about responding and saying sorry

There are two phenomena that I observe too frequently these days, and I am pretty sure that they are deeply rooted in our national culture.
The Customs official simply did not answer my email the first time.  Nor the second time.  Not even the third time.  And it wasn’t because he felt as if he was better than me.  Nor was it because he couldn’t bother.  He couldn’t find the information needed to provide and answer and so he thought he couldn’t answer.  How do I know?  I got him eventually via phone and this is what was explained to me.
The Supervisor downstairs didn’t answer my email the first time.  Nor the second time.  Not even the third time.  Like the Customs official, he didn’t have the info to answer what I was asking.
The Buyer didn’t answer my query about the timing of the shipment.  Not because I had pissed her off one time too many (at least not in this instance), but because she didn’t have the info.
So why is it so difficult to acknowledge the email and explain what is happening? WHY? Even if you don’t have the answer that you feel the person is demanding, just give the answer you can nuh…please? Please?


Lord have mercy!  When will we as a people recognize that to apologise for someone else’s discomfort or bad experience is not a sign of weakness?  It is not even an admission of culpability.  It is a refined, civilized and mature display of empathy and at its simplest level, is merely an acknowledgement of someone else’s disappointment.
The Head of Department did not apologise for her team member’s rudeness to an outsider.
The Customer Service lady did not apologise for the absence of that critical item.
The doctor did not apologise for keeping her patients waiting.

But they should have. 

One thought on “about responding and saying sorry”

  1. I think people think "if I don't answer, she'll go away or forget that I haven't answered her". It is so much better to respond and say "I am working on the info to be able to answer your question and estimate that I should have an answer for you within 3 days"

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