no-no), and just gave us the run-around. After two phone calls (the second one in the hopes someone else would answer) the employee, Amanda, claimed our name was misspelled in the computer. I wrote a complaint, here is part of it…

How can this be [concerning the misspelling]? I can only think Amanda was lying to us. We have never received anything from you with our name spelled incorrectly, and our insurance has always gone through before. Your employee did virtually nothing to work with Walgreen’s to find us in your system. It took her half an hour to come up with the “misspelling” of our name.

Today’s mail brought an “apology” of sorts. “I am sorry you had so much trouble filling this prescription.” and “I am sorry that you felt you were being hassled.” What the H-E-doublehockeysticks is that? How can he apologize for my feelings? He didn’t apologize for anything on the part of their company. He spent one sentence addressing my main complaint and five sentences addressing things I had already conceded, like the fact that our new baby was probably not on our policy yet. I had asked them to speak with the employee, find out what the problem was and to tell me what they did to fix it. “I cannot speak to Amanda since she no longer works for our company.” Well, that is a relief.

What happened to “I am sorry you had a bad experience dealing with our company, this employee’s behavior was not acceptable to us either”?

Last year I had a horrible experience with our local Best Buy store involving a raincheck. The store manager lied to my husband about a number of things. Flat out lied, as in “we don’t have that microwave in stock, and haven’t for 12 weeks.” (They had five on the shelf at the time those words left his lips. This was confirmed by someone in Minnesota who was able to access the store’s stock via their company software.) The manager headed my husband off when he realized that GD was looking at the microwaves more closely. (it is a long story) He didn’t want to sell us one, because he would have to admit the store did not contact me to tell me that my raincheck item had come in. I wanted that particular microwave because it was in my price range and had some features that I didn’t find on other microwaves, like soften (for butter) and melt.

Once again, I complained, via phone and USPS. I even mentioned that I had spent a great deal of money at their store in the last year. I got a letter which pretty much lobbed marshmallows at me. He never addressed the fact that the store manager had lied about having the item in stock, which was what bothered me the most. He suggested I go to the store with his letter and the “manager on duty would be able to offer a satisfactory solution.” Well that is fine except I am not setting foot in our local store again.

If I had not contacted the BBB, that would have been the end of it. As it was, I got a $30 gift card (which I used over the internet) and another apology, this one a real apology, for their lousy service, although I doubt they ever approached the manager who lied. My sister-in-law picked up the microwave for me from another location (and I love it).

I used to work for the federal government. One day my boss passed my desk as I apologized to a producer about something I had not completed in a timely manner. He called me aside and said, “You never apologize. We work for the federal government, we don’t make mistakes!” I said, “I made a mistake, I am going to fix it, and I refuse to lie about it.”